The networks they are a-changin’: introducing ERGM for visibility networks

July 17, 2014

legosIn my madness series of posts published a few months ago I mentioned I was looking for a method to study processes of emerging intervisibilty patterns. I can finally reveal this fancy new approach to you :) Here it is: introducing exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) for visibility networks. In previous posts I showed that when archaeologists formulate assumptions about how lines of sight affected past human behaviour, these assumptions imply a sequence of events rather than a static state. Therefore, a method is needed that allows one to test these assumed processes. Just analysing the structure of static visibility networks is not enough, we need a method that can tackle changing networks. ERGM does the trick! I just published a paper in Journal of Archaeological Science with Simon Keay and Graeme Earl that sets out the archaeological use of the method in detail. You can download the full paper on ScienceDirect, my Academia page or via my bibliography page. But in this blog post I prefer to explain the method with LEGOs :)

 

JAS

Social network analysts often use an archaeological analogy to explain the concept of an ERGM (e.g., Lusher and Robins 2013, p. 18). Past material remains are like static snapshots of dynamic processes in the past. Archaeologists explore the structure of these material residues to understand past dynamic processes. Such snapshots made up of archaeological traces are like static fragmentary cross-sections of a social process taken at a given moment. If one were to observe multiple cross-sections in sequence, changes in the structure of these fragmentary snapshots would become clear. This is exactly what an ERGM aims to do: to explore hypothetical processes that could give rise to observed network structure through the dynamic emergence of small network fragments or subnetworks (called configurations). These configurations can be considered the building blocks of networks; indeed, LEGO blocks offer a good analogy for explaining ERGMs. To give an example, a network’s topology can be compared to a LEGO castle boxed set, where a list of particular building blocks can be used to re-assemble a castle. But a LEGO castle boxed set does not assemble itself through a random process. Instead, a step by step guide needs to be followed, detailing how each block should be placed on top of the other in what order. By doing this we make certain assumptions about building blocks and their relationship to each other. We assume that in order to achieve structural integrity in our LEGO castle, a certain configuration of blocks needs to appear, and in order to make it look like a castle other configurations will preferentially appear creating ramparts, turrets, etc. ERGMs are similar: they are models that represent our assumptions of how certain network configurations affect each other, of how the presence of some ties will bring about the creation or the demise of others. This is where the real strength of ERGMs lies: the formulation and testing of assumptions about what a connection between a pair of nodes means and how it affects the evolution of the network, explicitly addressing the dynamic nature of our archaeological assumptions.

More formally, exponential random graph models are a family of statistical models originally developed for social networks (Anderson et al. 1999; Wasserman and Pattison 1996) that aim to scrutinize the dependence assumptions underpinning hypotheses of network formation by comparing the frequency of particular configurations in observed networks with their frequency in stochastic models.

The figure below is a simplified representation of the creation process of an ERGM. (1a) an empirically observed network is considered; (1b) in a simulation we assume that every arc between every pair of nodes can be either present or absent; (2) dependence assumptions are formulated about how ties emerge relative to each other (e.g. the importance of inter-visibility for communication); (3) configurations or network building blocks are selected that best represent the dependence assumptions (e.g. reciprocity and 2-path); (4) different types of models are created (e.g. a model without dependence assumptions (Bernoulli random graph model) and one with the previously selected configurations) and the frequency of all configurations in the graphs simulated by these models is determined; (5) the number of configurations in the graphs simulated by the models are compared with those in the observed network and interpreted.

JAS_Brughmans-etal_fig4

My madness series of posts and the recently published paper introduce a case study that illustrates this method. Iron Age sites in southern Spain are often located on hilltops, terraces or at the edges of plateaux, and at some of these sites there is evidence of defensive architecture. These combinations of features may indicate that settlement locations were purposefully selected for their defendable nature and the ability to visually control the surrounding landscape, or even for their inter-visibility with other urban settlements. Yet to state that these patterns might have been intentionally created, implies a sequential creation of lines of sight aimed at allowing for inter-visibility and visual control. An ERGM was created that simulates these hypotheses. The results suggest that the intentional establishment of a signalling network is unlikely, but that the purposeful creation of visually controlling settlements is better supported.

A more elaborate archaeological discussion of this case study will be published very soon in Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, so stay tuned :) Don’t hesitate to try out ERGMs for your own hypotheses, and get in touch if you are interested in this. I am really curious to see other archaeological applications of this method.

References mentioned:

Anderson, C. J., Wasserman, S., & Crouch, B. (1999). A p* primer: logit models for social networks. Social Networks, 21(1), 37–66. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(98)00012-4

Lusher, D., Koskinen, J., & Robins, G. (2013). Exponential Random Graph Models for Social Networks. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.

Lusher, D., & Robins, G. (2013). Formation of social network structure. In D. Lusher, J. Koskinen, & G. Robins (Eds.), Exponential Random Graph Models for Social Networks (pp. 16–28). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wasserman, S., & Pattison, P. (1996). Logit models and logistic regressions for social networks: I. An introduction to Markov graphs and p*. Psychometrika, 61(3), 401–425.


Archaeological and historical network analysts unite!

July 10, 2014

315px-I_Need_You_on_the_Job_Every_Day_-_NARA_-_534704Network science is becoming more commonly applied in both archaeology and history. But this is not happening without difficulties. Pioneers in both disciplines are now trying to overcome the numerous challenges that still surround their use of network techniques: how to deal with fragmentary data, performing analyses over extremely long time spans, using material data in network science to understand past human behaviour, …. I believe archaeologists and historians should face these challenges together! Through collaboration we might come to a better understanding of the use of network science in our disciplines much faster. In a recently published article in Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward, Claire Lemercier and myself show how many of the challenges that archaeologists and historians have identified are actually not discipline-specific: we CAN collaborate to tackle them together. Since this article is in French I wanted to provide an English summary of our argumentation here (written with my co-authors). The full article can be downloaded on Academia or through my bibliography page.

