Step 1: Exercise One

In this two-part exercise, you will dive straight into Voyant to get a sense of how the tool works and what the text analysis process can look like. In part one, you will learn how to copy and paste text into Voyant and see how different Voyant tools work together. In part two, you will learn how to upload a text file to Voyant and a little about preparing a text for text analysis.

Part One

1.) Copy Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech from this site. (If the site is down, search for a full version of the speech.) Make sure only to copy the speech and not other text on the webpage. (Incorporating any other text will impact the results.)

2.) Go to Voyant

3.) Paste the text into the "Add Text" box and click "Reveal":

The results should look something like this:

4.) To get a sense of how Voyant works, click on the word "freedom" in the Cirrus [A], or word cloud, then scroll through the Reader [B] and notice how the word "freedom" is highlighted throughout.

In Trends [C], notice how the line graph only shows "freedom." Now click on one of the line graph points and see how the Contexts [D] changes to show the context in which "freedom" appears throughout the speech. (It should look like the below).

Note: If you click the question mark in the upper right corner of each tool, e.g., Cirrus, you will get an explanation of that specific one.

Text analysis is more often associated with working with a large corpus (for example, all the works of a single author) or an enormous one (for example, all fiction publications from 1800-1900). In the case of a smaller corpus, a single speech being particularly small, using a text analysis tool like Voyant can facilitate close reading and is especially good for examining structure and word usage.

Part Two

1.) Download the following text file. (It's The Complete Works of Shakespeare in Project Gutenberg.) It will likely download to your download folder or desktop.

2.) Go to Voyant again to launch a new instance and upload the text file by clicking on "Upload," navigating to the downloaded file, and select it. It will automatically "reveal" and will look something like the following:

Take a minute to look the Voyant instance over. Notice words like "shall, "hath," and any special characters in the word cloud. Notice the Project Gutenberg "boilerplate text" in the Reader. In Trends, notice that the horizontal line has numbers, and notice that as you scroll down in Contexts, the name in the Document column comes from the text file name and never changes.

3.) Now take a look at this Voyant instance (also seen in the image below) that contains The Complete Works of Shakespeare as well. This time the text was prepared prior to it being uploaded.

Notice that words like "shall, "hath," and special characters are no longer in the word cloud. This is because stopwords were applied to remove them. Notice that the boilerplate text is gone. This is because it was deleted from the text file before being uploaded. In Trends, the play names can now be seen below the horizontal line, and they can also be seen in Contexts' Document column. This is because the file, which contained all of Shakespeare's plays, was cut up into individual text files, one for each play. The files were also renamed to represent the play titles. The sonnets, which were also in the text, were removed so that the instance would be solely focused on plays.

As you explore Voyant, keep in mind that it, and all text analysis tools, do not do the analysis. It provides ways into texts that enable users to come to conclusions based on their own knowledge and analytical skills.

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