Text Analysis for Anyone

Voyant Tools is an open-source text analysis program developed by Stéfan Sinclair & Geoffrey Rockwell. Since it is open-source, Voyant Tools can be accessed by anyone on the internet and is free to use. The simple interface of Voyant Tools makes the user experience all the better! It was launched in 2003 and operates in 10 languages. It is remarkable that Voyant Tools is still operational and usable 17 years later. That shows how popular and useful this web service tool is.

In October 2016, 13 years after its initial release, Voyant Tools had 82,000 page views from 156 countries. In that same month, the tool was used 1.2 million times. That is crazy for a web service that was created in the infancy of the Internet but is still in use today.

To use Voyant Tools, there is no account or login required. The main search screen is a text box that the user either enters in a URL of whatever he or she wishes to perform a text analysis on. The user can also upload documents directly as well instead of providing a URL.

Once the user has inserted a URL or uploaded the document for text, the program searches the text and displays a copious amount of information about the text. It lists the most used words (excluding filler words), creates a visual word-cloud of those most used words, and generates a graph of the text broken up into segments to show the user where those world were used in the text.

This is an example of what Voyant Tools creates after searching through a text. As an example, I searched the text of Cameron Blevins’ article “Space, Nation, and the Triumph of Region: A View of the World from Huston”. As you can see, Voyant Tools generated a total word-count, average worlds per sentence, and the five most frequently used world in the article. The graph on the right side of the screen shows the frequency of those words in relation to their placement in the article. This helps determine approximately what the sections of the article are about based on the word usage.

Voyant Tools is an incredibly useful resource for anyone doing research into word usage, frequency, or a student trying to figure out the main ideas of an article or book they are reading for class. It is amazing that it has kept up with the fast changing world of the internet after being developed in 2003. Voyant Tools maybe a little known tool in today’s Internet, but it has its uses and has persevered over time. It is incredibly useful and super easy to use. Give it a try!

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