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Last Updated: Oct 30, 2013

Bubblelines is a visualization tool that helps to understand patterns of word repetition in one or more documents. Each document is represented as a horizontal line and each seach term is represented as a bubble – the bubble represents the frequency of the term in the corresponding segment of text (the text is divided into segments of equal length).


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DocumentationAttributesUser Supplied Tags
Created: Jun 02, 2011
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2013
Background processing Not applicable
Ease of use Easy
Tool family Voyant
Type of analysis Statistical, Visualization
Type of license Free
Usage New
Web usable Run in browser
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Comments
01
February 08, 2012 06:59 AM

Bubblelines Overview

Bubblelines is a free online visualization tool that helps to understand patterns of word repetition in one or more documents. Like all Voyant tools, the web-based Bubblelines interface allows you to load your own texts for analysis. Each line in the Bubblelines interface represents one document. The lines are clearly labeled with the file name of the document. When loading multiple documents you should be aware that Bubblelines will only show results for the first ten texts by default. To see all of the texts in your corpus click the “Documents” drop down menu and check off each of the additional texts that you wish to view. You can select as many or as few of the documents as you wish, it’s easy to change your selections without reloading the whole corpus.

Selecting New Terms

When you first enter the interface the lines will display the words most frequently found in the corpus. You can remove the default terms by clicking the “clear terms” button in the top menu. You can now enter a new term in the text box. When you click enter you will see the new term appear as an underlined facet at the top of the page. You can enter as many terms as you like, and each will be added as a separate facet. When the facet is underlined it appears in the Bubblelines display. Clicking on the facets will toggle them on and off.

The first six faceted terms are assigned unique colours, so the terms can be identified at a glance. The term bubbles appear along the document line. A larger bubble indicates a term that has appeared more frequently in a given section of the document.  By default Bubblelines will divide each document into 50 separate sections, but the “Segments” slider allows a user to choose views that show anywhere between 10 and 300 segments. Mouse over a bubble to see the exact number of times that a word appeared in that segment of the document. At the end of the line you will see the total number of time all of the selected terms appeared in the document. Mouse over this number to see the total number of times that each selected term appears in the document.

Bubblelines is only one of many tools in the sophisticated Voyant text analysis environment. Clicking on a bubble will expose that term in a full suite of Voyant analysis tools that allow much more granular investigation of the document or corpus.

Caveats

You should be aware that the Bubblelines text analysis engine transforms all uppercase letters to lower case. Proper nouns must therefore be entered in lower case e.g. austen not Austen. This is a less than intuitive aspect of the software, and perhaps it will be fixed in later versions, so that romantic and Romantic could be entered as distinct terms. 

No message is returned when a term is not found in the corpus, a facet simply fails to appear. This is little confusing, as one can’t be sure whether the software is still processing, whether it failed to take the input, or whether the term is actually not present.  

I thought that it would be a useful option to be able to insert my own segment boundaries directly in the text documents, and then indicate to the software which unique character or character string was used as the delimiter. In this way a user would be able to segment a document according to month, chapter, or other divisions that might be relevant to her specific research question.

Bubblelines is an interesting and easy way to visualize the distribution of one or more terms over the length of a document, and to compare the distribution of those terms between multiple documents and document segments. This tool is particularly useful for a quick analysis of the popularity of specific themes and concepts over time in a longitudinal corpora like a news archive, a social media platform, or an email archive. Like all of the Voyant tools, the deceptively simple web-based interface makes the tool accessible to users with little previous text analysis experience. 

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