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Voyeur

Contents

Introduction

Voyant (formerly Voyeur) is currently a beta release by Stéfan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell. Voyeur is the next generation in a series of text analysis tools that include HyperPo and Taporware. It provides tables and graphs related to word use across a single document or a collection. Voyeur adds, among other things, the ability to handle much larger files than the previous tools could.

Ingredients

  • A URL or some text.

==Basic Steps==

  1. Go to http://voyant-tools.org/
  2. Provide a URL or paste in some text.
  3. Explore the various options for viewing the text analysis results.
    • For example, read the text in the "Summary" box, and click on interesting links.
    • Click on the "gear" button at the top of the box and choose the Taporware stop word list from the dropdown menu, and then click "OK." Note how common words disappear from the results.
    • You might also try clicking on a word in the Cirrus word cloud in the upper left. Then click on a point in the graph that appears under "Word Trends" on the right.
    • Also note that clicking on the title bars for "Words in Documents" and "Words in the Entire Corpus" reveals new tools.
    • Try the suggested activities below if you are looking for ideas on specific tasks to accomplish.
  4. Note that the column headers have explanatory rollover text, and there are also help icons scattered around the interface.

===Example===

http://voyeur.hermeneuti.ca/?corpus=humanist shows a collection consisting of the entire archive of the Humanist list. It takes only a few clicks of the mouse to see, for instance, that the word “information” saw a peak usage in 1998/9 and that this peak corresponds to a similar one for the word “humanities.”

Screencasts

There is a screencast explaining how to load texts here: http://hermeneuti.ca/sites/default/files/loading.mov

Another screencast explains some of the features available: http://hermeneuti.ca/sites/default/files/tools-overview.mov

Suggested Activities

  1. From the start page, click “Open.” Select “Shakespeare’s Plays (Moby)” from the dropdown menu and click “OK.” Wait for the system to load the corpus.
  2. Try to find the most common words in a particular play. Exclude stop words and try this again.
  3. Try to find occurrences of the most common words in the corpus as a whole. Exclude stop words and try this again.
  4. In what play does the word “lovers” appear most frequently? Do you notice anything interesting about the frequency of the word “lovers” over the course of Shakespeare’s plays?
  5. Try to display the word “lovers” as a keyword-in-context list of occurrences from a particular play.
  6. Return to the search screen and enter a URL of interest to you, a series of URLs, or some text. Explore the results.

==Discussion==

It is important to remember that this is a beta release, which means that there will be bugs. Don’t trust everything you see without stopping to consider that it might be a mistake of some kind. As Stéfan says, “expect the unexpected.”

Desciption

A document describing Cirrus, the word-cloud tool in the upper-left of Voyeur, is available here: http://entry.tapor.ca/?id=8

Who has worked on creating it

Voyeur is the product of Stéfan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell.

Where to read about it

No papers have been published at this point, although the journal Literary and Linguistic Computing has published many articles that show the kind of work that is possible with a tool like Voyeur. Here is one example:

Fink, Peter. “The Evolution of Order in the Chapter Lengths of Trollope's Novels.” Literary & Linguistic Computing (21:3) Sep 2006, 275-282.


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