History

One of the key aspects of historical sources, compared to archaeological sources, is that the former often allow for the identification of past individuals, by name, and by role. This richness of data at the individual level means that network analytical methods can be very powerful in the illumination of past social networks and the details of particular places and times – offering, where the data are good enough, a window onto past social lives and interactions, and allowing the synchronic analysis of social networks at a particular moment in time.

However, the issues most commonly mentioned by historical network analysts also concern problematic and incomplete data. These issues are undeniably more significant for archaeology and history than for contemporary social sciences such as sociology. But we should not overestimate their potential impact. Even sociological research in contemporary populations face similar issues where full data may not be available for a variety of reasons, and although the problems are clearly more fundamental in history and archaeology, this also means that researchers in both disciplines have long been accustomed to dealing with, and developing methods at least partially compensating for, partial and biased datasets. As a result, this may be one important area where archaeology and history can contribute its expertise to other disciplines working with imperfect network data.

Archaeology

In contrast to history, archaeology is much less frequently furnished with such focused evidence. In archaeology, individuals are typically identified indirectly through the material remains they leave behind, and even where they can be identified, they often remain without names or specified roles.  Not only is archaeological data typically not ‘individualized’, but it can also rarely be attributed an exact date. Most archaeological data typically has date ranges with differing probabilities attached to them, making the establishment of contemporaneity between entities/potential nodes in networks (e.g. individuals; events; settlements) highly problematic. Because of this, archaeologists have tended to focus on the synchronic study of human behavioural change over the long-term, rather than on the diachronic examination of behaviour and interaction. A further characteristic of archaeological data is that it is also likely to be more strongly geographically grounded. Indeed, the geographical location of archaeological data is often among the few pieces of information archaeologists possess. Finally, network analytical methods in archaeology tend to focus most closely on long-term changes in the everyday lives of past peoples.

Common challenges in archaeology and history

Alongside these differences, there are also a number of common challenges facing archaeology and history, as ultimately both disciplines aim to achieve similar goals relating to understanding past interactions and processes.

The most significant of these common challenges are the fragmentary datasets that often characterize both disciplines; we typically deal with bad samples drawn from populations of unknown size and/or with unknown boundaries, snapshots of the past that are heavily biased by differential preservation and/or observation effects. However we argue that this does not exclude the use network techniques in our disciplines, nor does it limit us to only those research contexts for which high quality datasets are available.

A second issue facing our disciplines is that many methodological and theoretical network approaches have been developed in other disciplines to address particular research themes. As a result, they therefore function according to certain rules and/or have certain specific data requirements that might prevent straightforward applications in our disciplines.

Furthermore,  using a network approach to study a past phenomenon necessarily requires a researcher to make a series of decisions about how the parameters of that phenomenon should be represented – for example, what entities to use as nodes and what forms of relationship to model as vertices. Archaeologists and historians familiar with the analytical and visualization techniques used by researchers studying modern phenomena may find many analytical approaches and visualization techniques that are not appropriate or achievable. The past phenomena we are interested in, the kinds of questions our data allows us to ask, and the often very specific parameters of human behaviour assumed by archaeologists and historians for investigating the past, are likely to mean we will ultimately need to develop purpose-made visualization and analysis techniques. At the least we will need to acquire a critical understanding of the various methods available if we are to represent archaeological and historical network  data in appropriate ways – and indeed, to ‘read’ such visualizations and analysis results correctly.

Finally, the poor chronological control characteristic to a certain extent of historical and to a much greater extent of archaeological datasets, limits our knowledge regarding the order in which nodes and links in networks became salient and also the degree of contemporaneity between nodes. This is likely to have significant ramifications for the ways in which archaeologists and historians visualize and analyse networks, driving a need to consider ‘fuzzy’ networks, margins of error and probabilistic models, as well as the consideration of complex processes of network change and evolution over time.

Unite! Meeting the challenges together

In the recent surge of network applications in archaeology and history, it would seem that the two disciplines have thus far focused their efforts on the more obvious potential applications which mirror those most common in other disciplines, such as the identification and interpretation of ‘small-world’ network structure or the choice of datasets that are readily envisaged as or translated into network data (e.g. road and river networks). Such analyses have demonstrated the potential of the methods for archaeological and historical datasets; however, we believe that potential applications go far beyond this, and that network approaches hold a wealth of untapped potential for the study of the past. To achieve this potential, we will need to become more critical and more creative in our applications, and explore not simply what network science can offer the study of the past, but also what our disciplines offer in terms of developing that science – firstly to tackle specifically archaeological and historical questions, but ultimately to broaden the scope of the science itself as methodologies specifically developed for use in archaeological and historical contexts are taken up for use in tackling similar questions in other disciplines.

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)Initiatives like The Connected Past and Historical Network Research offer a platform that would allow for exactly this kind of interaction between network scientists and those applying network science to the study of the past. The challenges individual members were encountering in our own research across archaeology and history encouraged us to consider developing a mutually supportive space in which to share concerns and problems, and to discuss ideas and approaches for moving beyond these.

