Friday, April 1, 2016

Project Update and Voyant Tools (Internship Week 11)

For the past few weeks we’ve looked at the DPLA and all of its opportunities. This week, I wanted to give you an update on the project and introduce you to a new digital tool.

Project Update

Sine my scrapbook (years 1978-1979) has the metatdata and scans completed, now all that’s left to do for this scrapbook is go back through and make sure that there is a metadata entry for each scan. When I was scanning, sometimes I had to scan the front and back of, say a photograph, but since the metatdata page only had info for the front of the photograph, I will need to go back and add a metatdata category for the back of the photograph. But, since I can do this at home, I spent this week beginning to scan the 1913-1962 scrapbook. This was actually kinda cool. Sometimes it seemed silly scanning photographs from the late 70s for my book; so, being able to scan photographs that were over 100 years old was really neat! Here’s a picture of one photograph I scanned:

The First Sanctuary

Yet, as fun as it was, I had my first bump in the road with the scanning this week. As I was scanning, the computer told me that the disk space was full. As soon as it notified me of that, I went to transfer my scanned items from the desktop to the external hard drive. Unfortunately, when I transferred the scans, only some scans transferred. The good news is that it was maybe only an hour and a half of work. The bad news is, I’m not sure why it happened. From here on out I’ll be saving my scans directly to the hard drive to make sure that no images get lost while transferring files from the desk top to the hard drive.

Voyant Word Tools

In my digital history class, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and experiment with a unique tool – Voyant word tools. Voyant word tools allows you to copy and paste text (or insert a url) for the program to analyze. Once you submit the text, Voyant creates a word cloud that shows the most frequently cited words. The more a word is mentioned, the larger it is in the cloud. In addition to creating a visual word cloud image, Voyant allows you to see how the words are used in context, allows you to remove stoppage words (ex: the, and), and tells you how many times each word is mentioned.

So, after experimenting with Voyant in my digital history class, I realized… why not use it for my internship as well!? I mean, I have transcribed almost 90% of the scrapbook. The metadata contains the most important words and just leaves out various lists of names or dates. So, I decided to copy and paste all 185 metadata entries of text into the Voyant Word Tools program!

And.... T A D A! 
Here’s my results:

Looking at the word cloud, you'll see the most frequently cited words are....

Church - 116 times
Sunday - 64 times
Baptist - 43 times
Day - 36 times
Family - 32
Pastor - 30
Year - 26
Years - 25

Considering these words, it didn't surprise me to see words like church, Sunday, and baptist appear often. What did surprise me, however, was to see words like year/years appear so frequently. Looking at the context of the way the word year/years are used, it becomes evident that the scrapbook frequently talks about its history. For example, the metadata records entries like "7 year anniversary." While this is only one scrapbook out of the entire collection, the word cloud analysis leads me to believe that the church values remembering its history. And as a historian in training, I found that to pretty cool!

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