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Networks: Gephi (and a little bit of Palladio). @ DJWrisley #RRSI2014, UTSC, May 2014. networks theory, analysis, visualization. Network analysis – a term encompassing a wide variety of practices with applications throughout (social) scientific and digital humanistic domains

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networks gephi and a little bit of palladio

Networks: Gephi (and a little bit of Palladio)


#RRSI2014, UTSC, May 2014

networks theory analysis visualization
networks theory, analysis, visualization
  • Network analysis – a term encompassing a wide variety of practices with applications throughout (social) scientific and digital humanistic domains
  • “Network theory concerns itself with the study of graphs as a representation of either symmetric relations or, more generally, of asymmetric relations between discreteobjects.” (Wikipedia, 6 italicized words are mine—all debatable in humanist circles)
  • Network theory has its own conceptual vocabulary to express relationships between objects (e.g. betweenness, centrality, density, path length, modularity) – how can we interpret these analytical terms for humanities data?
network theory analysis visualization 2
network theory, analysis, visualization (2)
  • Social network analysis SNA looks at relationships between actors – what is the nature of interaction?
  • Latour adds objects in actor-network theory ANT – what could the relation of an actor and an object be?
  • Networks once drawn (drawn by Moretti- Network Theory, Plot Analysis), are now digitally created and manipulated
  • Powerful way of exploring multidimensional multi-scalar data (Brughmans)
@ elijahmeeks on the network
@ElijahMeeks on the network
  • "The network is not a social network or geographic network or logical network but rather a primitive object capable of and useful for the modeling and analysis of relationships between a wide variety of objects."


basic principles 1
Basic principles (1)
  • Not all study of networks is quantitative (Brughmans on Malkin, 2011), just as every mapping is not made of spatial data onto a map interface
  • Digital tools for network visualization and analysis use tabular data (quantification can be a challenge, metadata adds qualitative contours)
  • Digital tools like Gephi allow both for networks to be explored visually, and for static visuals of them to be exported. It does not allow for sharing.
  • Data visualization is a kind of “problem-posing”; we should avoid fetishizing the final visual. (McCosker/Wilke) – “diagrammatic” thinking
basic principles 2
Basic Principles (2)
  • Tabular data used by network viz platforms are of two basic sorts
    • Nodes (discrete entities in a network, and any fixed metadata about them – gender, geospatial data)
    • Edges (specific instances of relations between nodes)

NB: Gephi does generate a nodes table if it is missing (option: create missing nodes)

network visualization tools
Network visualization tools
  • Gephi (standalone)
      • Elijah Meeks
      • Non proprietary code – plug ins
  • Palladio (web-based)
  • NetXL
  • Sci²
      • Scott Weingart
      • Indiana MOOC on visualization
  • Points of comparison: performance, usability, filter, formats of data ownership, data portability, cost
example 1
Example 1

NB: Examples Increase in Scale

One textRamon Llull, Book of the Lover and the Beloved (late 13th)
algorithmic llull
Algorithmic llull


Force Atlas

14th c medieval french (around jean de meun) – stylometric analysis of 70+ textsJ Richards (Wuppertal – Germany)
stylometric data sample
Stylometric data sample
  • Open file RRSI stylo experiment
250+ Texts of medieval french – test case for power of stylometry given dialectal difference (@DJWrisley and J Richards)
  • Parts of gephi interface
  • Visualizing the network using the same file
a brief comparison
A Brief Comparison -



  • standalone
  • open source
  • Established large user community = many plug-ins
  • Takes a while to learn
  • Science/humanities use
  • Not easy to share without giving away data
  • Network statistics
  • web-based
  • free
  • Relatively new
  • Learning curve low
  • Specifically for the humanities
  • simple to deal with data multi-dimensionality
  • Data is not kept
  • “without any barriers”
palladio example space in literature
Palladio example – Space in Literature
  • Live Example using file “distorted VMP data”