Blog #4: Voyant Tools

Voyant tools allows users to work with their own texts or existing texts to perform basic text mining functions. You can discover themes and quickly extract characteristics. It is also a web-based that reads and analyzes texts in a variety of formats including: Plain text, HTML, XML, MS WORD, RTF, and PDF.  Voyant Tools is also a free site which can be used in many ways. It provides visuals like graphs, scatterplots, concept maps for the user to better understand what the information provided is saying.

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The ability to quickly analyze pattern in large bodies can hinder historical analysis. This is because although there are many historians that can access the tool, it’s the type of historian that matters. If a lazy historian was to access the website and have enough information presented before them they would make broad statements about the text. In fact, it is more likely they would have never read the text or dig deeper into the tools provided by Voyant. Also, they may have limited understanding of the actual text as little thinking was present. Not only a lazy historian be a problem but Voyant tool can also limit the perspective of the deeper reading by the historian. For example, if a text was run through Voyant tools, under cirrus, most common words show up. The words that are larger occur more frequently. This gives the historian an insight into the main focus of this text, however, it could also limit the historian to just looking for these topics.  Essentially it could blindfold the historian to look only for specific things, while other aspects of the text could be just as important. While you’d think Voyant Tools provides the basic understanding of the source, the traditional method of reading primary sources is best for understanding the content/intent of the source. This is because voyant provides broad assumptions about the text and provides little information as it does not contain full details as a primary source would have.

Although there are some negative aspects to using Voyant Tools for historians, there are things we cannot access elsewhere. Voyant Tools is very simple to use and efficient for quick research, and it helps to get a basic understanding between the connection between text in order to take it further. Many historians would spend much of their time “sorting” and this digital program helps it make it easier. Therefore, Voyant tool is simply a tool, and without the purposeful effort of the person examining the piece of text, the information Voyant tool gives is broad.

Blog Post #3

While discussing the HGIS project in labs “the Bombsight” it really caught my attention. It was very interesting to know where the bombings were yet difficult to differentiate them. The Project is the mapping of London world war two bomb census between 7/10/1940 to 06/06/1941. The project scanned the locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the map. Personally, I always liked learning about where the bombings were located in WW2 and learning about how many were there in the region that affected civilians and homes. The Bomb sight was created by a collaboration between of individuals (Doctors, University of Portsmouth stepping, web developers etc). This indicates that this is a good source since the website was created by individuals that were knowledgeable about this topic.

What is interesting is that there is information about the location of different defences built to prevent a German Invasion. There were also memories from the BBC WW2 achieve( people’s stories to the area), and Images from the Imperial war Museum collections. There is also variety of data such as Raster maps of aggregate night time bomb census, raster maps of weekly bomb census, 24 hours of blitz, present day street map titles and present day aerial imagery, etc. This help viewers to see the impact of the war and realize how devastating it is. Also it gives an accurate visual of the event with all this data provided on this site. There is also mobile app that features on this website, making it easier for users to navigate on the go. In addition, The Bomb sight has statistics about the London Btlitz which indicates the total number of high explosive bombs dropped from 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941 in a specific location and a weekly bomb census which is interesting. Also another thing is that map is very interactive as when you press the “Explore” option on the Bomb Sight you are able to see different areas of London that have been affected by the bombing such as “Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley etc. It is very helpful/useful to access the different locations. Overall, this is a great source as a lot of data and research existed on this site.

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There were things that were difficult about this source. One being it was hard to navigate through the map as it was hard to zoom enough to see the bombs separate. It was hard to locate a very specific location on the map as the bombings were all clustered together. Secondly, I personally believe that they should’ve differentiated between high explosive bombings and non- high explosive bombings to give an effect to the viewers. It is just overwhelming to see all the bombs clustered in one area all at once. Thirdly, there should’ve been information about the intensities of the bombing as they could’ve added a layer saying which bombings were detrimental to the area.bombings

Blog Post #2: Digital Archives

Online digital archives store historical maps, pictures, books, scholarly articles that enables users to access the enhancement of rich varied collections. These are usually arranged in an organized manner to display specific themes or ideas online. In the past, it was time consuming and expensive to access historical information where the archives were and now we are lucky to have information readily available. The History archives discussed in class consisted of Acestry.ca, Medici Achieve Project and The Darwin correspondence project. These three archives showcase the advancement tool for historians and each serves different purposes with their own benefits and limitations.

