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Historical Network Analysis | DataNinjas Posts

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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Where do data ninjas go for help?

Where do DataNinjas go for help against that unbeatable foe called Gephi? That’s right, they ask online and wait for other ninjas to come to the rescue! They then ask them to write a guest post on their award winning blog. I am Sir Simon of Gephi and I nobly answered just such a call-to-arms. Aside from being Silke’s occasional tech support, I also own the complete Adventures of Tintin and an Iron Age spear, so I have all of the relevant Belgian/classicist credentials to be here (also I’m working on a PhD that involves crime and SNA or some such nonsense). For a slightly different approach to spaghetti monsters to the usual DataNinja stuff, I’m going to highlight how to construct networks from twitter and tell the tale of a trip to a pub with some digital classicists… Twitter digital classicist network After helping Silke cure about a 1000 errors that were occurring when data was imported into Gephi, she was kind enough to invite me along to a Digital Classicist lecture at King’s to see what sort of thing is going on in the DC field. There was a jolly interesting talk given by Leif Isaksen and Elton Barker about the Pelagios project and Recogito, and perhaps even more interesting to someone interested in spaghetti monsters, people were being encouraged to use #DigiClass to interact with the presentation. Twitter digital classicist network: Nodexl There are various tools which can be used to gather this data, my personal preference…

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The TOMATOR

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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Three-mode networks for Elephantine letters

Last summer, the Almighty Trismegistos Overlord dumped a collection of demotic letters from Elephantine on my desk.   The above sentence is most likely highly confusing in a myriad of ways. a) Demotic letters? I guess everyone knows hieroglyphs, those funny birds and squatting figures found on every possible piece of rock and stone in Egypt. Since not everyone was a gifted smokey-eyed, linnen-wrapped Michelangelo though, a more fluently-written variant of this script soon emerged, called hieratic. Demotic is supposedly an even more cursively evolved, Late and Graeco-Roman variant. I don’t buy it. Those people simply had horrible handwriting. My Auto-correct keeps on insisting that this should be ‘demonic’ by the way. I nod vigorously in agreement each time.  b) Elephantine? A town in Upper Egypt, just downstream of the first Nile cataract. No, there are no elephants there. c) Upper Egypt – first Nile cataract? Those of you with no / a limited / a normal amount of geographical sense probably have no clue what the catch is here. So let me elaborate: the first cataract is in Nubia, a charming little region located in the Republic of Sudan, ergo: south of Egypt. But then, shouldn’t Upper be, like, up north? No! Why make things simple, if they can also be confusing and disorientating? Actually, there’s a logic behind this: since the Nile flows from south to north, Upper Egypt is the upstream part, and Lower Egypt the downstream part. I’d have voted for Downer Egypt to make more sense, but…

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Spaghetti monster survey (2)

It is Sunday. It is gloomy. It is rainy. Daylight saving time kicked in last night, meaning my blissful beauty sleep was cut short by an hour. On top of that, I dreamed I was at the hairdresser, always a dreadful experience in my opinion, and she fucked up my hair.     There. Glad I could get that off my chest. What a therapeutic effect it has to rant and rave about magnificently insignificant tribulations to no-one and anyone reading this in particular. I feel like such a star. I should probably also post a photo of myself french-kissing a dog on Twitter Miley Cyrus-wise (and that ain’t even nasty in her book). With photoshopped abs, obviously. We don’t do au naturel. But enough about me. Another spaghetti monster interview came in last week! I would introduce him, but that would defeat the whole purpose of the interview. So here it goes: Name: Tom Brughmans Year of birth: 1985 Institution: Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Konstanz Hogwarts house: I don’t believe in the house-system, the college-system, or any other institutionalized forms of social segregation. What do SNA’ists got against Harry Potter?! I’m starting to think I should pick another field… Field: Archaeology Hobbies: I used to cook, play guitar, drink fancy green tea and hang out with other hippies, but then my PhD happened.You just posted a picture of a Carib beer bottle under palm trees on a white sand beach on some tropical island. Work-related. Shut up. Favorite book: 1984 How did you end up in…

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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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Well smack my ass and call me Judy*

*I was going to send this around in a ‘thank you’ mail, but our Trismegistos overlord forbade me to mutilate my gluteus maximus and pose under a false, albeit a very decent Christian, name before the whole papyrological community. In Roman Egypt, acting under a false identity was punished by confiscation of one-fourth of your property, and I’m just not ready to give up my three iPods, two iPads, Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air and iPhone (even though the screen is shattered). It is Monday, and if you’ve been monitoring us closely, you’ll have noticed that normally we don’t post on Mondays. That’s because Mondays are meant for moping. Especially Monday mornings. And I define ‘morning’ as anything before 2PM. Usually on Monday mornings you will not find me in the most cheerful of moods, especially not if my alarm clock jolts me out of my sleep while dreaming of freshly baked pancakes smothered with maple syrup, fresh blueberries and lamb chops (don’t ask, it’s Lent…). But while doing a routine wake-up email check (oh just admit it, you do it to), I noticed that the results of the DH Awards 2014 had already come in. And guess who won in the category ‘Best DH blog post or series of blog posts’? That’s right: yours truly. If only all Mondays could start like this. So here’s a big ‘thank you’ for helping us out on this one: THANK YOU! A lot of people wrote back that they didn’t understand a word of…

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We need your vote!

Dear spaghetti monster aficionados,  We have some wonderfully stringy news!  Your favorite bedtime stories have been nominated for the annual Digital Humanities Awards in the category ‘Best DH blog post or series of posts’! So what we need now are votes. Now is YOUR chance, dear readers, to shine!  Simply go to the voting page, scroll to the bottom and click on the link to the Google document, and select ‘Six degrees of Spaghetti Monsters’ in the last category. It will literally only take up a couple of seconds of your time (you don’t need to vote for the other categories)! Also, feel free to pester friends, family, colleagues, your next-door neighbour’s dog, … into casting their vote as well. Unfortunately, we can’t promise you high hats, monocles and rainbow-colored unicorns. There are fairy godmothers for those kind of things. But we can promise you eternal gratitude! Yours truly,Your DataNinjas PS: Bet you’re glad you don’t have to vote for these guys anymore, huh?

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Sigma.js export plugin for Gephi

Dear tater tots, It is with utmost joy, enlightened rapture, and a bar of celebratory Belgian chocolate in my hand that I write this post today. For the past ten days, and the following eleven weeks I have banished myself to a quaint little Dutch canal town called Leiden to get a taste of ‘international mobility’ and ‘internationalization’, of which the academic world is so very fond. Now, I don’t mind peeking over hedges and borders once in a while, as long as the curtains remain drawn in crucial places. This way, I found out that my ivy was growing into my next-door neighbor’s bathroom, who had left for prison a couple of years before and forgot to close the window on his way out. Not knowing what he was charged for, I rather didn’t take any risks and removed all traces of this floral intrusion immediately. On another occasion, while coming home from work on a not so particularly hot and humid day, I happened to look into a living room a couple of doors away, to find its owner spread out on the couch in front of the window, with nothing wrapped around his chunky frame but a mucky pair of undies, a grimy tank top even Onslow would shy away from, one hand clasped around a XL can of beer, the other lazily scratching his balls, giving me a disgusting grin when he noticed my intrusive glance. Would it kill to get a pair of G-Stars for…

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