We suggest that simply bringing people together through conferences, workshops, conference sessions and more informal groupings is key to fostering the dialogue between the disciplines that is so important to move forward applications of network analysis to the study of the past. Talking to each other across traditional disciplinary boundaries is vital in the ongoing development of network perspectives on the past. However, as noted above, at the same time we also need to be more sensitive to the specific demands of our disciplinary goals and our datasets and develop new network methods that suit our disciplines better. The sociological roots of most social network analysis software packages means that these are often designed and engineered to address discipline-specific research concepts that may not be appropriate for archaeology and history. SNA software has generally been created to deal with interactions between people in a modern setting – where the individual answers to questions about interactions can be documented with a degree of accuracy. As such, this software and network methodologies in general will need to be applied with care and ideally even developed from scratch for use with networks comprised of nodes which are words, texts, places or artefacts, for the characteristically fragmentary and poorly chronologically controlled datasets of archaeology and history, and for research that aims to go beyond the structuring of individual networks of contemporary nodes to investigate questions of network evolution and change. While interdisciplinary dialogue is crucial, we will need to be sensitive to the discipline-specific idiosyncracies of our data and to critique rather than adopt wholesale practices used in other fields. In this way, rather than apologizing for the ‘deficiencies’ of our datasets in comparison with those characteristic of other disciplines, we will also be able to make novel contributions to the wider field based on the new questions and challenges the study of the past offers network science.


Connected Past London: extended call for papers deadline

June 25, 2014

TCPThe deadline for submitting papers to the most amazing The Connected Past London 2014 conference has been extended until 4 July 2014. So don’t hesitate and send in your awesome research :) There are bursaries available for presenters and delegates. More information can be found below or on the website:

The Connected Past: archaeological challenges and complexity

A one and a half day multi-disciplinary meeting to explore how concepts and techniques from network- and complexity science can be used to study archaeological data. These challenges include the use of material data as proxy evidence for past human behaviour, questions about long-term processes of social change, and the fragmentary nature of archaeological data. We aim to bring together physical scientists and archaeologists in order to highlight the challenges posed by archaeological data and research questions, and explore collaborative ways of tackling them using perspectives drawn from network and complexity science.

The meeting will take place on the afternoon of Monday 8th September and all day Tuesday 9th September at Imperial College London. A hands-on introductory workshop is planned for the morning of Monday 8th September – details to be announced.

Call for Papers. We are looking for 20 to 30 minute contributions and are inviting researchers from any relevant field to submit a one page abstract in pdf format. This should be sent to:

connectedpast2014@imperial.ac.uk

The abstract should contain the title, name of proposed speaker and names of any additional authors and their associated institutions, along with a brief abstract (200-500 words). Any additional information (figure, links, bibliography, etc.) may be included within the one page limit.

Extended submission deadline: 4th July 2014 Decisions announced: 11th July 2014

Keynote talks. The meeting will feature keynote talks by Alan Wilson, University College London, and Ulrik Brandes, University Konstanz (a further additional keynote will be announced soon). Shorter talks will be given by other invited speakers and from researchers submitting abstracts. Finally, at a later date we will issue a call for some quick fire (five minute) talks to allow researchers at all stages of their career to participate.

Registration Fee. The registration fee is £45 (£22.50 for students) as a contribution towards local expenses. This will cover lunch on the Tuesday, coffee/tea breaks plus drinks at the informal social event on the Monday evening. Registration will open in June.

Travel Bursaries. Some support is available to cover travel and other costs of UK-based researchers attending the meeting. If you wish to be considered for such support, please send a request explaining why you should be considered for a bursary to the same address as for papers with the subject “Bursary application [your name]” (connectedpast2014@imperial.ac.uk). Bursaries will be given out from 4th July 2014 onwards while funds remain.

Further Information. The meeting is organised as part of The Connected Past series of events, funded in part by EPSRC. Full details are available on the web site at

http://www.complexity.org.uk/events/conpastlondon2014/

On Twitter follow the hashtag #tcp2014

Organisers: Tim Evans (Chair), Ray Rivers, Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward.


CFP Digital Classicist Berlin

June 23, 2014
dcbTime for the next edition of Digital Classicists Berlin. The previous editions have attracted some great talks, most of which are available on the seminar’s website with slides and everything. It’s a great resource. So if you want to see your work up there, go and submit something by the 1 August deadline! Submit a talk using this form.
We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the third series of the Digital Classicist Seminar Berlin [1]. This initiative, inspired by and connected to London’s Digital Classicist Work in Progress Seminar [2], is organised in association with the German Archaeological Institute and the Excellence Cluster TOPOI. It will run during the winter term of the academic year 2014/15.
We invite submissions on any kind of research which employs digital methods, resources or technologies in an innovative way in order to enable a better or new understanding of the ancient world. We encourage contributions not only from Classics but also from the entire field of “Altertumswissenschaften”, to include the ancient world at large, such as Egypt and the Near East.
Themes may include digital editions, natural language processing, image processing and visualisation, linked data and the semantic web, open access, spatial and network analysis, serious gaming and any other digital or quantitative methods. We welcome seminar proposals addressing the application of these methods to individual projects, and particularly contributions which show how the digital component can facilitate the crossing of disciplinary boundaries and answering new research questions. Seminar content should be of interest both to classicists, ancient historians or archaeologists, as well as to information scientists and digital humanists, with an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of these fields.
Anonymised abstracts [3] of **300-500 words max.** (bibliographic references excluded) should be uploaded by **midnight (CET) on 01 August 2014** using the special submission form [4]. Although we do accept abstracts written in English as well as in German, the presentations are expected to be delivered in English (when submitting the same proposal for consideration to multiple venues, please do let us know via the submission form). The acceptance rate for the first two seminar series was of 41% (2012/13) and 31% (2014/15).
Seminars will run **fortnightly on Tuesday evenings (18:00-19:30)** from October 2014 until February 2015 and will be hosted by the Excellence Cluster TOPOI and the German Archaeological Institute, both located in Berlin-Dahlem. The full programme, including the venue of each seminar, will be finalised and announced in September. As with the previous series, the video recordings of the presentations will be published online and we endeavour to provide accommodation for the speakers and contribute towards their travel expenses. There are plans to publish papers selected from the first three series of the seminar as a special issue of the new open access publication from TOPOI [5].
[3] The anonymised abstract should have all author names, institutions and references to the authors work removed. This may lead to some references having to be replaced by “Reference to authors’ work”. The abstract title and author names with affiliations are entered into the submission system in separate fields.

