From my experience with learning how to use all of these digital humanities tools in Ullyotâ€™s workshops, I found WordHoard to be one of the most straight-forward options. It has a simple interface and no extra flashy features.Â While trying to come up with some sort of clever anecdote to start this blog post off with, I decided to take myself back to the actual WordHoard website to find more information about the tool.Â One thing the site mentioned was what â€œWordHoardâ€ actually means.Â It turns out that the tool is named after an Old English phrase for â€œunlockedâ€.Â I thought this was an extremely fitting name for the tool seeing as it almost feels like an intricate maze that needs the correct key to â€œunlockâ€ answers in order to use it effectively.Â Knowing how to correctly submit queries is like the â€œkeyâ€ to the treasure.Â Â Without the right knowledge of how to operate the tool, WordHoard can seem like a mysterious abyss filled with unreachable answers.
If you have a specific idea for something you want to find, Word Hoard allows you to fill in all of the criteria and run a search through any body of Shakespeareâ€™s work (or the work of Chaucer, Spenser, and Early Greek Epic) to find an answer. This is a great asset to the tool because you have every text in its entirety right there in front of you to use if you need, without having to import any texts of your own.Â All of the textual data stored in WordHoard is deeply tagged, allowing for people to explore their queries thoroughly. But the searches unfortunately donâ€™t always come up with good results, and sometimes you end up with no results at all. You have to play around with the criteria until you can find something close to what you were looking for, and this can be limiting for the user if they cannot figure out how to properly enter their query. Â Â The annoying thing about fiddling around with the query is that you have to restart every single time; you canâ€™t just edit one part of it. For example, I tried to search for the amount of times Hamlet spoke about â€œloveâ€ in Act 3 Scene 4.Â I wanted to see the amount of times he used it as a noun versus a verb.Â So I entered the first query to look like this, selected â€œnounâ€ first:
But my original search window disappears as soon as I click the â€œFindâ€ button to give me the results, pictured below:
So in order to go back and see how many times Hamlet spoke of love as a verb in Act 3 Scene 4, Iâ€™d have to fill out the entire query again but this time selecting â€œverbâ€.Â This tends to be very inconvenient if youâ€™re trying to find answers quickly.
The interface of WordHoard includes a lot of drop down menus, which can lead you to exactly what you are looking for in a text query.Â The one issue I find with the drop down menus is that there are just too many of them.Â If I didnâ€™t click on a certain menu, then I wouldnâ€™t be led to numerous other options branching off of that one.Â This is where the â€œmysterious abyssâ€ description comes into play.Â There are just so many ways to submit a query on WordHoard that it is difficult to know which ones to use and how to find them amongst the other options.Â See the image below for an example of the numerous options WordHoard offers.Â One can continuously click the â€œ+/-â€œ buttons on the left hand side of the window and bring up more and more options, all of which have their own drop down menus to select from.Â This can be very overwhelming for users to grasp if they are not already knowledgeable with the tool.
As you can see in the image above, the â€œFind Wordsâ€ function allows you to submit a query on any word in Shakespeareâ€™s texts.Â You can select everything from the lemma down to the parts of speech, spelling, major word class, which specific work, the part of a specific work, author, publication year, narration or speech, speaker, speaker gender, prose or verse, or speaker mortality.
All in all, WordHoard has a lot of potential to be a very useful and effective tool when studying something such as Hamlet.Â This important thing to remember about the tool is that you need to have a really good feel for its numerous menus and options so that you can effectively find the best answers possible for the queries you submit.Â Otherwise, you will be wasting time restarting your query every time you want to fix one part of your search, which could prove to be a little frustrating!Â In my opinion, itâ€™s practice makes perfect with WordHoard.Â The more you use it, the better results you will receive.