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HIST 1200-103: Writing History: Spies and Spying (FWS Spring 2017): Class exercise: Text Analysis
and Visualization

This is a guide for Benedetta Carnaghi's First -Year Writing Seminar, A Life Under Cover -- Spies in History, Fiction and Cinema

Spy on your own text: in-class exercise for April 21, 2017

Bring to class:  your essay #5 on Edward Snowden -- digital, Word (not pdf), email attachment or on a flash drive.


The Voyant text analysis and visualization tool requires no knowledge of coding, yet is relatively powerful -- applications include literary scholarship and journalism, and it can handle texts in many languages.

Voyant Tools Documentation

WSU handout

Voyant Examples Gallery

Your Mission

Voyant comprises about two dozen text analysis tools such as bubble diagrams, word frequencies, cloud visualizations, and words in context.  

You'll produce a customized word cloud and reflect on this view of your own writing.  In class, we'll display all of your results, and compare and reflect on the collective set.

See more clearly

Optional background on text analysis and visualization

See Text Mining the Đại Việt Sử Ký Toàn Thư

Vintage:  listen to New York Times reporter Andy Lehren speak about working with the Wikileaks data (from the Online Journalism blog: Andy Lehren and Sarah Cohen speak at a 2011 conference on working with data from Wikileaks and on various textmining tools)

"Text Analysis and Visualization," by Geoffrey Rockwell and Stefan Sinclair, in A New Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth (2016).  Rockwell (McGill University) and Sinclair (University of Alberta) are the creators of Voyant Tools.

"Close and Distant Reading Modernism," by Jeffrey Drouin (2014 JSTOR)

Exploring Big Historical Data:  The Historian's Macroscope, by Shawn Graham and others.   Olin Library D16.117 .G73 2016

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