Google Doc. God Send

Margaret Meade Said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Obviously she was referring to Digital Humanities! The Second Phase of this project has brought together five “experts” with a common goal: Act one Hamlet…and world domination.






But seriously, through my research of Act 1 Hamlet, I have come across some interesting results.  As mentioned in a previous post of mine, we (my group) decided to focus on
character development and foreshadow in Act 1.  From there we divided up the characters we viewed to be the most significant.  Through my own research of Horatio’s role in Hamlet (exclusively using Wordseer), I came up with some interesting results.  However my findings were only compounded and made even more insightful by incorporating other Digital Humanities tools in the search process. Using Wordseer, I had previously discovered that one of the words commonly used/associated with Horatio is “overlooked”. This is fascinating to me because of how quite literally, Horatio is absent throughout the middle of the play (with the exception of a few line)

Taking the discovery further, I discussed my findings and plans for future investigation with my phase two teammates (Ruby, Kate, Dayna and Amy).  We call this part of phase two “filling in the holes” When we had reached the limit of our own tools capabilities, but still had questions, we referred to each others tools in search of answers.

To accommodate this element of our research, we (or Dayna) decided to create a Google Doc. where each of us would list our tools, and their available functions.  THIS WAS AWESOME! When I hit a road block with Wordseer all I had to do was pull up the Google Doc. and scan through the other tools capabilities. From there I contacted the “expert” according to what specific search I needed.

This is where the Screen shot should
be…but I had some technical difficulties logging on…

Despite our regular and productive lab/group meetings, having the Google Doc. available 24 hours a day made any independent research easy!Up until this point in our Act 1 Hamlet project, most of the research had been onour own. Individual searches on individual characters. Easy. Moving forward to the collaborative stage of phase 2, I found the searches not only easier but much more effective! Let the filling in begin!

Intrigued by my results of Horatio and the word “overlooked” I decided I had to pursue this idea further. After checking the Google Doc. I knew Monk was something I would NEVER need…sorry Kate! I did, however, notice that the tool Voyeur had some interesting searches to offer me.  After picking Ruby’s brain and forcing her (to the point of slave labor) to conduct searches for me I/we came away with some interesting visuals which reinforce my theory of Horatio’s “overlook-ed-ness” (neologism?) Anyway…check it out!


After taking a look at the shot to the left, you might understand where I am coming from. You can see that Horatio’s largest part in Act 1, then declines rapidly only to return slightly at the end. Does this look like the chart of the “last man standing”? Maybe not. Does this look like the chart of a perhaps “overlooked” character? Maybe.  With this visual, I am trying to prove that as one of, arguably, the most important character in the entire play, his actual presence is minimal.

After gathering this new information, I decided to try to look even further into this idea – look for something even more concrete. Enter TaPor….JUST KIDDING! (I could not find any use for TaPor…relevant to my search…or otherwise. Sorry Amy!) Enter WordHoard! After once again referring to the Google Doc. I knew Dayna was the one to contact next! She explained to me exactly what Wordhoard could do for me and this is the result….

This is also were the screen shot should be…but due to some techincal difficulties it is not…I will be sure to have it by Friday for the presentation!

Everyone knows that charts/graphs can sometimes be misleading in the way information is presented. Between scale(s) and the data itself, it can be difficult to determine the meaning. This is where WordHoard really came through for me! In the above shot, you can see exactly how many words Horatio uses in exactly which scenes/acts!  This is significant to my research because it is concrete and cannot be skewed by scale.

Using Wordseer, WordHoard, and Voyeur, my theory of Horatio’s absence throughout the play is verified how intentional was this choice on Shakespeare’s part? Was he trying to trick his readers/viewers? Think of the first time you read Hamlet. Were you tricked?

On Friday, March, 30, 2012, we, as the Phase 2 Act 1 group will present out individual and collective findings. As mentioned by Dayna in a previous group meeting, the difference between phase one and two is the collaborative effort. In phase one, the class attempted to analyze 3.4 Hamlet, however, could only take their research as far as their tools permitted.  In phase two, we have an expert from each tool to lean on, to cooperate with and to explore Hamlet with. With five extensive Digital Humanities tools at our fingertips, all the searches and all the answers are available to any willing person…or team!

5 thoughts on “Google Doc. God Send

  1. I remember from Phase 1 that Dayna was the google docs wizard for our group and it sure helped a lot and I can see from your blog that having all the information on each tool at your fingertips was essential for finding your results. I wish my team would have thought to do this, it would have made life so much easier! I’m really looking forward to seeing all the information and collaboration your team did on Friday.

  2. I like the way you’ve found another tool (Google Docs) to combine your knowledge and compare tools’ capabilities! I should think about making that a formal recommendation next time.

    Could you send me the link for that document? Or post it in a reply?

    • We’ve been having some technical difficulties with our google doc… Ruby created it under her g-mail account, but her account doesn’t seem to be working anymore. This makes it so none of us have access to the google doc anymore.
      DId you want us to re-create it in a new google doc?

      • No, that’s okay. I understand how these things work. But Ruby could reset her password with Google to recover the document.

  3. I really love how you have investigated Horatio in relation to ‘overlooked’ because, really, he is overlooked. I find the focus of study is always on every character other than him, even when he is the only one left alive at the end (until Fortinbras comes prancing in, of course.) I think it would be really interesting to study Horatio alone as a character and see what he really brings to the play, especially seeing as he is the only one really close to Hamlet.

    But I suppose while on the subject of ‘overlooked’, we could also bring up Rozencrantz and Guildenstern… because I haven’t the faintest idea what the pair of them are good for. Perhaps they should be studied as well with their influence compared with that of Horatio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *