If you are looking to do in-depth textual analysis, Voyant Tools offers a great web-based text reading and analysis environment. Though the site appears simple, uploading a text reveals a much more complex interface that can be difficult to parse at first glance.

 Fig 1. Voyant home screen.

Fig 1. Voyant home screen.

Fig. 2. Voyant interior.

Fig. 2. Voyant interior.

Companion site Voyant Tools Documentation offers a fantastic, step-by-step exploration of the Voyant tools’ potential uses.

After reading through their “Getting Started” introduction, you may want to explore what we consider to be the most useful instructions for beginners. These can be found under the “Interface” drop-down menu, titled “Loading Texts into Voyant” and “Stopword Lists”.


Loading Texts into Voyant: This page provides a detailed explanation of the acceptable forms of data that can be uploaded into Voyant Tools, ranging from explanations of how to upload files from your computer to how to use existing online links. These instructions represent a “step one” of massaging your data for interpretation/visualization.

Stopword Lists: A second necessary step in preparing your data is editting out “stop words,” i.e. words superflous to your analysis. Here you will find both instructions for accessing Voyant Tools’ existing stopword list in varying languages, as well as instructions for customizing your own list.

With your data set for use, you’re ready to explore Voyant’s various tools. Click “Tools Index” (ignoring its drop down menu, for now) for a general overview of the tools available. This will allow you to pull out what might be relevant to your research, for instance, if you are seeking to visualize a specific word’s frequency, you might want to use Voyant’s “Term Frequency Chart”. For more distanced readings of a text, use “Lava” or “Corpus Summary”. Once you have located a tool that seems relevant to your research, either click through to the site’s text-based instructions, or go to its “Screencast Tutorials,” a collection of videos that more explicitly direct you in your use of Voyant’s tools.

Web-based text reading and analysis environment Voyant Tools
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