Blog #4: Voyant tools and text analysis

Voyant tools is a useful open web based application for performing reading and digital text analysis. In other words, the Voyant tool is an excellent source to learn about the various kinds of data that us as humans can extract from the internet sources. It allows us to write own text or collection of texts in a various formats that includes plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, RTF and Microsoft word. Especially, this tool is vital for digital historians that can provide insight regarding patterns and is crucial in the technological advancement era as we are furthering our advancement to online platforms. This will allow historians to explore patterns in a reduced amount of time. For example, from my exploration from this site, one is able to select a corpus and can simply copy and paste a text into a text box from different locations including URLs and uploaded files. The upload file selector would allow one to choose one or more files as it is easier to add several documents at once. Once the corpus has been selected, it will be presented with a default skin that includes cirrus, reader, trends, summary and contexts. This will help hinder historical analysis to analyze text patterns in various bodies of writing.

Furthermore, it has a range or analytic and interpretive functions that has several tools for studying term frequencies and distributions and collections within documents in different formats. This is beneficial because historians can get a more better and basic understanding of the connections between the texts. While on the other hand, the most fascinating part about Voyant tools is the ability to bookmark your work and share the URLs as you are able to work with the same text during different sessions. Not only that, but the voyant tools is available in several languages. That includes Arabic, French, Japanese, Serbian etc. From this, it can be shown that individuals can use this helpful site from any part of the world.

I believe the downfall to voyant tools is that the text itself does not do the actual work for you as it gives surface of common words and correlations between the words but meaning. As well as,  you can narrow the specific word from the patterns, but the vital information or key word can be forgotten. Thus, one needs to find the deeper meaning behind the words as it can be time consuming. However, I plan on using this tool in furthering my assistance in analyzing my patterns in my own personal essays. This is because I am able to see the  trends in the text that I may have never seen before as this site does give something new that we can not otherwise access.

More Tools

Blog #3

The HGIS project that caught my attention through Geospatial Historian is “The Atlas of early printing.”  The Atlas of early printing is an interactive map that is designed as a tool for teaching the early history of printing in Europe during the second half of the fifteenth century. This map is an online resource created by Greg Prickman, who is the head at the University of Iowa Libraries. It illustrates the spread of a moveable type printing technology from the periods of 1940 -1955.

Firstly, the atlas of the early printing not only animates the spread of the printing year-by-year, but includes layers that place printing within a historical and cultural context. This map contains a number of subjects that includes spread of printing, output by location, universities, paper mills, fairs, conflicts and trade routes. Particularly, the information on the map can be displayed layer by layer, and can also be restricted by year or year-range, for clearer viewing. This allows one to turn on and off the layers to build detailed atlas of the culture and commerce of Europe. Specifically, this map is able to animate using the subjects and these layers provided that can be controlled by users, allowing them to view as much or as little information as one chooses.

Secondly, the timeline is controlled by an jQuery UI slider as it is only optimized for mobile and desktop platforms. This enables users to view modern European country boundaries, and the locations of modern cities from the times from 1940-1955. The atlas project also does a good job in creating an intuitive, easy-to-use, yet in depth resource in a compressed period of time. In addition to the map, the site provides background information on the Atlas and the team responsible for it, as well as an examination of one fifteenth-century printed book. This includes a digital animation of an early printing press,  a bibliography of related reference sources and links to other relevant websites.

Visualization of historical topics is increasingly used in scholarship to illustrate relationships and the Atlas of early printing is a prime example of this. For example, as from 1450-1455, one can see that printing slowly began to spread throughout Europe as the secrets of the trade was handed down. In other words, the map shows a great visualization of the commercial relationship that spurred the growth of the printing industry. Not only that, but the map and the information represents data using common bibliographic catalogues and databases for fifteenth century printing, along with secondary sources focusing on each of the contextual layers of the map. The atlas of early printing is to take the information and allow it to provide contextual information that visually represents the cultural situation from which printing came from.

Overall, the map itself was very organized as it is easy to navigate but not visually appealing as the map itself looks dull and so does the legend. Also, the map needs work for the amount of information provided when clicking the output by location.  This is because there is insufficient amount of information provided about the city as it only says the name. For example, when clicking the cities, it should directed to a page indicating further information about the city not just the name. Furthermore, this map allows one to see how things changed over the compressed time and could be used as a historical document for future purposes. In any case, this resource would make a useful introduction to the history of European printing anyways as it would be a good starting point for further bibliographical or historical study.

Image result for the atlas of the early printing


Post 2: Exploring online archives 

The world today is full of information that includes records, archives, documents, biography which historians can study and question to refine the understanding of the past. In other words, digital archives is a beneficial advancement tool in historical research. For example, when viewing the three online history archives which includes, Medici Archive Project and The Darwin correspondence project, the approach I chose illustrates the importance of questioning, understanding and articulating the context of creation for three different audiences and forms of information.  In discussing this, online archiving is a revolutionary way of storing information in a way of being accessible worldwide that will also educate the scholars of the future. But also, the website itself is organized in such a way online users can be searched by the specific topic or author. In other words, the archive serves the purpose of organizing, maintaining information for long term access and preservation for future purposes. The varieties of digital archives also serves a different vision of the nature of the concept of an archive. This means having different forms of sources of collections like emails, digital videos, photos, letters will allow one to have information that is accessible to them and can bring upon one’s attention.

