Post #4 : Voyant Tools & Digital Text Analysis

This week I had the opportunity to explore voyant tools, as it has evolved to a crucial tool for digital historians. Voyant tools can be identified by website based text reading and analysis environment that is designed to make it more easy for individuals to work with text collections in a variety of different formats. Simply this online tool will allow users to copy and paste there text or URL address into a text box, from there the website will transform the data to the credentials you have chosen. The formats that content can be transferred to includes formats such as, HTML, PDF, RTF, and Microsoft Work witch will ultimately provide historians the insight regarding patterns and unusual behaviour.

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Furthermore voyant tools and digital text analysis platforms also provide visuals such as graphs, scatterplots and a variety of maps that are used for better understand of the information provided. It is critical in this era of technological advancements and globalization to understand the ability of voyant tools and how they quickly analyze patterns in large bodies of text or possibly hinder the historical analysis. The digital text analysis platforms such as voyant tools can be used for both uses, although it is based on what the historian is preparing to analyze. However voyant tools may not be as effective when the length of the content is not long enough, although I could see myself as well as many of my peers using voyant tools to analyze essays specifically looking for repetitive words and occurring speech patterns.

UnknownThe evolution of voyant tools has evolved the analysis of traditional historical reading skills as it has become very beneficial for digital historians to participate with the new online platforms. The development of the new platforms have allowed historians to now view trends that have never been seenbefore, as well its also allowing the ability to specifically search for keywords in a large media archives.

Therefore in conclusion the innovation of voyant tools and digital text analysis will continue to allow individuals to easily and effectively view patterns within media content as well as also predict possible trends rather than the traditional concepts which were considered more time consuming and inaccurate.


Mitchell Witherspoon : November 23, 2017


Post 3 : Digital Archives


As we already know, that story maps allow individuals to create an effective narrative or a presentation based on a specific analysis of a particular topic. ArcGIS or also know as ready to use maps promotes a live atlas of the world with the addition of layers and many more features. ArcGIS online includes a wide range of creative maps and layers from weather and global warming transformations to historical war sites to pin pointed bomb droppings. The purpose of story mapping and ArcGIS online is to offer a collaborative environment that allows individuals to share maps, layers and scenes of quantitative and qualitative data.

For the purpose of this assignment I decided to analyze the historic Welland Canal project offered by ArcGIS online. To begin the Welland Canal expands a length of 43 kilometres, which was designed by Hiram Tibbetts with the purpose of connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie with a series of locks and man-made canals. The purpose of this map is to display the design of the Welland Canal from an arial view while incorporating multiple layers of information. When first observing the story map it is quick to notice the simplicity of reading the map due to the organization of the scales and legend. In this situation the scale of the map or range is considered to be from the start of the canal (North of St.Davids Road) to the end of the canal that finishes in Lake Ontario. (South of Lakeshore West). Secondly it is also quick to notice that there are two separate routes pin pointed on the map, this is due to the reconstruction of the canal over time. Therefore this digital archive of the Welland Canal is effective and creditable due to the evidence of showing the current active canal route and comparing it to the old Welland Canal route. The site also incorporates more simplicity by making it easy to remove layers and to add layers by a drop menu to further accommodate what information and statistics individuals want to be shown. Furthermore to personalize your viewing preferences the digital archive also offers a base map gallery which advertises multiple different viewpoints of the map such as a light grey canvas, dark grey canvas, or a open street perspective.


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The digital archive of the Welland Canal is also effective by the significant legend that is offered to provide an easy guide to reading the map and its multiple layers. For instance the map includes the documentation of bridges, locks, remnants, bollards, and weirs. Each item that is listed in the legend is marked on the map and is also clickable which provides individuals with a small paragraph of information regarding that item on the map. The digital archive has also incorporated colour coding which allows viewers to have a better perspective of the Welland Canal and as well as the recent construction and innovations. One negative aspect that I found with this digital archive of the Welland Canal was the issue of marking the current Welland Canal route in the colour blue. Although the route is still easy to view the colour blue should on be used and considered when identifying large bodies of water on a map. In conclusion from studying story maps and digital archives from the past previous weeks, I am now able to effectively analyze a ArcGIS archive as well as design my own with incorporating layers and incorporate specific mapping strategies.

Historic Welland Canals Mapping Project (HWCMP) – Explore the gems of our local history!


Mitchell Witherspoon

November 2nd / 2017




Blog Post #1 : Introduction / Chapter 1

Hi there, My name is Mitchell Witherspoon, I am a third year Business Communications student at Brock University. I am from Stouffville, Ontario, a small rural community located approximately an hour North of downtown Toronto. Once completing the Business Communications undergraduate program at Brock University I would like to further develop my skills and knowledge of agronomy and turf grass management practices to pursue a career in the golf industry. My seven years of developed skills from working guides my golf course management practices and processes that lead to my most satisfying and recent responsibility that was successfully managing a 27-hole golf facility with supervising a crew of 13. Therefore as a undergraduate of Business Communications, I would effectively be able to communicate to a diverse range of constituents from employees, members & guests to golf executive boards and vendors. On my spare time outside of the classroom and workplace you would most likely find me golfing with friends and family.

In an era of globalization digital history has effected us as a whole, as it is evident by society being excessively dependent to their smart phones and gadgets. The introduction chapter to digital history began with capitalizing on a number of positives and negatives towards digital history and how it is used. Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig also presented several promises regarding digital histories future. They began with assessing how easy it is for individuals to access information as well as emphasizing on the feature of being able to store all personal information into one place. Finally the chapter focused on the contrast between ‘hypertextuality’ and ‘nonlinearity’, of digital media which was defined by the movement of data in any possible direction. Although the on going mass media and digital movement has proposed many questions regarding potential threats for inaccessibility and eruption of possible monopolies.

After completing the second week of first semester, I still do not have a strong idea on what to expect from this course due to my shortage of history credits and as well as my knowledge towards digital history. Although I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of digital history specifically in our current time era of economic globalization and technological advancements.

-Mitchell Witherspoon