Voyant Tools

Voyant Tools is a helpful program during the process of text analysis. A process in finding language patterns in large texts that would have regularly taken days can now be completed with the click of a button. Visualizations such as a word-cloud and scatter plots are generated along with frequency counts and various search tools. While it has its benefits, it is important for the users to remember that the analysis provided by Voyant Tools is not the end of the analysis process, but rather a jumping off point.


When looking at Voyant Tools, it is important to look past the raw data that it has provided. In the analysis of the book Emma by Jane Austen, the word Emma is used a lot. This is not something that is necessarily significant because that is the name of the main character. It would only make sense that her name appear as one of the most frequently used words. However, something that can be noted is that the formal titles of Mr., Mrs., and Miss appear almost as much, if not more than the main character’s name. This can be used to extrapolate that formal titles were far more frequent in the pattern of speech and given names were less significant. This can be used to pursue further analytics in formal patterns of speech if that is the direction that the analyst wishes to take.

This process gives us a simplified way of viewing analytics that were previous done by hand. Visualizing the data has also allowed for connections to be drawn when comparing texts as well. All of the analysis performed could have been done previously, as such nothing new is provided by the analysis, however as mentioned, it has made this process far more accessible to anyone, not just historians, but in the study of linguistics as well. Historians can find great use for Voyant Tools in their study of historical texts, however they must remember that they are performing the true analysis, not the program.


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