First Connected Past publication!

June 20, 2014

coverphotoAnna Collar, Fiona Coward and I started The Connected Past in 2011. Since then we have been enjoying organising a number of conferences, workshops and sessions together with our many friends in the TCP steering committee. Many collaborations and other fun things have followed on from these events but no publications yet, until now! Anna, Fiona, Claire and I recently published a paper in Nouvelles de l’archéologie. It was part of a special issue on network perspectives in archaeology edited by Carl Knappett.

Our paper’s aims are very similar to those of TCP in general: to communicate across communities of archaeologists and historians, to identify the challenges we face when using network perspectives, and to overcome them together. The paper first lists a number of challenges historians are confronted with, then a number of archaeological challenges. It argues how some of these challenges are similar and that it’s worth our while to collaborate. At the end of the paper we suggest a few ways of doing this. And it will be no surprise that one of the ways is to attend our future TCP events :)

You can download the full paper on Academia or via my bibliography page. You can read the abstract below.

The Connected Past will also publish a special issue of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory (first issue of 2015) and an edited volume (Oxford University Press, 2015). More about that later!

The last decade has seen a significant increase in the use of network studies in archaeology, as archaeologists have turned to formal network methods to make sense of large and complex datasets and to explore hypotheses of past interactions. A similar pattern can be seen in history and related disciplines, where work has focused on exploring the structure of textual sources and analysing historically attested social networks. Despite this shared interest in network approaches and their common general goal (to understand human behaviour in the past), there has been little cross-fertilisation of archaeological and historical network approaches. The Connected Past, a multidisciplinary conference held in Southampton in March 2012, provided a rare platform for such cross-disciplinary communication. This article will discuss the shared concerns of and seemingly unique challenges facing archaeologists and historians using network analysis techniques, and will suggest new ways in which research in both disciplines can be enhanced by drawing on the experiences of different research traditions.

The conference brought some common themes and shared concerns to the fore. Most prominent among these are possible methods for dealing with the fragmentary nature of our sources, techniques for visualising and analysing past networks – especially when they include both spatial and temporal dimensions – and interpretation of network analysis results in order to enhance our understanding of past social interactions. This multi-disciplinary discussion also raised some fundamental differences between disciplines: in archaeology, individuals are typically identified indirectly through the material remains they leave behind, providing an insight into long-term changes in the everyday lives of past peoples; in contrast, historical sources often allow the identification of past individuals by name and role, allowing synchronic analysis of social networks at a particular moment in time.

The conference also demonstrated clearly that a major concern for advancing the use of network analysis in both the archaeological and historical disciplines will be the consideration of how to translate sociological concepts that have been created to deal with interaction between people when the nodes in our networks are in fact words, texts, places or artefacts. Means of textual and material critique will thus be central to future work in this field.


CFP Nodes & Networks in the Humanities

June 19, 2014
kuThe many Digital Humanities communities around the world are increasingly exploring network science. I would like to advertise an interesting event: “Nodes & Networks in the Humanities: Geometries, Relationships, Processes”. It will take place in September 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas, and will cover talks and workshops on all aspects of network science: network data management, representation, and analysis. The keynotes also look particularly promising. Isabel Meirelles (one of the organisers of Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks which will host its fifth annual conference in June), Steven Jones (author of ‘The emergence of Digital Humanities), and Scott Weingart (DH consultant who has been known to collaborate on archaeological projects to create awesome research). The call for papers is now out (deadline June 30), see below for more info.
CFP: Nodes & Networks in the Humanities: Geometries, Relationships, Processes
Digital Humanities Forum 2014
September 12-13, 2014
Lawrence, Kansas
Keynote Speakers
* Isabel Meirelles, Northeastern University, http://isabelmeirelles.com/
* Steven Jones, Loyola University Chicago, http://stevenejones.org/
* Scott Weingart, Indiana University, http://www.scottbot.net/
Please submit abstracts of 500 words maximum at:
Proposal Deadline: June 15
Questions may be directed to the Institute for Digital Research in the
Humanities, idrh@ku.edu
Arienne Dwyer & Brian Rosenblum, Co-Directors

CFP The Connected Past @ Imperial College London

May 28, 2014

imperialTime to announce the next in our series of The Connected Past conferences. This time we will go to Imperial College London where Tim Evans and Ray Rivers will host us at the physics department. This edition of The Connected Past will focus in particular on how the challenges archaeologists are faced with when trying to understand human behaviour using fragmentary material data might be of interest to physicists. We hope this event will be another great opportunity for scholars from different disciplines to meet, share their ideas and problems, and hopefully collaborate to try to solve these issues. We will also organise a half-day hands-on workshop on network science for archaeologists. Keep an eye out for the announcement next month.

CONFERENCE INFO

The Connected Past: archaeological challenges and complexity - a one and a half day multi-disciplinary meeting to explore how concepts and techniques from network- and complexity science can be used to study archaeological data. These challenges include the use of material data as proxy evidence for past human behaviour, questions about long-term processes of social change, and the fragmentary nature of archaeological data. We aim to bring together physical scientists and archaeologists in order to highlight the challenges posed by archaeological data and research questions, and explore collaborative ways of tackling them using perspectives drawn from network and complexity science.

