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Category: Trismegistos

2017: a balance

Before we leave the office to spend the last week of the year in a drunken stupor and with permanent indigestion, let’s take a moment to make up a balance of 2017. Even though it’s been pretty quiet here on the Data Ninjas front, we haven’t been sitting on our ass, as they say here in Belgium [which isn’t exactly true, since to be able to do my job, I need to sit on my ass, so I do that quite a lot, actually]. Not a lot of new networky stuff, I’m afraid, although I have given quite some workshops and classes this year. All hail the Spaghetti Monster! Silke has an awesome job in Dublin, home of U2, Guinness, Guinness, coddle, and Guinness. She has infiltrated the corporate world, and is now soaking up invaluable skillz and is brainwashing strategic players so that one day, in the hopefully not so distant future, world domination is ours. Her first mission was Google, one which she accomplished with great success. She has now moved on to the next big corporation on our list, which I cannot reveal here, since it would endanger her operation. So may you forgive her for not reporting to you as frequently and enthusiastically as she used to; her work is now classified as top secret. Rest assured, I have not forsaken pastafariansim either. I have simply been expanding my personal ‘DH toolkit’ with a new set of digital skillz that allow me to become a true…

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Identifying individuals through network visualizations

Today your reporter will deliver this post live from her new temporary habitat: the laundromat. I was hoping it would never come to this, but the landlord still hasn’t installed pipes for the washing machine. I’ve been postponing this ordeal for over a month now, and my laundry basket simply can’t handle the steady heaps of clothing being catapulted its way anymore. So I stuffed everything into my backpack, trolley, Ikea bag, any big container I own basically, and dragged myself to the nearest facility, with the very deceitful name ‘Happy Wash’. Yet there is absolutely nothing spirit-lifting about sitting in a fluorescently-lit corridor lined with machines shaking and snorting as if they’re about to take off. The owners are obviously of the hippy-dippy retro sort: there’s no Wi-Fi. One might argue that the absence of all technological diversions can be seen as a blessing, as it allows me to fully unleash my literary genius and focus on the task at hand: providing you, dear reader, with entertaining and educational refreshments. But somehow I find that being surrounded by glass doors offering a window into other people’s tighty whities being swirled around oddly discomforting and distracting (though luckily not satisfying). Today’s special is geared toward the prosopographically-minded. As we’ve been repeating for years now, you can’t do social network analysis if you don’t have a decent prosopography. It’s become kind of a mantra. You need to get your data sorted out. Now, while working on Trismegistos is awesome, it does…

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Presenting: Trismegistos Editors and Trismegistos Networks

Ladies and gentleman! Oy! While the Veneto region is crippled by a heat wave, in which your dearest data ninjas will be glowing radiantly next week for a workshop on prosopographies of Roman Egypt, in Leuven the Trismegistos team has been working its ass off to get two new TM sections up and running: TM editors and TM networks. Now crack that bottle, because they’re finally here! TM editors provides an overview of all papyrological and epigraphic publications by “modern” scholars. I say “modern”, since many have already been chewed up, digested and spat out during invertibrate munchfests over the past century. We distinguish between three types of publications: editions of ancient texts, publications relating to these (mainly Greek) texts listed in the Bibliographie Papyrologique, and publications relating to these (mainly Demotic) texts listed in the Demotische Literaturübersicht. So you can now look up a name of a famous papyrologist, lets say ‘Broux’, and you get a very depressing overview of the very little work I’ve done so far that is relevant for these categories. To make these boring lists a little more interesting, I created networks of co-editors and co-authors. What am I thinking? A little?! They’re the only things worth looking at! These are top-end spaghetti monsters, you won’t get them more slimy and succulent elsewhere! So on my individual editor page you get three networks: the first one visualizes who I edited texts with (no-one, which is actually NOT TRUE since I’ve published two funerary stelae together with our Leuven samurai Willy Clarysse, but…

