I can now say that I have spent a considerable amount of time on WordSeer, and am (finally) beginning to get the hang of it. Although I will stand by my first postÂ and once again state that WordSeer is a simple-to-use tool, it also has its challenges. The main issue that our group has noted is we cannot seem to isolate a single scene within Hamlet, and therefore have had problems when comparing 3.4 to the rest of the play. This has especially presented us with the challenge of integrating 3.4 into our presentation. If there is a simple explanation for this problemâ€”which I am sure there isâ€”I would be forever grateful!
Another feature I have just discovered (although why it took me so longâ€”since this is a word analyzing toolâ€”is a mystery to me), is Read and Annotate. It allows the users to read, highlight, and take notes, within any piece of writing on the site. Some may say, â€œWhy not just use the actual book?â€ Well, for me, the answer is simple: my handwriting is terrible, and I often spend more time decoding my own words than I take to read the entire play. The Read and Annotate keeps a neat and organized collection of your notes, while allowing you to compare other works at the same time.
Another feature that was just discoveredâ€”many thanks to Richelleâ€”is the Newspaper button. This allows you to search a word, hit Newspaper, and have the word appear on the a Heat Map. Super convienant!
These are just a few of the newly discovered aspects of WordSeer, since collaborating as a group and beginning our final presentation. One thing that has been talked about during our group meetings has been the question: Is WordSeer more a qualitative or quantitative tool? After a lengthy discussion on the topicâ€”and a few awkward silencesâ€”we came to the conclusion that it involves both aspects. Searching for words and being presented with a list of results is a helpful quantitative tool. We can easily compare word frequencies within Hamlet and compare it to other plays written by Shakespeare. In contrast, WordSeer is also qualitative when receiving results and choosing which words are of importance within the scene. I think this is what makes WordSeer so unique; it provides multiple questions and observations that assist the users in creating hypothesis.
With all of the challenges I have encountered and hours that have been spent on WordSeer, I will say this: I am extremely happy that the entire corpus of Shakespeare is readily available for use, making it all the more faster when searching within a text. For this reason WordSeer is a great tool for future use, especially other Shakespeare courses. Thanks Aditi Muralidharan!
This has been a long weekâ€”with many early morningsâ€”but overall I would say the results have been worth it. I have learned so much about WordSeers capabilities and how the tool works. However, my findings have not just been limited to WordSeer, but reading other classmates posts and comments, I have begun to understand more about text analysis tools and the Digital Humanities in general. I am looking forward to the presentations!