The meeting will take place on the afternoon of Monday 8th September and all day Tuesday 9th September at Imperial College London. A hands-on introductory workshop is planned for the morning of Monday 8th September – details to be announced.

Call for Papers. We are looking for 20 to 30 minute contributions and are inviting researchers from any relevant field to submit a one page abstract in pdf format. This should be sent to: connectedpast2014@imperial.ac.uk

The abstract should contain the title, name of proposed speaker and names of any additional authors and their associated institutions, along with a brief abstract (200-500 words). Any additional information (figure, links, bibliography, etc.) may be included within the one page limit.

Submission deadline: 20th June 2014
Decisions announced: 4th July 2014


Keynote talks. The meeting will feature keynote talks by Alan Wilson, University College London, and Ulrik Brandes, University Konstanz (a further additional keynote will be announced soon). Shorter talks will be given by other invited speakers and from researchers submitting abstracts. Finally, at a later date we will issue a call for some quick fire (five minute) talks to allow researchers at all stages of their career to participate.

Registration Fee. The registration fee is £45 (£22.50 for students) as a contribution towards local expenses. This will cover lunch on the Tuesday, coffee/tea breaks plus drinks at the informal social event on the Monday evening. Registration will open in June.

Travel Bursaries. Some support is available to cover travel and other costs of UK-based researchers attending the meeting. If you wish to be considered for such support, please send a request explaining why you should be considered for a bursary to the same address as for papers with the subject “Bursary application [your name]” (connectedpast2014@imperial.ac.uk). Bursaries will be given out from 20th June 2014 onwards while funds remain.

Further Information. The meeting is organised as part of The Connected Past series of events, funded in part by EPSRC. Full details are available on the web site at
http://www.complexity.org.uk/events/conpastlondon2014/

On Twitter follow the hashtag #tcp2014

Organisers. Tim Evans (Chair), Ray Rivers, Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward.


SciFi networks and gender

May 21, 2014

scifiSciFi literature has a connotation of being a male thing, but I had no idea how far this gender stereotype went. As usual, I need to see a network before I learn something new. So I recently bumped into the webpage of “Hidden Worlds: Masking Gender in Science Fiction“. It collected data on authors of SciFi literature and their publishers. However, the author information the project gathered only includes female authors writing under male or gender-neutral pseudonyms. On their homepage you can see a network of these authors connected to their publishing houses, in a nice interactive interface that allows you to explore the network for yourself (using a Gephi plugin). What is more interesting, however, is the network that shows the different network patterns for authors who wrote under gender masking pseudonyms and those who did not. On this page you can see the authors who wrote under gender-masking pseudonyms are published by the same publishing houses, more so than authors who do not mask their gender. The webpage also shows how this network changes over time, from the 1950s to the 2000s. I did not find the time to read the accompanying paper in detail, but it looks like an interesting and thought-provoking use of network visualisations. Cool stuff!


DH Benelux conference

May 19, 2014

dh beneluxI would not be a particularly good Belgian humanist if I were not to advertise DH events involving Belgians. So here we are: the digital humanities conference Benelux will take place 12-13 June 2014 in The Hague. Let’s all go to the low countries for this great event! More info can be found below or online.

Benelux Conference Digital Humanities 12-13 June 2014
Conference to present state of the art in digital humanities research

The first DHBenelux conference on 12- 13 June 2014 will showcase the state of the art in digital humanities – the most recent development in humanities research. For researchers already involved in digital humanities the conference will be a great opportunity to share knowledge and meet potential project partners. For those new to digital humanities the conference will provide a platform to get acquainted with both experienced and beginning researchers.

Conference programme

The conference organisers have put together an exciting programme. It focuses on all aspects of digital humanities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. Exchanging information is a major goal of the conference. Therefore, the conference is packed with parallel sessions and short, 15-minute presentations. The conference dinner on 12th June will be followed by a poster session. In other words: plenty of time for networking and for gaining a quick overview of the field.

Melissa Terras

Keynote speaker Professor Melissa Terras, Director of University College London, will put the conference programme in an international context. She is a leading digital humanities researcher and has been working in the field since the 1990s. She has participated in digital humanities developments from ‘virtual reality’ via ‘digital imaging’ to using computer technology to enable innovative research.

Organisation

The organising committee of DH Benelux comprises Marijn Koolen (University of Amsterdam), Mike Kestemont (University Antwerp), Karina van Dalen-Oskam (Huygens ING) and Steven Claeyssens (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands).

The conference venue is the KB building, which houses both the Huygens ING and the National Library. It is conveniently located right next to the Central Train Station in The Hague, a thirty-minute train ride from Schiphol airport.

The conference is in English. You can register for the conference until 1 June by means of the DHBenelux registration form.

More information
Follow us on Twitter @DHBenelux (use #DHBenelux) or send an e-mail to congres@huygens.knaw.nl


SNA summer school Trier

May 17, 2014

trierGerman speakers interested in learning more about social network analysis might be interested in the Trier SNA summer school. You can sign up until 31-07-2014. More info on the website and below.

8. Trierer Summer School
on Social Network Analysis

29.09.-4.10.2014

Die „Trierer Summer School on Social Network Analysis“ findet dieses Jahr vom 29. September bis 4. Oktober 2014 (Mo.-Sa.) an der Universität Trier statt. Die Veranstaltung bietet in einem einwöchigen Intensivkurs eine umfassende Einführung in die theoretischen Konzepte, Methoden und praktischen Anwendungen der Sozialen Netzwerkanalyse. Sie besteht aus zwei aufeinander aufbauenden Modulen sowie mehreren zusätzlichen Workshops zur qualitativen und quantitativen Netzwerkanalyse. Zudem bieten die Dozenten individuelle Forschungsberatungen an.