Ancestry.ca has been advertised on T.V where it reaches out to people who want to find about their own family’s history out of their own interest. This website supposedly provides background history and other important information (deaths, ethnicity, marriages etc) that people can obtain. Even for an adopted child, that child can know about their relations through DNA collected and locate them from any city/country although it requires a fee which is expensive. Another limitation is that even though a lot of information are uploaded online, there may be some information that may not be uploaded. Even so, information can be leaked to companies to use part of their network. Security breaches can also occur and be dangerous.

In memory- Ancestry launches historic WWII collection

Darwin Correspondence project is managed by the University of Cambridge and provides historians with free access to the letters and complete picture of the timeline of Charles Darwin work (scientific studies/ personal life/ important information) through the internet like no other website. This helps historians to analyze the information and search specific information with minimal effort. This archive is highly organized as this archive categorizes their information so it is easily searchable by themes/keywords rather than sorting through the letters individually. The Darwin Correspondence Project also does a fair job to display the information through a blend of both media and text maintaining a professional look. Since the archive is managed by the University of Cambridge it is a limitation because they have control over the story and some historians may think the information is biased. Another limitation is that some information is missing and the authors are asking to fix the puzzle.

darwinproject.ac.uk

The Medici Archive project is free and can be used worldwide. It is designed to explore the various forms of primary sources that includes scholarly articles, journals etc as it makes it available to anyone who may need to use these primary documents (historians) and further their research. The Medici Archive primarily consists of letters. It also is a very secure website that requires a login for entry. A limitation of this archive is that the format of the page seems clustered and there are more images than writing. This draws attention away from the relevant information with distracting clustered media.

Blog Post #1: Intro

Hi there,
My name is Vithuna Vigneswaran, I am a second year kinesiology student here at Brock University. I am from Vaughan and it’s approximately 1.5 hour drive to here which isn’t too bad. I originally switched my program from nursing and I plan on going back and getting my nursing degree after I finish getting my kinesiology degree. Sometimes going back isn’t bad, right? Besides school, I work with patients with various ages including patients that are disabled or palliative. I love working with them as I always learn new things and have an enjoyable experience.

medical doctor comforting senior patient

While technology is rapidly growing and making changes to people’s lives, it is interesting to know that the past is taking advantage of new communication technologies for further analysis and research. In fact, it is extremely interesting to know that you can connect with your descendants through digitized information!

The Introduction of Digital History examines the advantages and disadvantages of digital History. Although the promises (advantages) overweigh the perils (disadvantage), it seems to be that the promises can also have negative outcomes. “Promises” are divided into seven qualities that allow us to do better things such as  capacity, accessibility, flexibility, diversity, manipulability, interactivity, manipulability and hypertextuality (or nonlinearity). On, the other hand, “perils” are divided into five dangers/hazards such as quality, readability, passivity, and inaccessibility, durability.

While most information can be accessed through the internet, some sources are not reliable and it is hard to prevent from accessing them when they are readily available on the internet. In a blink of an eye, information can be obtained instead of spending hours looking through books. New findings can be approached through the vast technology and can affect people’s lives to a great extent. Also, more data can be stored. Meanwhile, the internet has a hard time filtering out the useless and unreliable sources that is on the search engine. It is nearly impossible to figure out who the real author is and this can cause conflict. Digital History in my opinion is going to change the way we see things as years go by as it evolves.

Although there are different perspectives people might take on with this course, I am not sure what to expect in this course as this is my first “history” related course I am taking in university. But, I am eager to learn more about digital history!