Practicum: Voyant Tools

What is Voyant?

Voyant is a text analysis tool that allows a user to interact with the text at a more molecular level. It has an easy-to-use format that invites audiences of all types (professional scholars to students) to study and interpret a text in a different way.

Getting Started

There are three different ways to interact with Voyant. Upon first entering the site, users are greeted with a simple text box where they can copy and paste their text. Scholars may also choose to either interact with an already analyzed source (many Classics such as Shakespeare or Jane Austin are available to open) or upload their own from dcouments on their PC. For my example analysis, I copy and pasted the link to each chapter of D’Ignazio and Klein’s Data Feminism into the text box.

This is the base dashboard that will display every time a new corpus is created. Users can change and interact with the data from here.

The dashboard is highly customizable and offers a wide array of analytical tools from a word cloud to a scatter plot to the bottom right-hand corner where it took the most frequent word (data) and displays the context for every time the word appears. Users can choose from other options such as a word tree, “terms berry,” mandala, or correlations to name a few. By clicking on a specific word in the word cloud, for example, the text in the middle highlights all the usage of that word within the document for easy finding.

Interacting with the data

Voyant allows users to group words into defined categories. The default categories are “positive,” which is all the words that possess positive connotations (enjoy, confidence, superior), and “negative,” which is words that possess negative connotations (depression, suffer, sad). By clicking the “define options for this tool” switch at the top righthand corner of the Cirrus, users can edit the words they deem most important and define new categories and parameters for their text (see below).

There is also an option in the top right-hand corner to click “Features” where you can choose a colour for each category. Once everything is saved, the word cloud should change from its original, random color (see the second picture on this post), to a word cloud categorized by defined colours (see below). For reference, I made “positive” words red, “negative” words blue, “uncategorized” words tan, “people” words purple, and “city” words green.

Tools

There is no shortage of possibilities with Voyant as the browser-based tool offers multiple analytical options that range from simple word association to intricate spider webs of interlinked, repeated themes. To change the display to one of the 27 other options, there is a symbol that looks like the Microsoft logo in the upper right-hand corner by the “Options” switch that I discussed earlier.

A summary of the corpus in its entirety featuring average words, readability, vocab density, and length by document; as well as distinctive words that were prominent in their given chapter, but not the corpus as a whole.
“Terms Berry” associates a word with the frequency of contextual phrases.
“Dreamscape” where, if a user hovers over a dot, they can see where the location / associated word appears in the text and why it was placed at that specific spot on the map.
“Links” takes highly repeated words and displays how they are attached to other highly repeated words.

Help and Support

It’s important to note the level of user assistance that Voyant offers. Their site is easy to get started with, but there is a myriad of options and features that might go overlooked without a user’s due diligence or assistance from the source. Voyant’s help page is an extremely in-depth step-by-step guide to every feature that the browser offers. There are pictures, examples, and separate categories for every feature to allow for ease of access to the help as well as a streamlined appearance.

Voyant Support

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