Final Blog Post

Voyant-Tools text analysis software is a program that is used in order to find the key words and patterns in large bodies of text. It can also be used when trying to compare multiple texts to one another. The ability to use this and other text analysis applications greatly helps historical analysis as you don’t have to take the time to read the large texts and can quickly identify what they have in common with each other. When you feed the texts through the software the results you get back are very easy to interpret for anybody using the application. Another helpful thing about this program is that it is very easily accessible and free for anyone to use. It can be used in order to compare literally any two texts to each other and relate them no matter how little you may have previously thought they would have in common. Although it is a very helpful tool for all kinds of research there are also some drawbacks to it. To begin with, fact that all the outputs are just the raw words make it impossible to understand the context that the words are being used in. For example, you could be comparing two different texts that have almost the exact same words used at almost equal frequencies. Based on these results, you would assume that both texts would be about the exact same thing and have almost identical content, but due to the program not taking into account the context of the words used they could have completely separate meanings based on how they were used. There is also the problem of a lot of the top words the program finds being words with very little significance to the text but that still come up a lot such as the name of the author, the word ‘the,’ etc.

The use of text analyzation software can be extremely useful when used in the right contexts, it also has its fair share of downsides and shouldn’t be used as the only means of analyzation.


Blog Post #3

For my third post, I looked at the HGIS Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization. This interactive map really caught my attention. This website was created by a university computer science student and his professor who is a historian of slavery at Georgetown. It was very simple to navigate as well as very user friendly. It showed things in its visuals such as where most of the slaves in the trade were shipped to as well as where they were shipped from and at what time in the world’s history this happened.

The first interactive map on the site shows where all of the Atlantic SLaving Voyages departed from. From the map we can conclude that the departures began first in Portugal and from there expanded to the United Kingdom where the majority of departures came from. The departures also came from the coast of the United States and from South America at the east coast of Brazil.

The second interactive map on the site shows where slavers purchased captive Africans. This map shows us how there was only one main spot where this trading happened and it was along the African coast from Senegal all the way down to Angola. This is already fairly well known though as along the coast would be the only place that the slavers could get their boats so it makes most sense that the high density is all around the ports of Africa.

The third and final interactive map on the site displays where the slavers disembarked their human cargo. It shows how their cargo was first disembarked around South-Central America and the trade got very heavy there and was only there until the mid 1700s when the slavers began to disembark their cargo in South America as well as along the coast of the United States.

Overall I think this website was good becuase it gave the reader all the information they needed as well as being extremely user friendly. They also had a section on their website showing where they got all of their data for anyone who enjoys reading more than just looking at colour coated maps.

Blog Post #2

Online archiving is a relatively new way of storing information that has revolutionized the way we store and keep information. These online archives are much easier to access than normal archives as you can access them as long as you have an internet connection. Many of these, such as the Darwin Correspondence project and the Medici archives are free to the public. But sites such as ancestry are online archives that you have to pay for in order to access.

The first online archive we used in class was the Darwin Correspondence project. This archive was constructed by the University of Cambridge which is an archive of Charles Darwin’s research along with documentation of his personal life. This site is very easy to navigate and you can find so many of the letters he wrote and received in his life.

charles darwin

Another one of the sites we visited was the Medici Archive Projects which covers across Europe and contains many sources from the 16th century forward. The site is not organized as nicely as the other websites as it’s a lot of text and not as many visuals and the page layout isn’t as appealing as the other online archives we looked at as it extremely cluttered and not very straightforward.

The final online archive we looked at was which is the only one we looked at that required payment to get the experience of the website. The cost of membership with ancestry varied from around $20-$30 a month to find out about your family tree which wasn’t even necessarily correct information about your family’s past. They also had a DNA test service for $130 which tracks down your genetic origins. I personally think this archive is a complete rip off and not worth the cost to find out the information ancestry has about your background.

greedy gif

Overall, I think that online archiving is the way of the future and are a much safer alternative to preserving history than traditional archives are.

Introductory blog post

Hello, my name is Kevin Matthews. I am from a town called Stouffville just north of Toronto. I am currently in my second year at Brock studying business. I’m sure this confuses some people as I am in this history class but I have personally always found learning about all kinds of history very interesting. When I graduate I don’t know really what I want to do other than get a job working in an office as that is what most of the courses in business set me up to do. Outside of school I enjoy playing hockey and softball. For softball, I have travelled all over Canada to play at the highest levels winning the Eastern Canadian Championships twice and winning the Western Canadian Championships once. When I’m not playing hockey or ball I like to watch both in their respective seasons with the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs being my favourite teams. The Leafs used to be tough to watch but with the addition of the almighty Auston Matthews, they’re one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch.auston matthews

In the introductory chapter of the Digital History textbook, the authors Daniel J. Cohen, and Roy Rosenzweig discuss the many various pros or “promises” that will come from digital history as well as some cons or “perils” that come from the technology. Some examples of the some of the promises from Digital History are things such as the prophecy of hypertext providing a new, richer reading experience due to how much information there is to access as well as how readily available it is. But along with this promise there is a negative side seen by skeptics who thought that the digital environment would very possibly be the death of reading as we know it. Another promise that comes out of this chapter is the unmediated access to reach out to everyone in the world quite easily. Another “peril” of digital history is the concern of previously existing digital formats and information existing into the future due to how fragile they can be and how hard it is for them to survive through changes and advances in technology.

Going into the first lecture I had no idea at all what to expect from this class but I chose to take it because I thought it would be interesting learning about history through digital formats. I also liked that it is a history class but doesn’t follow the same layout for grading as every single other history class there is. I’m excited to get to work with the different software’s we’ll be using this year and becoming more acquainted with technology which can do nothing but good things for me in the future.