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You know those keynotes Apple holds every September to brag about their newest gadgets? Everyone’s been speculating for months, leaks have gone viral, you’ve been cursing your eleven months old iPhone for the last two months because they’re promising something so much better. And then all these bright and shiny new toys are revealed, and you have to wait another couple of months before you can get your hands on them…  Yeah? Well, consider this about the same magnitude. While Silke has declared war on the squirrel decapitating her garden flowers, I have been trying out Gephi’s timeline, another neat feature that allows you to monitor changes in a network over time. You’ll definitely hear more about this later! What you need to make Gephi’s timeline work is, and hold on to your horses now, this might come as quite a shocker: dates. Now, I don’t like to criticize Trismegistos1. Trismegistos is pure perfection, of course. Nothing comes close to its beautifully built relational structure. PER is to its REFs like milk is to Double Stuff Oreo’s; GEO stores place names like Madonna harvests poor Malawi children; TEX holds it all together like an indispensable wooden Ikea peg. But what you can’t do in Trismegistos is extract a one-mode network of people linked to people, with dates. Or without dates, for that matter. This requires an intermediate step. We can extract a two-mode network of people appearing in texts, since TM People is linked directly to TM Texts, and then we can convert…

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Onomastic network in Trismegistos People

Dear tootsie rolls, A while back I posted how the Oxford Internet Institute made this world a better place thanks to their sigma.js export plugin for Gephi. When I demonstrated this little gem to our Trismegistos Overlord, he was dead psyched. I tell you, that man can smell an opportunity aeons away.      So these past couple of weeks, he’s been edging me on to make networks of just about everything in Trismegistos. Compliant, obliging and submissive as I am, I’ve been doing practically nothing else ever since. The first database I conquered is the Names database. With 17,182 nodes and 69,860 edges, this is definitely the largest network I’ve set up so far. And now it’s all yours to play around with! It’s got a nice Egyptian component, and a Greek component, and some ambiguous names, like Anoubas, in the middle.    But our terrifyingly transcendental Trismegistos overlord had bigger plans still. Last week, he finally let me in on the deal: not only would we post the network online with the help of the plug-in, we would also display the ego network of each individual name.      So now, when you look up a name, like Achilleus (for those of you heathens who haven’t looked up names in Trismegistos yet, see fig. 1 & 2), you not only get an overview of all the variants, the number of attestations, the chronological and geographical spread, but also a visualization of all the other names Achilleus is connected to. Like…

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Preparing your dataset for network analysis: a general introduction

Last week, your beloved Data Ninjas helped organize a workshop on how to get started with databases at the HNR2014 conference in Ghent. Due to popular demand, we’ll summarize the basic principles here. There’s nothing really SNA’y about building a database of course, but before you can go crazy with SNA, you have to have your data organized, so this is pretty important if you want to get something out of it easily. We’ve never really given this much thought actually: we’re pretty spoiled in this respect, because the database we work with, Trismegistos, was practically handed to us on a silver platter. Well, to Silke at least, two years ago. I actually helped build a large part of it for my PhD research, resulting in nightmares, insomnia and eventually a temporary ban on parsing names. Oh, those were the days… But we realize that others are not so fortunate and have to build theirs from scratch, which prompted our inner Mother Teresas to spread our miraculous database transubstantiation skillz among our peeps. For starters, we use Filemaker, cuz, well, that’s what Trismegistos rolls with. It’s really easy to work with: in fact, when you create a new database (File > New database; see: it’s that easy!), you automatically enter ‘layout mode’ and a ‘field picker’ pops up, in which you can start creating a list of new fields, which you can then drag to your new database (fig. 1 & 2).    Fig. 1: Filemaker ‘field picker’   Fig.…

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The Trismegistos Tabloid, July 18 2014

(Since Facebook doesn’t allow XXL pictures, and without them, this week’s Trismegistos Tabloid would be worthless, I’m posting it here, just this once. You can click on the pics to supersize them) Today’s TT features an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Trismegistos People database! Some of you are probably already familiar with our website and how it works. Others just liked this page out of sympathy, or perhaps rather a sense of social obligation. But undoubtedly, most of you just like the funny pictures and have no idea what Trismegistos is actually all about. Don’t worry, I don’t judge. In the end, it’s all about the rising number of post and page likes I can present our Trismegistos overlord in the hope of a nice Christmas bonus. Anywho, this is what you get when looking up Mrs. Demetria-Tereus, daughter of Hermaios, online:       It shows her name, her parents, additional info on ethnics, titles, etc. if available, and then a list of all the texts she appears in. Pretty straightforward. In our Filemaker version, this is what her record looks like: We get some extra info, such as the family tree and a link to the Name database for onomastic purposes. Since our beloved D.-T. is mentioned four times, she also has four records in the related reference database: This is a much more extensive database, with links not only to the Name database and her family members, just like in PER, but also to the Text database, all other…

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