Die 8. Trierer Summer School ist als Einsteigerkurs konzipiert. Sie richtet sich vor allem an Promovierende der geistes-, kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Fächer, die sich mit der Analyse sozialer Strukturen beschäftigen und Einblick in die Methoden der Sozialen Netzwerkanalyse (SNA) nehmen möchten. Auch Studierende, die kurz vor ihrer Diplom-/Master-/Magister­arbeit stehen und methodisch mit der SNA arbeiten wollen, sind willkommen.

Anmeldeverfahren

Die Anmeldephase beginnt am Montag, 28. April und endet am Donnerstag, 31. Juli 2014.

Die Teilnehmerzahl ist auf 40 Teilnehmer begrenzt. Wenn Sie sich anmelden möchten, besuchen Sie bitte die Summer School Homepage (http://www.sna-summerschool.de). Dort finden Sie unter „Anmeldung“ ein Anmeldeformular.

Da die Teilnehmerzahl auf insgesamt 40 Teilnehmer beschränkt ist, melden Sie sich bitte rechtzeitig an.

Die Teilnahmegebühr beträgt 290,00 Euro. Sie ist 21 Tage nach Erhalt der Anmeldebestätigung fällig. Die Anmeldung wird erst wirksam, wenn die Teilnahmegebühr auf dem in der Bestätigungsmail angegebenen Konto eingegangen ist. Zusammen mit der Bestätigung des Zahlungseingangs erhalten Sie weitere Informationen bzgl. Veranstaltungsort, Übernachtungsmöglichkeiten und Busanbindung. Ebenso wird Ihnen vorbereitende Literatur zu den Lehrveranstaltungen zur Verfügung gestellt. Auf der Homepage der Summer School http://www.sna-summerschool.de können Sie sich ebenfalls informieren.

Aufbau der 8. Trierer Summer School

Modul 1: „Grundlagen der Sozialen Netzwerkanalyse“

Vom 29. bis 30. September führt das erste Modul ganztägig in die Geschichte und theoretische Konzepte sowie in Methoden der Datenerhebung, -auswertung und -visualisierung der SNA ein. Die Veranstaltung richtet sich an alle Teilnehmer, insbesondere aber an Anfänger, und bietet einen ersten Einstieg in die Thematik.

Die Lehreinheit ist als Vorlesung mit integrierten Übungen und Gruppenaufgaben strukturiert. Es werden sowohl ego-zentrierte Netzwerke als auch Gesamtnetzwerke behandelt. Unter egozentrierten Netzwerken werden Netzwerke verstanden, die sich um ein Ego (ein bestimmter Akteur/die befragte Person) positionieren. Bei der Gesamtnetzwerkanalyse steht hingegen eine ausgewählte Gruppe von Akteuren (Unternehmen, Schulklassen, Dörfer usw.) und die soziale Struktur innerhalb dieser Gruppe im Fokus.

Dozenten:

Dr. Markus Gamper, Universität zu Köln

Dr. Richard Heidler, Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Dr. Andreas Herz, Universität Hildesheim

Modul 2: „Praxisorientierte Soziale Netzwerkanalyse“

Modul 2 (01.-04. Oktober) umfasst zwei parallel laufende Angebote zur Datenerhebung und -auswertung von Sozialen Netzwerken. Am Mittwoch, 01. Oktober, erfolgt das Modul ganztägig, von Donnerstag bis Samstag jeweils nur vormittags. Je nach Forschungsinteresse können die Teilnehmer zwischen zwei Arbeitsgruppen entscheiden:

Arbeitsgruppe A – Gesamtnetzwerke (20 Plätze):

Welches übergeordnete Strukturmuster hat ein Netzwerk? Wo befinden sich Bereiche verdichteter Kommunikation? Welche Akteure sind zentral, wer sind die Broker in einem Netzwerk? Welche strukturellen und attributionalen Faktoren beeinflussen die Entstehung, Beibehaltung und Beendigung von Relationen? Diese Fragen lassen sich mit Gesamtnetzwerken untersuchen. Im Unterschied zu ego-zentrierten Netzwerken wird hier nicht nur die direkte Umgebung eines Akteurs erfasst, sondern die Gesamtheit der Beziehungen, zwischen einem abgegrenzten Set von Akteuren, wie z. B. einer Schulklasse, einem Politikfeld, einer wissenschaftlichen Disziplin, einem Dorf, usw.

Das Modul Gesamtnetzwerke legt einen Schwerpunkt auf das Einlesen und das Auswerten von Daten von Gesamtnetzwerken. Dabei wird eine Bandbreite von Software zum Einsatz kommen, wodurch ihre unterschiedlichen Stärken und Schwächen aufgezeigt werden. Typische Netzwerkformate und Verfahren der Datenmodifikation, sowie die Berechnung von Zentralitätsmaßen werden mit Pajek durchgeführt. Auch die Blockmodellanalyse wird in Pajek zum Einsatz kommen, und dann in GNU-R fortgesetzt. Die Grundlagen von R werden in einer Sitzung die gemeinsam mit dem Egomodul stattfindet gelehrt. Darüber hinaus wird R verwendet, um Syntax-basiert Auswertungen und Transformationen von Netzwerken vorzunehmen. Schließlich wird in R auch die Modellierung von Netzwerken mit ERGM, anhand einer Schulklasse von 1880/81 demonstriert. Final kommt das Programm Gephi zum Einsatz, um sich besonders mit den Fragen und Anforderungen guter visueller Darstellungen von Netzwerken zu beschäftigen. Hierzu wird ein Hochzeitsnetzwerk grafisch repräsentiert. Das Format des Moduls umfasst praktische Übungen, Diskussionen und lässt auch Raum für eigene Vorschläge.

