tl;dr: Voyant Tools is a free, open, web-based tool for textual analysis.
Voyant Tools is an open, web-based tool for textual analysis. Using the tool is easy. Go to the site and link to or upload your text (the system accepts a wide variety of formats including PDF, XML, TEI, and more). Once you ingest the text or corpus you are presented with a dashboard of visualizations and tools. Some of the tools built into Voyant include: Cirrus, a word cloud generator; Summary, a helpful overview of the corpus; Mandala, a visualization that shows the relationship between terms and documents; and many more (explore Voyant’s helpful documentation for the full list of tools). Another great feature is the ability to generate a URL for the entire corpus dashboard or specific visualizations which can then be linked to or embedded into web-based writing.
Voyant Tools creators Stéfan Sinclar (@sgsinclair) and Geoffrey Rockwell (@GeoffRockwell) have also written a book called Hermeneutica: Computer-Assisted Interpretation in the Humanities (2016, MIT Press). Rusty on your Greek and wondering what “hermeneutic” means, anyway? So was I. Hermeneutic means interpretive or explanatory and comes from the Greek “hermenēus,” interpreter. The book is accompanied by an extremely rich and helpful web site, Hermeneuti.ca, that uses Voyant to visualize and interpret the book’s content while providing examples of how humanities scholars might integrate textual analysis visualizations into their writing. One interesting example is found in Now Analyze That! in which speeches on the topic of race by Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright are analyzed.
I decided to play with Voyant Tools using the corpus of correspondence presented on our Dorr Letters Project site. I zipped up all 61 TEI files, uploaded the zip file to Voyant Tools, and got this dashboard:
How cool!? There is a lot to unpack in this data but I’ll highlight a couple of the things that most struck me:
the most used words in the corpus are: dorr, letter, constitution and state (I didn’t remove the TEI Header, introductory text, or follow-up questions included in our TEI so what shows up in the dashboard is not just representative of the letter content)
the second 30 letters in teh collection were written by “Anti-Dorrites.” isolating that part of the corpus and then comparing it to those letters written by Dorr might be revealing
it would be interesting to select only those letters written by Dorr and analyze the frequency of certain terms to see if patterns arise over time in relation to Dorr’s political views (of course, this is a small corpus so broad generalizations are dangerous)
Voyant Tools is simple to use and extremely interesting- give it a try yourself!
tl;dr: Voyant Tools is a free, open, web-based tool for textual analysis. Voyant Tools is an open, web-based tool for... MORE
What does the past mean to you? What comes to your mind when you think of Rhode Island history? These questions are at the heart of the #ReCollectingRI project, an effort of the Rhode Island Historical Society to engage all Rhode Islanders with our past.
Here at the Phillips Memorial Library one of our digital collections presents a very interesting glimpse into Rhode Island history. For that reason, we share our Dorr Letters to #ReCollectingRI.
The Dorr Letters web site currently presents 60 letters written to and from Thomas Wilson Dorr around the time of the Dorr Rebellion in 1842. The letters present an important glimpse into how this critical event unfolded. You can view the original manuscripts on the site, or read their transcriptions. The site also provides contextual information about many of the important peoples and places that show up in the letters.
Learn more about what contemporaries of the Dorr Rebellion thought about the conflict by exploring these 16 pamphlets written during or shortly after the rebellion took place.
One great example is “An Address on the Right of Free Suffrage'” written by Seth Luther, an antebellum workers’ and suffrage organizer from Providence, RI. In this pamphlet, Luther speaks at length about the discrepancies surrounding the rights of free men in this still young government and it’s constitution.
This material adds an important additional layer of complexity to the Dorr site. It allows readers to explore what those for and against the Dorr Rebellion were writing before, during and shortly after it took place.
Digital Publishing Services recently added 16 pamphlets to the Dorr Rebellion website titled: Pamphlets: Contemporary Assessments of the Dorr Rebellion.... MORE
Featured on the Dorr Rebellion website is a Constitutions module. This section features links to PDFs of The People’s Constitution, Law & Order Constitution, and a side by side comparison of the two. The PDFs are readable online (or available for download) as searchable documents or available for examination in a page viewer that has the option of automatic or manual page turning. Each constitution’s page has on it a detailed summary of information relevant to it, written by Dr. Patrick T. Conley, constitutional historian and co-author of The Rhode Island State Constitution: A Reference Guide (2010). An article-by-article comparison is also available on the main Constitutions page. You can view this section of the site here.
Featured on the Dorr Rebellion website is a Constitutions module. This section features links to PDFs of The People’s Constitution, Law... MORE
I’ve got some great news for those who have been following the Dorr Letters site project. We’ve just finalized the encoding for 30 more letters, uploaded them to the Dorr Letters site, and updated some of the code to allow for faceting not only by date, but now by collection and author!
We’ve added more entries for the contextual “ography” popup content, and squashed a bunch of bugs and glitches!
Do you remember awhile back we posted a sneak peek at some of the upcoming features of the Dorr Letters site? If you don’t, no worries, check it out here. Well, we have finally gone live with those changes!
The Dorr Letters project site now includes:
Contextual, informative popups for most persons, places, and organizations within the letters
Working date facets, you can now filter letters by the date they were written
Working formatting templates, the plain text now mirrors some of the formatting of the actual letters.
The Dorr Letters site will be looking a bit differently in the coming weeks. We’ve been at work creating and implementing some new content that will be weaved into each letter. The goal is to allow users the ability to click on the name of a person, place, or organization and be served a quick morsel of information about that person/place/organization. We’re currently working on setting up this workflow for all three information types as well as filling out the content behind the curtains so that none of the popups come up empty!
Providence College’s Dr. Erik Chaput (’03, ’05G and faculty in the School of Continuing Education) and Mr. Russell DeSimone (’67, local historian and collector) recently posted about the Dorr Rebellion Project Site on the early Americanists blog, The Junto. Dr. Chaput and Mr. DeSimone provide beautifully written, content-rich historical context leading up to and surrounding “the constitutional crisis that erupted in Rhode Island in 1841-1842.” The Dorr Rebellion Project Site is the resulting collaboration of the Phillips Memorial Library+Commons (Providence College), Dr. Erik Chaput and Mr. Russell DeSimone.
I had mentioned awhile back that the Dorr Rebellion site would be getting a bit of a facelift. Well, after a few meetings and some brainstorming, I present, the new, updated Dorr Rebellion site! The architecture has been optimized to highlight some of the newer Dorr Rebellion project developments and we’ve added a cleaner solution for the videos in the gallery as well as a dynamically generated updates page!