Voyant Tools

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Voyant tools is a site that allows people to examine the main contents of various texts. With voyant tools you can see things such as how many times a word is written in the text and various other tools to view  the text look at how words are connected and such. we can see patterns far more easily in the texts we look at so it is helpful for that but this site seems to be rather limited in how much it can actually help with studying a text. although of course historian’s have to do their own work and closely examine texts to get meaning form the existence of the words there and they have to think about it and figure out why those patterns that exist actually exist and if it is just a coincidence or if there is something important behind it. so Voyant tools does do the job it was made for to display important things in large texts but the actual uses of this is rather limited should really only be the starting place for any serious text analysis.

So I would say yes Voyant tools does help as it can be useful in some cases and when not it would just be left unused. but as to whether it gives us something new I would say not really as it does give a new and easier way to spot patterns and connects however it is not something that couldn’t be done by people it would just take far longer to collect the data that Voyant displays in a matter of seconds. As this tools speed up a lot of grind work for historians analyzing the text it does cut out a lot of repeat reading to find those connections but it still requires the reader to go throw the text thoroughly to come up with any meaningful conclusion or argument and thus I don’t think it has negatively affected historians reading skill but simply removed some of t he grind work they were forced to go through in the past.


Blog post #3 HGIS project review

The HGIS project that I looked at is called the digital atlas of Roman and medieval civilizations. It is a map focused on the Mediterranean and the surrounding area that used to be part of the Roman empire. The webpage shows some information about the project and the people who made it but the main purpose is the map. The map gives you the option to look at what buildings you want to such as Roman forts or you can turn the forts off and look at cities instead or both at the same time. The map shows the sites of Roman forts, walls and towns as well as offer things from the Roman period. Under the medieval tab is the option to see things happening in the middle ages such as the trade routes and movement of the vikings as well as the expansion of Islam and the crusades and various churches and monasteries.


Roman empire


The map show a lot of information well and it is very useful if you are trying to see the locations of important sites at that time and the distance between them. Each point also has a lot of data which is of some use but the user of this map must know something about the location before using the map effectively as this map doesn’t give any information on the significance of the locations but just give a bunch of empirical data that is useful but only if you have already read up on the site elsewhere. The website does show where they got their data under a section titled map sources but they also have a section called bibliography that is blank. since they already show sources for the map they don’t need to have a whole section just called bibliography but if they are going to then they should at least put some sources in it.

Digital Archives Blog Post

The online history archive about the history of Germany contains a lot of good information and some descent photos. It has a wide range of topics and is a good place to start if researching something about Germany as it does not get to far in depth but gives the researcher  a good overview to start with however for any serious paper a lot more information will be required then this archive provides. the way it is laid out is also a problem as it is small and in one corner of the page. The website leaves large empty white spaces which does not make it look nice or professional.

The archive on Dante’s Divine Comedy has lots about Dante’s work and has the text online as well as enabling users to search keywords and phrases in order to find specific passages and references but the problem with that is that you need to know exactly what you are looking for and know the text really well. If you don’t know that much about Dante then you will have a hard time using this site for research. As for myself basically everything I know about the Divine Comedy is from this comic below so I didn’t find any use for this website for me but if your a big fan of the Divine Comedy then you’ll probably like this archive.

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Now the third and final online archive I’m reviewing is the Darwin correspondence project which in my opinion is by far the best of the three. The archive is about the life of Darwin and the theory of evolution. This site looks a lot nicer than the other two sites and has a lot of information that is a lot easier to find than on the Dante archive. Although you still have to know what you are looking for if you want to use the keyword search it is not the only option as there are many drop down menus to select a number of topics.

Although online archives often have their flaws they are really a great source of information and allow historians to access information where they otherwise would have had to travel far or maybe not even been able to gain access at all.


Intro Post because I don’t have a better name

Hello my name is Michael Vellenga. I grew up on a Dairy farm in Smithville which is pretty close to Hamilton. I am a second year history major at Brock university and to answer what so many people have asked me what i want to do after? I have no idea idea what i want to do, I just find history pretty interesting and I thought I may as well go with history and hopefully figure something out along the way. In my spare time I like to play historical strategy games such as games from the total war series or crusader kings. I also like watching Netflix and I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones.

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The intro to digital history chapter lists a number of pros and cons of the huge amount of historical data and information becoming so much more accessible. A huge benefit is that historical information which was once very exclusive has now become available for a vast number of people. The sharing and obtaining of this info is also much easier as the researcher no longer needs to travel all the way to the archive location rather they can often  access the info from their own home. Despite all the great benefits of this it does not however come without cons. With this huge amount of data and information made available to all it has become impossible to prevent fake or incorrect sources being posted online thus giving the researcher the hazard of navigating through false information to discern the truth. Although there is a large amount of false information on the internet it is still far better that this correct information is available to the public even though the researcher must be careful when finding their sources with critical examination and cross checking information with sites known to be reliable it is not so difficult to find good info.

Going into this course I’m not totally sure what to expect from digital history although I thought the idea to be interesting to take a look at history with a different perspective through modern tools rather then relying soling on more traditional means of history.