Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: March 13, 2021, 7:35 a.m. Humanist 34.274 - de laude Voyant for serious play and transliteracy

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 274.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-03-12 21:38:14+00:00
        From: <>
        Subject: Voyant and Transliteracy


The following offers a blend of promotion and perhaps a provocation.

A call out to teachers of digital humanities or those that “engage in digital
pedagogy in the humanities” asked “what are your go-to #DH tools, entry level
preferred?” [1]

In the impressive list of replies Silvia Gutiérrez has celebrated Voyant and
the Dialogica: Thinking-Through Voyant textbook for learning/teaching text
analysis.[2] What lifts this beyond mere plug is the addendum about a Spanish
tutorial for Voyant:

I feel kinda proud of using the eye candy in Voyant to introduce mathematical
notions that are important for distant reading: skewness, tf-idf, relative
frequency, density [4]

This is a fine model of pride in one’s accomplishments and valuing the work. It
is also good example of the paths to skill which the astute pedagogue embeds in
their practice.

There are other champions of Voyant suite of tools that I could cite. But it is
Silvia Gutiérrez’s seductive notion eye candy in the service of intellectual
development that grabs my attention.

I am led to wonder how this implicitly multi-sensorial orientation to learning
and learning environments resonates with what librarians have called
“transliteracy” :

The essential idea here is that transliteracy is concerned with mapping meaning
across different media and not with developing particular literacies about
various media. It is not about learning text literacy and visual literacy and
digital literacy in isolation from one another but about the interaction among
all these literacies. [5]

I venture a little beyond the pedagogical to ask what kind of histories of
computing in the humanities arise from an accent on the interrelation of the
textual, visual and digital modes of scholarly communication across various
audiences and times.

[1] Dr. Pam Lach
<> (March 8, 2021)
<> (March 9, 2021)
[3] Análisis de corpus con Voyant Tools
<> (March 9, 2021)
<> (2010)

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
François Lachance
Wannabe Professor of Theoretical and Applied Rhetoric

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

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