In this post I will be discussing and reflecting on three digital tools I used for networks and visualization. The three digital tools I explored during this module were Voyant Tools, Kepler.gl, and Palladio. All three of these digital tools are meant to analyze and visualize data in various ways. Voyant Tools is a digital tool that is focused on text analysis.
Voyant Tools is a digital humanities project and can also be found to very useful to the general public. This project was made to examine text and creates an interactive experience with that text. Voyant has numerous tools within their project to analyze text data through topic modeling and text mining. There are a few main tools within Voyant Tools that are the most helpful, in this case I used the cirrus, trends, reader, and context tools. This project is unique to the other two DH tools with the cirrus tool. This tool allows for a user to see how many times a word has been used in a corpus of documents or a single document in a word cloud visualization. This tool is valuable in being able to get a quick snapshot of the main terms of the documents a user inserts in this digital tool. It is a visual representation of the main topics, with the ability to see how relevant a topic is in the document in relation to the other terms. I found the trends graph to be a bit difficult to work with especially when exporting the graph into another window. The reader and cirrus tools were the most useful features in Voyant Tools project.
Kepler.gl is a digital mapping tool that is very useful for those wanting to work with data and map that data. This tool can be used for those in the digital humanities field, or anyone looking to map data digitally. Kepler.gl is a powerful open source geospatial analysis tool for large-scale data sets. Kepler.gl was an easy to use software that has numerus options within the software to create different types of maps to represent the data a user inputs. This digital tool allows a user to see relationships between the data on a map. This tool allows a user to layer points on the map to see their relationships based on different options. A user can utilize the heat map, cluster, arc, and many other options for displaying the data on a map. I specifically enjoyed the filters options with Kepler.gl. I personally found the categories and time filter to be the most useful. The categories filter allows a user to create categories for the different data and plots the points. This was helpful for comparison of the data. The time filter was also a nice tool to see the span of time of the documents that I had inputted. It included the feature to have a timeline on the main map screen. This allowed me to look at my data with more options for visualization and allowed me to ask different questions about the data I could not without those filters.
Palladio is a digital tool used for network graphs that uses data-driven tools for analyzing relationships across time. The project’s goal was to understand how to design graphical interfaces based on humanistic inquiry. This digital tool has various options within the project to visualize a user’s data in an engaging and interactive manner. Palladio also has a feature to visually represent data in a map format similar to Kepler.gl. This tool allows a user to start with one data table and then add more, similar to that of Voyant Tools where a user can add one document or a whole corpus of documents for analysis. The graph tool is the most useful feature in this project. The network graph shows the relationships between the source data and the target data through visual links. There are a few extra features to help visualize your data in a clearer manner.
All three of these digital tools allow for a user to export their visual representations of their data to be able to use in their research or their own DH projects. A user can discover more about their data using these three digital tools. A user can see patterns or anti-patterns and most importantly a user can see the relationships between their data in a visualized representation. A user could use all three of these digital tools with the same data to use as complements to each other. For example, a user could start with Voyant Tools and discover which words are most prevalent in the documents and then use that to then look further at the relationship between those words in a geographical sense on Kepler.gl. A user could take that further and then look at how those common words are related in a network group using Palladio. The possibilities are truly endless with the combination of these three digital tools.