This lab was challenging for me, but through trial and error, I completed it. First I need to apologize to Dr. Thomas for my oversized folder because I believe I duplicated all of my souvenirs to make sure I did not lose any. So sorry.
I found myself having to step away for a bit and then dive back into the assignment at hand. Sometimes I would see little errors if I returned later. I realized after some of the commands that they worked in different ways or I had to simply adjust the code slightly to make it work. In the practice exercises 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4, I definitely had to consult the solutions for guidance. I tried over and over with most of the exercises, many of which I am sure are not correct. Through manipulation of the code, in certain attempts, it would actually follow through and go my way. For my graph of top ten in Sense, I somehow managed to print a graph with a curved incline but no data or words at the bottom. I kept getting error messages throughout but after several tries, I usually succeeded in one way or another. I am satisfied that I completed the work—the back and forth through trial and error because I feel like the exposure to such an exercise was educational and enlightening. Although there is no doubt, text analysis and/or coding is a daunting task.
I can see the benefits for being able to plot reoccurring words or the top ten to compare texts—one of which being a faster method if you know what you are doing. Close reading can perform similar tasks but nowhere near the seemingly boundless acts possible with text and coding. And with close reading, comes close note-taking—which is nearly automatic when you can program the computer to search for certain terms or frequencies in an actual text. I was completely baffled by the last exercise in #3 and could not get my beginning steps to evolve into anything productive. That was my breaking point. I looked through and read through section 4 but did not overexert myself, of which Dr. Thomas is probably grateful because I would have no doubt harassed her with emails.
That said, I truly appreciate the experience of working with text analysis and code. Although a challenge, I can appreciate where our computing in humanities has the power to take us. Through the world of computing, we can access, manipulate and gather much information from the texts available. It can certainly be a beneficial tool for future humanities majors and quite possibly, English/Literature classes, which will likely have a better base knowledge in technology. In other words, we can accommodate this part of humanities to better prepare users of this data.