SMiLE: excellence with impact

Our SMiLE (Social Media for Live Events) project is on an advertising high! On 25 July a SMiLE article appeared on the Research Councils UK website, under the Digital Economy theme. In fact, SMiLE emerged from the Southampton Digital Economy University Strategic Research Group, a group co-directed by Dr. Lisa Harris, coordinator of the SMiLE project. This post also reveals a teaser image of my network analysis of the SMiLE data, more about that later 🙂

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A great Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg

This year’s Digital Humanities conference ended this weekend and it was a great success. The entire event was perfectly organised by the University of Hamburg. They even anticipated rain by providing DH-branded umbrellas. There was a record number of delegates, presentations were of high quality and the social events were a reflection of its host city’s image as a party capital and heimat of The Beatles. The University of Southampton was also well represented, with among others a workshop by Leif Isaksen and colleagues on modelling space and time in the humanities, a presentation on the Pelagios project, and one on Ptolemy’s Geography.

I myself did a presentation on my work with citation network analysis. I was also awarded an ADHO award bursary for young DH scholars.

By clicking on the links above you can see recordings of these presentations, but videos of many other presentations are available as well. Just have a look at the conference programme. There was alot of Twitter activity with #dh2012 and do also have a look at the DH student assistants blog. This year’s Fortier Prize went to @marcgalexander and Willard McCarty was awarded the Busa Prize.

As a first-time DH attendee I must say it is an awesome event organised by a vibrant and lovely community of friends. I would encourage everyone to attend future DH meetings.

Video: urban network analysis

This video is an impressive ad for the Urban Network Analysis toolkit, which I have never worked with by the way. Network analysis in urban environments is quite popular since it is relatively straightforward to identify the obvious nodes and links. A simple transport network can consist of streets as links connecting nodes at the crossing of these links. Urban Network Analysis seems to add buildings and a large variety of attributes (like jobs, residents, …). It uses this to create network maps of cities that can integrated with ArcGIS10 and analysed using network analysis measures. The measures illustrated in the video are quite simple and common, and by no means exclusive to urban network analysis. But they do become quite powerful when looking at large networks, like entire cities for example. The approach taken here has much in common with Space Syntax, although without the theoretical/interpretative baggage. The video is a pretty good introduction to how to see networks in an urban environment, so do have a look.

Urban Network Analysis Toolbox Introduction from Tolm on Vimeo.

SMiLE: But who is going to read 12,000 tweets?!

A second blogpost about the SMiLE project I am involved in appeared recently on the London School of Economics website. I wrote about the project’s aims before as Nicole Beale and Lisa Harris explained it on the LSE website earlier. This second blog post introduces a first glimpse at the results including a short discussion of Twitter network visualization and analysis. Exciting!

In fact, this second blog post reveals some of the really cool work the project members have been up to. MSc students here in Southampton have been busy using the collected social media data in creative ways for their projects. The project is also working with the Oxford e-research centre on a guide for best practice for using social media at conferences. But that’s not all! We are also working on depositing the entire social media archive with the Archaeology Data Service in York, and publishing some of the results in Internet Archaeology.

The rest of the blog post goes on to discuss some of the issues surrounding all this. How does one go about depositing an electronic social media archive? Lisa and Nicole looked into some of the comments of the conference delegates, provided in feedback forms, to get a more qualified picture of the issue and how to proceed. The blog also discusses the issue of developing an interface through which this dataset can be explored. Mark Borkum and I are looking at using network analysis tools for this. More on the network side of things will be revealed in later posts.

Have a look at the original article, definitely worth a read!

Presentation at University of Auckland

Thanks to the World Universities Network researcher mobility grant Iza and I could do some cool work with colleagues at the University of Auckland. On 20 June we gave a presentation at the department of archaeology there, in the ArchSoc seminar series. We presented our PhD projects, which in my case was mainly an overview of archaeological network analysis and some of my citation network analysis. You can download the presentation slides through the link on my bibliography page.

Thanks to all our Auckland colleagues!

Here the abstract:

This paper will argue that archaeological network researchers are not well networked themselves, resulting in a limited and sometimes uncritical adoption of formal network methods within the archaeological discipline. This seems to have followed largely from a general unawareness of the historicity of network-based approaches which span at least eight decennia of multi-disciplinary research. Many network analytical techniques that would only find a broader use in the last 15 years were in fact introduced in the archaeological discipline as early as the 1970s. The unawareness of alternative approaches is most prominent in recent archaeological applications of formal network methods, which show a tendency of adopting techniques and models that were fashionable at the time of publication rather than exploring other archaeological and non-archaeological approaches.
The paper concludes that in order to move towards richer archaeological applications of formal network methods archaeological network analysts should become better networked both within and outside their discipline. The existing archaeological applications of network analysis show clear indications of methods with great potential for our discipline and methods that will remain largely fruitless, and archaeologists should become aware of these advances within their discipline. The development of original archaeological network methods should be driven by archaeological research problems and a broad knowledge of formal network methods developed in different disciplines.

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