What is network analysis?
Network analysis surveys the relationship between different entities, such as collaboration between researchers, interactions between genes, or communications between a people in a company. It can be utilized for a variety of purposes, from simply studying the structure of a community to solving complex math and engineering problems through graph theory. Along with this, network analysis can also examine the relationships between publications based on authorship, citations, standard terms, the spread of information, and even memes!
A network is simply several points (or ‘nodes’) that are connected by links. Generally, in social network analysis, the nodes are people, and the links are any social connection between them – for example, friendship, marital/family ties, or financial ties.
Types of networks: (Halgin & Dejordy 2008)
Network visualization is the visual component of network analysis. There is a wide range of network visualization to choose from depending on the kind of data you have available or what types of relationships you want to see and show.
The network analysis process requires:
You can analyze the collected or existing data by using a network visualization tool.
Chen C., Song M. 2017. Science Mapping Tools and Applications. In: Representing Scientific Knowledge. Springer. Available at https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-62543-0_3#Sec24.
“Social Network Analysis: An Introduction.” Social Network Analysis: An Introduction by Orgnet, LLC. Accessed January 2, 2020. http://www.orgnet.com/sna.html.
Manuel Lima's Visual Complexity: Lots of examples here, based on Lima's Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge (2013) and Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information (2011).
Albert-László Barabási's Network Science (2015). A textbook companion with explanations, examples and tools.
Star Trek Viz: An example of a social network interface based on the fictional Star Trek series and films.
Music Map: An interactive tree graph of the relationships between music genres.
Kindred Britain: Stanford project showing kinship connections between people in British history.
Black Shoals Project: A 'planetarium' that turns companies, their stock prices and relationships into a starry sky visualization.
Edward Tufte: The doyen of data visualization's website. He is famous for his trilogy of books including "Envisioning Information."
"Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art" by Alain Badiou: Begins with a discussion of Mark Lombardi's work on visualizing covert networks and a high quality image of a network he drew multiple times between 1979 and 1999.
Hans Haacke: 1971 artwork "Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971" showing Manhattan real estate in relation to developers as a system.
Ed Ruscha, "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" (1966): An example of archival art, attempting to capture the street at a moment in time.
Charles and Ray Eames, "Powers of Ten" (1977): A short film using cascading images to show the relative size of the universe.
* Adapted from GSU's Guide for Data Visualization Tool
If you are assigned a multimedia/new media project for your class or are interested in learning digital tools and methods for your own personal use, schedule a consultation with the Digital Initiatives Librarian on the Digital Initiatives homepage.