This was my first experience using a text analysis tool. Overall, I think Voyant seems to be a great tool to use for text analysis for a variety of reasons. First, it is available online and its graphs can be pulled up through URL’s. This tool is also great because of the multiple forms of text analysis it provides.
On the Voyant main screen (once you’ve uploaded your documents) you’ll find five different screens, each with a different purpose. Cirrus shows a word cloud of the most widely used words in the documents. By using the Reader screen, you can read through some of the documents and spot specific terms in each. Trends puts this data into graph form, which can be manipulated to plot the data in multiple ways. There is also a section which shows the most distinctive words from each document, under the heading “Summary.” Finally, you can pick a word to examine and see the words that come immediately before and after the chosen word – this is the screen called Contexts.
This program allows for one to produce fascinating insights on word usage and correlations for humanities research. There are some issues with this program, however. The web format of Volant seems to be very glitchy. I had to start over numerous times because it would not show a particular graph or the program would get stuck. This was fairly frustrating to deal with so hopefully these issues could be fixed as the program gets updated.
Figure 1: Screenshot of main page in Voyant.