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Digital Scholarship Resource Guide: Network Analysis (part 6 of 7)

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This is part six in a seven part resource guide for digital scholarship by Samantha Herron, our 2017 Junior Fellow, is is a short but useful introduction to doing network analysis with data based on collections. Part one is available here, and the full guide is available as a PDF download

Network analysis looks at relationships within a dataset. In the humanities, network analysis can look at kinship ties, social media connections, or conversations between characters in a novel. In network analysis, one looks at vertices (called ‘nodes’) connected by lines (called ‘edges’).

Examples Kindred Britain networks nearly 30,000 important figures from British culture connected by kinship, marriage, etc. Users can select two individuals and see how they are related and through who and across how much time.

Screenshot from Kindred Britain that shows the people connecting Napoleon Bonaparte to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
Screenshot from Kindred Britain that shows the people connecting Napoleon Bonaparte to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

Martin Grandjean’s network visualizations of Shakespeare’s tragedies represents each character as a node connected to each other by an edge if they appear in a scene together.

Network diagram showing the characters in Hamlet who have scenes together.

Gephi is the tool most often used for network analysis projects. It’s free, open-source, and well documented. An introduction/tutorial to Gephi by Martin Grandjean can be found here.

This blog post by Elijah Meeks introduces network analysis and representation.

Scott Weingart’s article Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II in the Journal of Digital Humanities covers some of the conceptual issues of network analysis.

For more by Elijah Meeks and Scott Weingart, here is a round-up of their posts on network analysis.


Gephi – Free, open-source graph visualization tool.

Here is an introduction to Gephi from Martin Grandjean, creator of the above Shakespeare tragedy visualizations.

Palladio – Free, web-based tool from Stanford. Copy and paste spreadsheet or upload tabular data to quickly make network graphs and geospatial maps.


Next up is the final post in the series, a roundup of digital scholarship resources to follow. 

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