To begin writing blog posts I was extremely nervous. What if I wrote something unintelligent? First of all, the whole world would have access to it, and the thought that the whole class and not just the professor would read it really had me sweating! It doesnâ€™t help that Iâ€™m completely technologically challenged either, and prefer to do things the old fashioned way such as writing my notes with a pen and paper (gasp!). But despite this, one thing I realized as I tried to be enthusiastic about this whole other world to me was that it makes things so much easier! Less time, looks cleaner and more polished, and way more people can see other things that you post even if itâ€™s not school related (scary at first, but kind of cool now). Imagine getting my stuff published and recognized by a much larger audience…this would be the way to do it! The only problem about this supposedly easier method is that if you donâ€™t know how to do squat on the computer, its way harder before it gets any easier.
So my goal was to get used to using this method, so that soon enough I could do this with my eyes closed (so I hope at least). It drove me absolutely crazy when my browser wouldnâ€™t load, or that my laptop came up with blank pages. Why wasnâ€™t this working as smoothly as I hoped? The funny thing is, this was no longer an individual thing I did on my own (besides my group members), it became a family affair. The amount of times I got my poor father to fix the wi-fi, pleaded with him to call SHAW, and even after all that the browser was still slow… I cried saying that my laptop is crap and that this was his fault because he made me get a PC when I insisted I wanted a Mac.
Funny business aside,
After watching the video tutorials on WordSeer and trying as many different things as I could, I discovered some really cool things. Obviously, I had learnt about some of the benefits of WordSeer from the class workshop, but it was different when I started to play with it on my own. It just â€œclickedâ€ and finally the light bulb lit up. Unfortunately this didnâ€™t happen before I started the whole incident with my father…sorry dad!
The good news is, after my dad sat me downÂ and made me explain the whole point of the digital humanities and why this mattered so much (I asked the same thing at the beginning of the semester), he seemed really impressed! My dad lives on his computer and does all that hard math excel stuff. He didnâ€™t know that an English major could use so much technology to further enhance her â€œfield.â€ So all in all, it started off bad and frustrating, but turned out to be really valuable and my dad gave me the â€œnodâ€ of approval! Note to self- dad associates technology with importance, good to know. And I no longer have to be associated as that child whoâ€™s useless because she isnâ€™t becoming a dentist.
I must admit that I was really relieved that I was doing WordSeer. It seemed like the least complicated next to Wordhoard during the workshops, and after playing around with itÂ (when the browser was working) I realized how creative and so easy to use it was. I was impressed by the high quality of imagery and being a visual person it was easier to comprehend. I am still on the process of working on how to do snippets, but the gist of the program such as making collections andÂ seeing theÂ comparisons with Shakespeareâ€™s other works to Hamlet makes it easier to identify the themes and significance of certain words. I liked the fact that with WordSeer the results can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. For example, you are able to just get words from one scene of one play, or compare words from all the plays from a certain genre such as tragedy, plu more! This is a great tool for initial research and after doing the writing skills exercise in class, it dawned on me that this is an awesome place to start studying neologisms and etymologies of each word (an assignment I had to do for my Shakespeareâ€™s class).
As for specific findings on Hamlet act 3, scene 4- I havenâ€™t gone too much into this as I was spending much of my time navigating through the program. However, I am quite excited to discover whatever WordSeer will offer me now that I have some confidence in using the program (and the computer). In my next blog post I plan to focus onÂ my findings from this scene and elaborate more specifically on all the benefits of WordSeer.