Tag Archives: network

Social Citation

Hi All,

It’s so exciting to see the progress on this blog; I know so many of us are now able to do things we couldn’t at the beginning of this class, thanks in no small part to all the great workshops. My final project is largely facilitated by the Gephi workshop. In this post I want to share my process in case it’s useful to anyone, but also, crucially, ask for your help to bring it to life. In case this gets long I’ll say now that in the final two weeks of class I hope to ask the praxisers to complete the short (and fun!) exercise of mapping your favorite authors, as well as the people who helped you discover them, in a simple text file. Now into the weeds! (ps I will be more specific when I ask this in earnest).

My goal here is to make the citation process more social, to draw the connections between impactful texts/authors and the friends, partners, mentors, teachers, scholars, family etc. that helped you discover the content. I began with a basic tab delineated text file that looked like this: Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.51.01 PM

the categories here from right to left are: author, my person, relationship, location. I didn’t get too hung up on the content, just typed what came to mind for maybe 15 minutes. It took a bit of tinkering to figure out how to show this in Gephi, but eventually I got this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.54.12 PM

Sorry if this is hard to see, but this is a very messy graph. There are some interesting things going on – the connections are by relationship and location, and they create pockets. Declan Meade is off on his own to the right because he’s the only Dubliner and the only Editor I have. I tried to make this a little more cohesive by changing my data to look like this:Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.53.55 PM

So I got rid of relationship and location, I also made it a one-to-one relationship between everything, where “Me” was connected to each of my people, and each of my people were connected to the work they’d introduced me to. Then the graph changed to this:Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.17.49 PM

This sacrificed some of the nuance of place and relationship, but it gained a simplicity that I think is critical in these visualizations to make sense at a glance.

I’m not sure whether I’d like to add in relationship as a node, or maybe offer it as a hover or something. (color coordinate edges with a key linking them to relationships??) I have more playing to do, and would love feedback. But I think this project gets way more interesting when “Me” is connected to “You”. And so I wonder if folks would be willing to participate in this exercise. I think we can all safely use the three print texts assigned in this course, creating a link between everyone. I’ll finalize the model over the weekend, to have a more developed request for you, but I think the easiest thing would be for me to set up a google doc with everyone’s name on a separate page and ask you to type out the data. It’s important to the project because only YOU know these things – there’s no way to scrape this. Thanks for your consideration, and looking forward to NYPL Labs tomorrow!



Dataset Project: Testing Gephi

I found the projects on the Visual Complexity site really beautiful and interesting, and I was inspired to start playing with Gephi in anticipation of using it for my dataset project.


I’m happy I started early! I downloaded the most recent version of Gephi and went through the tutorial using the Les Miserables sample dataset with no problems. I figured since that was so easy, I’d go ahead and visualize my Facebook network, just for fun.


I used Netvizz to extract my FB data. I immediately ran into problems getting the data into a format Gephi could read. Netvizz says to ‘right click, save as’, which wasn’t actually an option. Ultimately I opened the .gdf data in the browser, cut and pasted into a an Excel file to save as a csv, and also pasted the same data into a text file and saved. The Excel csv data would load into Gephi, but the IDs and labels were all wonky, and the graph was clearly a mess with number strings as node labels. I then tried the text file, which threw up error an message and wouldn’t even open. Some amount of Googling & trial and error later, I discovered I had to change the format to UTF-8, and change the file extension from .txt to .gdf.


Once that was sorted, I had trouble displaying the data in ‘data laboratory’ view of Gephi. I eventually discovered that Macs (or maybe just my really old Mac) are not, for some reason, entirely compatible with the current version of Gephi. OK. Uninstall the current version, re-install an older version. Fortunately that solved that particular problem.


So! Eventually I was able to get the data to open properly, and the graph to start looking like it should. I used the same steps from the tutorial to create a graph of my FB network. This part was easy, as it had been with the sample dataset–just following the instructions for a really basic visualization. Beautiful.




Feeling emboldened by my problem solving and subsequent success, I started to play with a small part of my (anticipated) dataset. Several hours (and one trip to the grocery store) later, I’ve not been able to get the data into the proper format so that 1) Gephi will take it, and 2) it will display connections correctly. I can get one or the other, but not both.


This will definitely take more research & finessing, but I’m hopeful that I will be able to get it all to work. Stay tuned for the scintillating conclusion!