I’m not very good at keeping a secret, especially when I have draft after draft of Skittles-colored networks to show off, but I tried my best this time to keep this process under my hat until I had something to show off. The video below is, hopefully, the beginning of a series of scripted traversals, layouts and transformations of a variety of digital humanities networks that I’ve been lucky enough to have a chance to work on. If all goes according to plan, each of these small snippets will be expanded upon with more in-depth analysis and representation of the networks shown, accompanied by a narration by the scholar or scholars who have used them in their research. Much of this is simply watching a network organize itself according to the force-directed algorithms so popular in network visualization, an activity that has proven both viscerally and intellectually exciting to a variety of audiences. Visualizing the changes in topology and the representation of various metrics, along with isolating sections of these networks for closer examination, will come in later, longer, more-focused videos.
As far as the technical details go, these network animations were built using the Gephi Toolkit, a Java library making the various analytical and visualization capabilities of that excellent network tool available for scripting.
Over the next few days I’ll be uploading the longer versions of each of the clips that made up this video, along with a couple new ones that utilized some features of the toolkit that I’m only just now starting to figure out.