Voyant Tools is a web-based tool that just needs you to paste your text or upload a directory of files. Voyant likes to break text up into sections, mainly for the distribution graph, so if you want to control for the interval, you may want to have the chapters (or books) in different text files. Since there is nothing to download, we will go over the output.
Voyant is a simple interface that can get less simple if you are not sure what you are doing. So, as a brief description of the tool, Voyant has 5 different boxes on their page. Each box can be changed to a different visualization and each box will allow you to export said visualization in multiple formats. Each visualization is interactive inside Voyant, but once it is exported, it loses that capability. The examples on this page are just the basic png(picture) exports, but they offer web-based exports too. These examples are of the text of Mody Dick. Each section of Voyant has the export button and the button with the four blue squares is the button to change the visualization in that section.
Distribution graph of the 5 most used words in Moby Dick
This is the distribution graph of 5 different words in the text Moby Dick, which is the text that will be used for examples throughout this tutorial. The way to read this graph is to look at each different segment and it tells you the frequency of said word within that segment. This is where it may become important to try and control where a segment begins and ends. If you do not care specifically about the segments themselves, then Voyant will decide the segments for you. Although the key to tell which color is which word doesn’t export with the graph, Voyant will tell you which word corresponds with each line. So by mapping the word frequencies across the segments, this may open up some interesting findings.
Word clouds are used in more places other than text analysis, they can usually offer some nice visualizations to your research, but other than that they do not quite add much quantitative information. Yes, we can see which words are the most used, but that is the only use for word clouds. There are some websites that allow you more control over customizing the word clouds, so if you want these words in a particular shape, color scheme, and or design then search for a word cloud generator and those will allow you more control. Voyant only allows you to change the number of words that go into the word cloud.
Keywords in context shows you each time a word appears in the text, with five words preceding and following it. The export of this would be a table of each time the word is in the text. Voyant allows you to change the number of words that occur before and after a keyword; five is the default. It can be good to analyze patterns you see that come before and after certain words of interest. This is a gateway into looking at topics in the text.
The links of topics in Moby Dick
This links graph is good to show the most frequent words and words they are most likely to show up near. So it can show you almost what the words in context table can, just in a visual way.
The is the bubble line of the words ahab, head, and sea in Moby Dick
The bubble lines graph is good to show where in the text important words are being used, similarly to the trends, or word distribution, graph. Which one you choose will ultimately depend on your preference of visual, and which one is easier to interpret for your data. Simply choose the words to place on the bubble lines from the dropdown box. It will start with the most common words in the text, but you can find others by beginning to type them, and remove any of thecurrently displayed words by clicking where they appear at the top of the bubble lines graph section. As a word of caution, only one or two words should be included on each line, because the more words you add, the harder it is to see everything. If you want to compare multiple words, Voyant has an option to place them all on different lines.