Two DH Tools

Through the many tools that we have seen and learned about in class, Voyant is of a particular relevancy to the Beyond Bow Ties project and standing alone, a powerful tool. It takes either the link to a text document/PDF file or the input of the entire text itself, analyzes the entire content of the text, and finds the major themes and ideas to the text in question. This is penetrating to the arguments in the text in that if it is correctly used with necessary stop words, Voyant will “see through” the text by showing these ideas that have propelled the construction of the book or text. However, Voyant does sometimes get caught up in the transitional and conjunction words. Voyant has foreseen this problem and included the ability to apply a filter known as “stop words”. Adding a list of these words to Voyant’s filter, one can overcome the issue and see the dominating themes of the text. A useful tool that Voyant offers is depicting these themes in different forms such as a graph, word bubble, or a word fountain. These encourage the better understanding of the ideas behind the text. While Voyant is applicable to most PDFs and raw text, it must receive a searchable set of text as input. If it has not been through OCR, Voyant will spit out an error. Voyant is applicable to Beyond Bow Ties because the many letters that were sent by alumni to President Wilson can be inputted, showing their underlying themes and thus, the dominant reasons for or against Washington and Lee becoming a co-educated institute.

An interesting tool I found by searching through DiRT is Visualeyes. Visualeyes is a unique tool, which serves to combine a chronological event with a timeline, picture, and commentary. The dominant benefit to using this tool is its presentation of an idea in an understandable and intuitive form. One is enabled to see visual context of the confronted idea and the relationship of the idea to others within a span of time. Its downfall is constructing a complete presentation with Visualeyes will take time, given the many letters and their varying locations as well as the need to place them within a chronological context. If it becomes feasible, Beyond Bow Ties would be able to construct a presentation by taking all of the letters sent to President Wilson from alumni and mapping their location on the United States. Since these letters are dated, it would also be interesting to put them within the context of a timeline to see the haste with which these letters were sent as the co-education decision neared the university.