For example, Darwin Correspondence archive was founded in 1974 which included letters written by or to Darwin by from the largest single category of Darwins working papers put together by University of Cambridge. The letters consisted about his life and number of information about his timeline and correspondents. Not only that, but the letters provide information for historians as it is a very useful tool for understanding his life and providing the best experience of users. One is also able to browse using keywords, the authors names/topics that will allow to pinpoint the specific source. In other words, it gives the ability for others to search a specific keyword on the archive in accordance to Charles Darwin. This will give minimal search effort and time. In addition, this archive does appeal to a wide range of online users as it easy to access.  However, the limitation to this archive is that since it was put together by Cambridge University( a private organization), they have control over the documentations as it is a well organized digital archive and free. But on the other hand, outside users cannot find any other site just like this archive as it detailed and can only access bits of information from other webpages.

Secondly, Medici archive project archive includes scholarly articles, academic projects and the names of the contributors along with their credentials. It is well organized as it covers specific topics in accordance to the documents that are arranged. Just like this archive, the German History archive contains numerous amounts of documents and images which relate to the significance of the historical events since 1500 CE. The downfall to this archive to this is that since it has not been updated in  quite a while, users may have the difficulty in finding the content they want and the attention is brings to the site. In relation to the Medici archive, the site also contains past conferences, maps, pictures and documents that makes this archive useful as it also captions explaining the collection of the source. A downfall to the medici archive is that numerous amounts of pictures is displayed which can draw the attention of users into the images instead of the information.

Image result for medici archive

Thirdly, allows one to search family ancestry as it can also be known as a genetic database as discussed in lab. This website is good for those who are interested in their background history and ethnicity of previous marriages, deaths etc. They are able to collect and store DNA as it later can be used to search anything that matches to you . From any city to country to around the globe, it allows one to also determine the ethnic background of one and also relations you may have on this planet. Besides all this, the site has numerous amounts of limitations as one being that confidential information can be released to the public or to online hackers and can lead to misinformation. In other words, this site can be inaccurate. Secondly, this site is not free to access as you need to pay in order to access. Overall, the subscription fee is expensive and the information you are providing about your family and you is unclear to what you are getting!

Image result for ancestry archives



Introduction blog post #1


My name is Vithura and I’m a second year Kinesiology major at Brock University. I’m from Vaughan, Ontario from a  suburban community called Maple. It is so relentlessly boring as there is nothing to do other than eat. I live within walking distance of restaurants, a few grocery stores/fast foods and a GOstation all maybe under an hour walk. Anyhow I have been involved in the healthcare sector for the past 7 months and have a strong degree of interest in simply making a difference in the lives of others.  I’m slowly making my way up there as I have been working with disabled children, elderly adults and providing palliative care for those in need. Helping others is a rewarding and beneficial experience as simply putting a smile on someone’s face makes a small difference. I am still in the process of deciding which direction to take once I complete my Kinesiology degree as there are many options open. This will be hard on my part as I am an indecisive individual but really have a passion in educating individuals about health issues in increasing quality of care and safety.

          One interesting fact that I always mention to others is that I have a twin sister. We are both identical twins and we do everything together. This includes, going out to eat, watching the same movies/shows but have completely different personalities as we are two complete different individuals.

         Besides all this, I love watching family vlogs on youtube as I can gain some insight and different perspectives of life.  For myself, some vloggers inspire and motivate me to set goals in life by persevering as a young individual. Others have a touching story that initially pulls me in and waiting to unfold. For example,  Kkandbabyj, the mother(Karen) is a teen mom who has two beautiful kids, Jackson and Levi. The father (QUA) is best at knowing how to capture something and tell a story. They both share their trials together and this includes infertility. Once they got pregnant, they gave hope to other couples struggling with similar issues. Ultimately, watching vloggers is a way to feel connectected and a way to escape life through the struggles the vloggers faced.

         The introduction of digital history chapter pinpoints 7 promises and  5 perils entering the historical world.  This comes to show that that pros outweigh the negative aspects in pursuing a digital future.  Some advantages of digital media is networking which includes in being able to reach multiple audiences with historical information that was once exclusive just to the historians. Specifically, online accessibility for high school students,  i.e a documentary record have the same terms of access as most senior historians which is quite alarming. Similarly, from condensing large amounts of data into tiny amounts of space, giving readers more varied sources of openness and diversity, getting more historical materials into classrooms and the ability to encompass different media all resides positive aspects of technology. For example, historical information is becoming far more accessible anywhere and anytime in this global world.  But despite the information that is available, is it accurate? This arises questions and concerns as researchers have to go through inaccurate and misleading information to separate factual and true. Some other dangers of digital media comprises of it’s durability, quality, readability and passivity. In essence, the digital future involves the preservation of everything, however it is losing its global present as no one is willing to want to have a  complete historical record.

          In proceeding with this course, I am truly excited in looking foward to learn about the development of digital history and the technology used to produce it. Along with knowing the potential benefits in the use of digital history when combined with traditional historical methods. This will allow me to draw to new conclusions and use different tools to extract and analyze data that is accurate which allow me to improve on my critical thinking skills. Particularly, being able to utilize and promote the unique analysis of data with many tools that was once unavailable to historians.