Blog Post 4

Voyant  is an easy to use site that allows you to input a piece of text, either by copy and pasting or using a URL. Once the user inputs the text the site works to help them see patterns within the text. Two features that are very useful are the word frequency and the links between words. Voyant helps the user see how often a word is used and the relationship of that word to other words in the text. This helps historical analysis because it highlights words that appear often, which likely means that the word is important. Being able to see words that are important helps get people thinking about why that word is important to that piece of text. There are also may visual tools  that allow users to see the  relationships between words in many different forms.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are word clouds, word bubbles, webs, graphs and many other ways of viewing the words. By providing many different was of viewing the text I think it will appeal to all different types of learners which makes this tool useful for everyone. Also being able to look at text in a form that is unconventional makes it more fun and engaging . If people are more engaged it will make the analysis of the words that are being highlighted by Voyant even better. Being able to see words in relation to one another gets people to think about and  analyze the meaning of a piece of text. While Voyant does not think about the meaning for you it helps you look for patterns that will help you create historical meaning. Through traditional historical reading the historian would have to look for patterns on their own, often in a large body of text this is hard to do and it would be very time-consuming. Using Voyant as a tool to facilitate the analysis of a body of text gives historians the ability to quickly see patterns and begin analyzing rather than spending a large amount of time finding the patterns. I think that Voyant is a very useful tool that makes analyzing text fun and rewarding.


Post 3: Digital Mapping


After using the interactive map about the Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761 I found that digital mapping can be very helpful in understanding history. This online HGIS  project is about the slave revolt in Jamaica, it shows how the revolt progressed through the year of 1760-1761. The people of Jamaica rose up against the British killing many of them and destroying their property. The map shows three different phases of the slave revolt, it indicates who was involved as well as when and where fights occurred. The map does a great job of showing how the slaves(rebels) moved across the land. On the site there is a video that goes through each of the points on the map and shows the movement from one area to another. This aspect of the interactive map is one that I found very useful, it really helped paint a picture of how the slaves moved around the land during the revolt. Another feature that I found helpful was the timeline which has different points that you can click. Each point brings you to a spot on the map and gives you some information about what happened at that spot on that day. It is easy to get caught up in the story of  hi”story” but by providing dates, locations and the actual paths that the people of the past walked it makes it more real. I think this map does a good job of getting people to realize that the past has shaped our lives today.  The only thing that I would say could be improved is just the overall lay out of the site. Once you have clicked on the video that walks you through the map it is a little bit difficult to get back to the home page. Overall I think this map is a great tool that provides a lot of information which helps bring  hi”story” alive.

download (1)

Online History Archives: Darwin

download (1)

The archive I choose to look at was The Darwin Correspondence Project.   This online archive provides a vast amount of information about Charles Darwin. It complies letters that were written to or by Charles Darwin.  Many us may know Darwin for his work on natural selection, or about his voyage on the HMS Beagle, what is often left in the dark is his personal life. Letters from Darwin’s early life as well as many letters where Darwin discusses his work are included in this archive. Letters to and from friends, or family give you a look into who Darwin was and how the people around him helped shape his work. These letters offer a look into how Darwin thought and where his ideas stemmed from. This is a unique archive that holds many secrets and interesting facts that are waiting to be discovered.

This online archive makes it very easy to find what you are looking for. It is organized well and it gives many different viewing options which I thought was great. For example you can look at a specific topics like the HMS Voyage which would show you letters that relate to that topic. Or you could use the timeline where you can see which letters fit where in the big picture of Darwin’s adventures. There is even a map which allows you to view where Darwin was when the letter was written. Audio and video features that discus various things about the letters. These features help make it easier to be engaged and excited about what you might find next.  There are many letters which may seem overwhelming but this archive does a wonderful job of categorising them into specific sections making it easy to zero in on what you think might be important.  It also gives brief descriptions of the topics allowing you to see if you would like to dive deeper into those letters or not. Wether you want to know a lot or a little about Darwin you will surly find something interesting within these letters.

Although I do think that this archive does a great job of presenting and organising the letters I feel it doesn’t allow you to see what others sites have to say about Darwin. Although many of these letters are written by Darwin himself, having access to what researchers of today think about Darwin’s theories would help create different understandings of what the letters are saying. Hearing what other people in the field have to say may help people view the information in a different light which may help them better understand it.

Overall I think that this online archive is a great resource and tool that historians would find useful . Its ease of use and depth of information make this a great archive to dive into from the comfort of your own home.


Post 1: Home,Hockey & History


I was not really sure what to expect from digital history, but after the introduction I am excited to learn more about it. I enjoy history which is one of the main reasons I took this course. For me history is exciting  I enjoy learning about how things came to be and how things have changed over time. Obviously computers/technology are becoming a big part of many peoples lives, so it will be interesting to see how digital tools can make history more accessible to everyday life.  My program at Brock is concurrent education and my teachable subject is science.  Since I am in ConEd I hope to be a teacher once I am out of school. However I am unsure if that is really what I want to be, still looking into other options :).  I am from Hamilton and I have two older brothers. Growing up hockey was a big part of my home. From watching the Leafs on TVgoleafsgo, to playing hockey it is a big part of my family’s life. I began playing hockey at nine years old and it is something that I absolutely love. I also like cats although I do not have a cat my oldest brother has moved out and I often visit his house to see his cat. Audi the Bengal.   The introduction to digital history brought up a lot of good points. One thing I liked in particular was the idea of diversity .People from all different areas of study can look at one article,artifact or whatever it may be and provide different information or views about that piece. Like the reading says giving people access to things that had not been for public viewing will help more people realize the importance of history as well as the importance of digitizing history. Another point that I thought was good was about authenticity, this could be a down fall since it is relatively easy to put information online. Misinformation may begin to circulate which is not good. Making sure the sources that are assessed are trusted is important. I think that digital history is great, being able to access documents with just a few clicks helps us see into the past which is where we all started. download