Dozenten: Dr. Richard Heidler / Michael Kronenwett, M. A. (Kronenwett & Adolphs UG)

Arbeitsgruppe B – Ego-Netzwerke (20 Plätze):

Welche Formen sozialer Unterstützung werden von verschiedenen Beziehungen erbracht? Hat die Einbettung eines Akteurs in sein soziales Netzwerk Auswirkung auf die Generierung innovativer Ideen oder führt Mediennutzung zu Desintegration? All diese Fragen lassen sich mit Verfahren der ego-zentrierten Netzwerkanalyse untersuchen, wobei ego-zentrierte Netzwerke formal die Beziehungen eines Akteurs (Ego) zu anderen Akteuren (Alteri) dessen direkter Netzwerkumgebung sowie den Beziehungen zwischen diesen Akteuren (Alter-Alter-Relationen) darstellen.

Das Modul „ego-zentrierte Netzwerke“ führt in offene und standardisierte Erhebungs- und Auswertungsverfahren ego-zentrierter Netzwerke ein. Nach einer exemplarisch durchgeführten Fragebogenerhebung und ausführlicher Diskussion von offenen und standardisierten Erhebungsvarianten, liegt der Fokus auf der quantitativen Auswertung eines bereits vorliegenden Datensatzes mit Hilfe GNU-R. Hierzu werden Daten- und Analyseebenen sowie grundlegende Analysestrategien verdeutlicht. Daneben werden auch qualitative Verfahren vorgestellt, die dann in den Nachmittags-Workshops nochmals vertieft werden können. Für die Teilnahme sind Grundkenntnisse in statistischer Datenanalyse von Vorteil. Je nach Bedarf und TeilnehmerInneninteresse werden Analysemöglichkeiten auch für qualitative Netzwerkkarten diskutiert. Das Format des Moduls umfasst Kurzeinführungen, praktische Übungen und Diskussionen.

Dozenten: Dr. Markus Gamper / Dr. Andreas Herz

An das Modul 1 schließt sich am Dienstagabend eine Fragerunde rund um das Modul 2 „Praxisorientierte Soziale Netzwerkanalyse“an. Die Teilnehmer haben hier die Möglichkeit, den Dozenten konkrete Fragen zu den Lehrinhalten der beiden Arbeitsgruppen A und B sowie den angebotenen zusätzlichen Workshops zu stellen. Auf der Grundlage der Kenntnisse aus Modul 1 kann die Entscheidung für die Teilnahme an einer Arbeitsgruppe noch einmal überdacht und bei Bedarf, soweit organisatorisch möglich, geändert werden.

Am Samstag (4.10.) findet parallel zu den Arbeitsgruppen „Gesamtnetzwerk“ und „Ego-Netzwerke“ die folgende Veranstaltung statt:

„Governance und soziale Netzwerke“

Das interaktive Modul Governance und soziale Netzwerke beschäftigt sich mit der Analyse qualitativer und quantitativer sozialer Netzwerkdaten zur Untersuchung von Governance-Prozessen. Behandelt werden unter anderem politische Entscheidungs- bzw. Implementierungsprozesse im Europäischen Mehrebenensystem, Akteursanalysen einschließlich Macht- und Einflussverteilung in Netzwerken, strategische Netzwerkplanung, soziales Lernen und Wissensintegration.

Dozentin: Dr. Jennifer Hauck (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung)

Keynote Speech: Network Analysis Literacy

Am Dienstag, den 30. September, hält Prof. Katharina Anna Zweig (University of Science and Technology Kaiserslautern) einen Keynote Speech mit dem Titel „Network Analysis Literacy“: Die Netzwerkanalyse bietet eine Reihe von etablierten Methoden, um beispielsweise die zentralsten Knoten zu finden, ein Netzwerk in dichte Teilbereiche zu partitionieren oder statistisch signifikante Teilgraphen zu identifizieren. Aber für jede dieser Aufgaben gibt es verschiedene Ansätze, sie zu lösen. So gibt es beispielsweise mehrere Dutzend Zentralitätsindizes. In diesem Vortrag geht es um die Frage, warum es so viele verschiedene Ansätze gibt und nach welchen Regeln man entscheiden kann, wann welcher Ansatz verwendet werden sollte. Dazu muss das „Trilemma der Analyse komplexer Netzwerke“ verstanden und gelöst werden. Anhand verschiedener Beispiele wird Prof. Zweig dessen Bedeutung darlegen und generelle Lösungansätze diskutieren.

Dozentin: Prof. Katharina Anna Zweig (University of Science and Technology Kaiserslautern)

Workshops

Workshop „Prozessgenerierte Daten und historische Netzwerkanalyse“

Die Untersuchung von Netzwerkdynamiken, d. h. der Veränderung von Netzwerkstrukturen in der Zeit, gewinnt unter Historikern und Sozialwissenschaftlern eine immer größere Bedeutung. Hierbei ist es aber oftmals nicht möglich oder praktikabel, “klassische“ Formen der sozialwissenschaftlichen Datenerhebung wie Befragungen und Beobachtungen anzuwenden. Prozessgenerierte Quellen oder Daten liegen hingegen oftmals bereits für längere Zeiträume vor und ermöglichen vielfältige dynamische Analysen. Prozessgenerierte Quellen entstehen beispielsweise während Verwaltungsvorgängen aber auch während „Oral History Interviews“. Sie sind nicht direkt durch die Forschenden für individuelle Fragestellungen erhoben worden und müssen deshalb kundig und kritisch interpretiert werden um für aussagekräftige Datenerhebungen nutzbar zu werden. Ziel des Workshops ist es, eine Einführung und praktische Handreichung in die Besonderheiten der Erhebung von dynamischen Netzwerkdaten aus prozessgenerierten Quellen zu geben.

