NEH Institute on Network Analysis for the Humanities

Powell Library, UCLA
Powell Library, UCLAScott Weingart presenting
Scott Weingart presenting

SLIS faculty members Katy Börner and John Walsh, and SLIS doctoral student Scott Weingart were presenters at a recent NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Institute titled:

Networks and Network Analysis for the Humanities:
An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities

The Institute was held August 15-27, 2010 at UCLA's Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (NSF Math Institute), Los Angeles, California. Katy Börner gave a talk on network visualizations. Katy Börner and Scott Weingart gave a workshop/tutorial "designed for humanities researchers interested in the retrieval, preparation, analysis, and visualization of social and bibliometric networks in the humanities". John Walsh spoke on "conceptual, temporal, and spatial networks in Victorian poetry and digital scholarly editions". Abstracts are included below.

Abstract - Katy Börner:
• Designing Insightful Network Visualizations

Well designed visualizations play an important role when making sense and communicating the results of network studies within and across disciplinary boundaries but also to the general public. While the visualization of static networks is supported by diverse commercial and research tools, the visualization of dynamic networks remains an open research problem. This talk presents general strategies and examples for designing insightful yet aesthetically pleasing visualizations of small, medium, and large scale networks.

Abstract Excerpts - Katy Börner and Scott Weingart:
•Preparing, Analyzing, and Visualizing Humanities Data

More and more, research in the humanities requires making use and sense of datasets that represent the structure and dynamics of complex natural and man-made systems. The analysis, navigation, and management of these large-scale, dynamically changing datasets requires a new kind of tool, a macroscope (from macro, great, and skopein, to observe).

Microscopes empowered our naked eyes to see cells, microbes, and viruses, thereby advancing the progress of biology and medicine. Telescopes opened our minds to the immensity of the cosmos and prepared mankind for the conquest of space. Macroscopes promise to help us cope with another infinite: the infinitely complex. They allow us to detect patterns, trends, and outliers, give access to details, present a ‘vision of the whole,’ and assist our ‘synthesis’ of what we observe. While most microscopes and telescopes are static physical instruments, macroscopes are continuously changing bundles of software deployed as cyberinfrastructures, Web services, or standalone tools.

This tutorial presents and demonstrates CIShell powered tools such as the Science of Science (Sci2) Tool ( and the Network Workbench (NWB) Tool ( The NWB Tools is a network analysis, modeling, and visualization toolkit for physics, biomedical, and social science research. The Sci2 Tool was specifically designed for researchers and science policy makers interested to study and understand the structure and dynamics of science…

Abstract - John Walsh:
Threads in the unseen woof thy music weaves: Visualized Networks in Nineteenth-Century Poetry

My presentation will explore visualized networks in the work of Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. One visualization is based on an analysis of shared themes and concepts throughout a slim volume of poetry, Swinburne's Songs of the Springtides (1880). A second group of visualizations explores spatial and temporal settings in Swinburne's poetry. I will discuss the development of these visualizations and ways in which they contribute to new understandings or readings of the texts. I will illustrate how the underlying data structures support the visualizations and review ongoing work to analyze and incorporate additional characteristics from the text, such as genre and verse form, and references to real and fictional people, places, events, and other literary and artistic works.

Posted September 02, 2010

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