Voyant is a text analysis tool that allows the user to bring in a large number of text documents and manipulate the content in order to gain a better understanding of the material. There are two things that Voyant creates – a word map and graphs. Word maps are a collection of words in a cluster, with the more common words sized larger than less common words. Graphs will allow the user to plot the usage of specific words throughout the sources entered into the site. Both of these method allow the reader to gain insight into word usage within the texts. Word maps and graphs can be exported at any time, and users are given the option to save them as a URL, HTML page, or static image.
After uploading text documents, Voyant will immediately populate a word map in the top left. It will include all words in the document, so one key step is needed in order to gain the most knowledge from the map. The this step is to eliminate common words such as ‘and’, ‘the’, etc. This is done under the ‘Stop Words’ tool in the summary window. Clicking on the gear will bring up the tool. There are pre-built lists that users can use, and can input their own additional words if needed. Once this is completed, the word map should update without those words.
In order to create a graph, users can click on words either in the word map or in the summary box directly below it. The window titled ‘Words in Entire Corpus’ allows users to check multiple words, which will then appear in the graph in the top left of the screen. If more than one text document has been uploaded, it is possible to use the words that appear within more than one document. Clicking through the various documents in the ‘Keywords in Context’ window in the bottom right will allow the user to choose which documents Voyant will search. This is helpful for comparing the use of these specific words. The graphs allow the user to show the usage of specific words over time, allowing for analysis of changing trends within the selected documents.