Der Workshop gliedert sich wie folgt: Grundlagen, Quellenübung, Dateneingabe/Codierung, Datenausgabe(Einstieg in die Auswertung)/Fragen und Diskussion.

Dozenten: Dr. Martin Stark (Universität Hamburg), Dr. Marten Düring (CVCE Luxemburg)

Workshop „Mixed Methods“/“Visual Network Research“

Der Workshop ist als eine Erweiterung des im Modul 1 angeschnittenen Zweigs der „qualitativen Netzwerkanalyse“ zu sehen. Im Nachmittagsprogramm werden am 2. und 3. Oktober in zunächst zwei parallel stattfindenden Übungen die beiden Tools VennMaker und NetMap, einschließlich der kombinierten Erhebung qualitativer und quantitativer Netzwerkdaten vorgestellt. Am zweiten Nachmittag werden gemeinsam mit allen Workshop-Teilnehmern die Grundlagen und Methoden der partizipativen und qualitativen Datenanalyse besprochen und Wege aufgezeigt, wie die unterschiedlichen Formen der Netzwerkanalyse miteinander verbunden werden können.

Die Teilnehmer können zwischen den folgenden zwei Übungen wählen:

A) VennMaker

Die Software „VennMaker“ steht an der Schnittstelle von qualitativer und quantitativer Netzwerkanalyse. Sie erlaubt Netzwerke per digitalem Fragebogen oder mithilfe digitaler Netzwerkkarten zuerheben, und beide Formen lassen sich auch miteinander kombinieren. Aufgrund seines visuellen Erhebungscharakters ist der VennMaker besonders gut für partizipative Netzwerkinterviews, bzw. Formen der kommunikativen Validierung geeignet. Die erhobenen Daten können in „klassischer Weise“ mit Excel, Pajek oder R quantitativ ausgewertet werden. Die zeitgleiche Aufzeichnung der gesprochenen Kommentare während des Interviews sowie die Einbindung von Textkommentaren etc. lassen aber auch eine qualitative Auswertung zu. In Gruppenarbeit wird das Erstellen von Netzwerkkarten mit Hilfe des VennMakers erlernt. Die praktische Übung sieht die Konfiguration, Durchführung sowie Auswertung eines Interviews vor. Des Weiteren wird die Migration der Daten in Officeanwendungen und R erprobt.

Dozent: Michael Kronenwett, M. A. (Kronenwett & Adolphs UG)

B) Net-Map

Das Net-Map-Tool ist eine interview-basierte Methode, die es erlaubt, das Wissen um Netzwerkstrukturen als Netzwerkkarte direkt mit Papier und Stift sichtbar zu machen. Darüber hinaus können, während des Interviewprozesses, vielfältige Daten zu den Akteuren und qualitative Informationen erhoben werden, welche die Rollen der Akteure und Netzwerkstrukturen besser verständlich machen. Während des Workshops erarbeiten die TeilnehmerInnen, nach einer kurzen Vorstellung des Net-Map-Tools, relevante Fragestellungen aus ihrem jeweiligen Forschungsbereich und lernen die Anwendung des NetMap-Tools anhand dieser Fragen. Anschließend werden verschiedene Möglichkeiten der Digitalisierung der Netzwerkkarten aufgezeigt und erste Auswertungsschritte besprochen.

Dozentin: Dr. Jennifer Hauck (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung)

Forschungsberatung

Am 2. und 3. Oktober stehen die Dozenten den Teilnehmern für eine Forschungsberatung zur Verfügung. In einem persönlichen Gespräch können Lösungen für die eigenen Forschungsaufgaben und -projekte besprochen und gefunden werden. Die Teilnehmer profitieren hierbei von der Expertise und den Erfahrungen der Dozenten.

Das Angebot wurde aufgrund des großen Erfolges und der hohen Nachfrage der letzten Jahre wieder in das Programm aufgenommen. Wenn Sie das Angebot in Anspruch nehmen wollen, reichen Sie bitte bis zum 31. Juli ein Abstract (Details hierzu: siehe oben) ein.

Abschlussvortrag „Ethische Netzwerkforschung? Eine Sensibilisierungsrunde zum Abschluss“

Bei der Netzwerkforschung geht es um das Aufdecken von Beziehungen in Gruppen, die oft in hohem Maße informeller Natur und persönlich sind, wobei auch teils vertrauliche Informationen weitergegeben werden. Mit folgenden Fragen lassen sich ethische Aspekte in der Netzwerkforschung ganz gut überprüfen:

„Wer erhebt mit wessen Wissen und Zustimmung wessen Netzwerke, mit Hilfe welcher Quellen, mit welchem Ziel, zu wessen Nutzen, und mit welchen Folgen?“

Nachdem wir uns eine Woche lang gemeinsam dem `wie` und `was` der NWF nachgegangen sind, wollen wir die letzte gemeinsame Runde dazu nutzen, um Sie für das auf Netzwerktagungen bisher kaum thematisierte `warum` und `für wen` der NWA zu sensibilisieren, und mit Ihnen zu diskutieren.

Dozent: Prof. Dr. Michael Schönhuth (Universität Trier)

Rahmenprogramm

Neben dem Gastvortrag bietet das gesellige und kulturelle Rahmenprogramm der Summer School die Möglichkeit, das eigene „social networking“ zu betreiben. Beim geselligen Abend lernen sich die Teilnehmer näher kennen und bereits begonnene Gespräche können bei einem Glas Wein weiter vertieft werden. Ebenso wird die alte Römerstadt Trier mit ihren Sehenswürdigkeiten aus allen Jahrhunderten auf einer Stadtführung erkundet.


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