My introduction to Digital Humanities has improved upon my past experiences and coursework such as Clio II: Computational History with Dr. Lincoln Mullen at George Mason University. Throughout “Introduction to Digital Public Humanities I have been introduced to Various digital humanities software to learn more about the work of digital humanities researchers and scholars. The past several weeks have given me a better understanding of Voyant, Kepeler.gl, and Palladio through working with the WPA Slave Narratives through the Library of Congress. The above Digital Humanities tools offer new analysis and interpretation to the WPA Slave Narratives. Voyant analyzes text to find patterns with plain text files to create visualizations from your corpus. Kepler.gl is designed for mapping data such as the histories of the National Mall and Digitizing Harlem. I utilized the WPA Slave Narratives again to map where interviews were conducted. Kepler.gl allows the user to create interactive maps from a dataset similar to the layout of google maps. Kepler.gl utilizes spatial data from a geographic dataset to create a new visualization. Palladio subsequently focuses on connections within a dataset and how data compares and contrasts through network analysis and nodes and edges. Data can be uploaded to Palladio from a CSV file similar to Kepler.gl and the user can set their own parameters for the data before they create the network visualization.
When comparing the visualizations it is helpful to ask the question of “Does comparing what the tools reveal about the narratives highlight anything else about what you can discover using them?”
Voyant is the most user friendly through its easy to use interface and options to upload a corpus through a plain text file, PDF, or a word document. The most important step before you begin to evaluate your visualization with Voyant is to eliminate stop words and create a dictionary of stop words through google docs. Voyant allows for an in-depth word visualization with minimal preparation. It does not recognize CSV files but recognizes PDF and plain text. I recommend using plain text files with voyant just to make it easy on yourself.
Kepler.gl and Palladio require more patience and trial and error than Voyant because of the various options you can click to make your final visualization more informative and interactive. Kepler.gl requires data to be uploaded as a CSV file before it creates a geospatial map. Kepler.gl does not recognize cities or states and only recognizes latitude and longitude to create a map. The latitude and longitude should be located within the uploaded CSV file unless you have access to a specific location on a map. Kepler.gl requires more trial and error than Voyant because it requires more information from the CSV file. Please refer to my review of Kepler.gl for a more in-depth analysis. Kepler.gl allows you to obtain a detailed map from the data through options such as heatmap and time. Palladio requires similar trial and error to create network visualizations. Palladio requires the user to format different options to produce a visualization and subsequent analysis.
Comparing the DH software reveals different aspects of the WPA Slave Narratives. reveals more about the content of the interviews such as what states focused on addressing and discussing different topics. Kepler.gl reveals more about where interviews were conducted such as in a field or a house. Palladio reveals more about connections between individuals and groups such as topics discussed, people interviewed, and the gender of interviewees. Please refer to my previous reviews of the three Digital Humanities tools for additional information on individual open-source software.
The Digital Humanities tools can be used to complement each other through what they reveal about the WPA Slave Narratives. Kepler.gl and Palladio can be used simultaneously within two separate web pages to compare visualizations between networks and mapping while Voyant can be combined with the results to identify if certain questions or topics were asked or answered in different locations or states. The three tools allow for a separate analysis of text through voyant, mapping through kepler.gl, and connections through Palladio. You can use the three tools simultaneously to create a more vivid analysis of the WPA Slave Narratives as well as obtain a new perspective using the narratives to ask new questions and consider new interpretations.