Post #4 Voyant Tools

Voyant Tools is a program that analyzes a body of text and returns key words, word usage and other helpful data. This makes it easy for the user to quickly find out key information and themes. The program will give you a summery of where a specific keyword appears and at what frequency throughout the text. The tool also allows the user to get information that surrounds the word such as the words it appears in conjunction most often with and gives the most used phrases.

An example of this I did on the Treaty of Versailles

Screenshot (1)

This can be particularly helpful to historians. Documents from the past can be analyzed to see how language was used. Voyant allows us to see how the use of words has changed and could also help us better understand how people communicated and articulated their thoughts through language. The tool would be ideal for quickly analyzing large bodies of text to get a sense of how the text is fundamentally put together. This is something new that the tool offers that would take a historian a lot longer to do and could also help the historian to quickly get a broad idea of the text.

There are a few ways however that the tool could hinder a Historian’s view. The use of the tool may lead the historian to thinking they get the general idea of the article leading them to think they don’t have to read the text because they have the general idea. This could also lead to the historian making broad assumptions about the text as Voyant only gives small amounts of information around the text not the whole ideas that the text contains.

Overall, I think the tool is very interesting, but use of the tool for historians is a bit of a double-edged sword.




Blog Post #3 Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations

I found a very interesting map called the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations. The map made by Harvard University and contains a massive amount of information with a wide variety of subjects. The map was very well made and easily navigable with expand and hide tabs located on the sidebar. You can select and deselect multiple overlays. This feature allows the user to see how different aspects such as military and economic locations coincide with each other. The same is true within the same headings such as fort and tower location and area within two days road as shown below.


The map highlights main regions that were occupied by the Roman Empire. It gives specific information on every single point on the map. Each point contains things such as the time period, location certainty, names, alternate, site type, names and much more. The many different overlays allow you to find any locational information about the Roman age you may want to find. The military tab allows you to see everything from fort locations, defensive systems, and walls. For historians who are more interested in the culture and social aspect of Roman history have an even wider range of information to choose from. These include information such as cities and settlement, culture and religion, and the economy which all have subsections with multiple overlays available to view.

Another part of the map is the medieval portion of the map. This part of the map shows the medieval geographical history. The best part of this, however, was the Vikings and crusades overlays. This shows all of the movements made by the army of the crusades and Vikings during many different time periods. The Viking’s overlay even displayed trade routes executed by the Vikings and the areas they influenced. Overall the map is great for anyone who is interested in the geographic history of Roman and medieval history.


Blog Post 2: The Digital Archives

Online archiving is a revolutionary way of storing information.  Sites in public domain such as the Darwin Correspondence project and Medici Archive allow anyone from anywhere with an internet connection to research the past for free. This allows information to be more accessible than ever.

The Darwin Correspondence is an archive put together by the University Of Cambridge. The archive consists of letters that Charles Darwin wrote and received up until 1872. This archive is unique because it doesn’t show just the research side of Darwin’s life but also gives you a look into his personal life.


Another interesting online archive is Ancestry is an archive that allows you to search your family accessory. Ancestry does this by using the Morman church’s archives. However, Ancestry has many downfalls. Ancestry charges up to 30 dollars a month for their service. On top of the large price tag that is associated with the service Accessory is also known for giving out inaccurate, false, or just not being able to come with any information at all. In my opinion, Accessory is just a money grab on people who want explore their roots.

One of the older archives that we looked at was the Medici Archive Project. The Medici Archive covers many different aspects of Tuscany and Europe.The archive contains millions of letters from the span of 1537-1743. Although the archive suffers from its mass amount of information making the archive very cluttered and hard to navigate. This makes finding specific information as it may be buried behind other information. An example of this is on the front page of the website there are over 40 images of different parts of the archive.clutter

Overall I believe that online archiving is the way of the future and will be used increasingly over the years to store information publicly.


Blog post #1 “My Initial Impressions”

Hello, My name is Matthew Krieger. This is my first year at Brock University after transferring from the University of Ottawa from the economics program. I am still unsure of what I want to do after completing my degree and am still exploring my options. I currently reside in the town of Fort Erie which is also my hometown. Some of the things that I enjoy are sports from baseball to hockey.

Going into the first lecture I was unsure what the course was really about. Although after our first lecture, there are many things I found very interesting. What I am looking forward to the most is creating the story map and learning how to use the GIS system. I already plan to use the opportunity to create my map around the Old Fort Erie and the rich history behind it. This idea is also intriguing because of the ability it will give aid to future historians to grasp the past. The idea that really raised my attention, was the social media aspect of it. People in the future will have the ability to see what their ancestors or anyone else who uses them were doing throughout their lives.

old fort erie 2.jpeg

The Introductory chapter highlighted seven qualities and five hazards of digital media and networks. One of the promises that come with digital history is the huge amount of Capacity it allows. Data can now be condensed into bytes and stored on a hard drive or the internet makes archiving easier.  Another promise that comes with digital history is diversity. The internet has given people the ability to publish their content to a public audience for free.

However, with these promises come the perils. The main one, in my opinion, is quality. With so much data comes so much junk. Many articles being inaccurate or misleading and with some software, images are easier than ever to fake. Also, inaccessibility is a big roadblock in the progression of digital history. As most of the world still doesn’t have access to modern technology.

I’m excited to continue learning more about digital history and look forward to future classes.