SoNAR (IDH) Interfaces to data for historical social network analysis and research

Investigation and demonstration of research technology for historical network analysis. The project runs from July 2019 to July 2021 and is a cooperation between FH Potsdam (FHP/UCLAB), Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU), German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (SBB-PK) and Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (HHU).

The analysis of relationships between agents is key to understanding and explaining social phenomena. A lack of knowledge about the availability of suitable data, but also of relevant analysis technologies are frequently factors restraining the study of past events. In the last decades, cultural heritage organisations have produced an abundance of machine-readable data: (bibliographic and archival) metadata, full text collections, and sets of authority records contain multitudes of implicit and explicit statements about social relations.

SoNAR (IDH), Interfaces to Data for Historical Social Network Analysis and Research, will examine and evaluate approaches to build and operate an advanced research technology environment supporting Historical Network Analysis and related research. Project partners from various fields – historiography, information visualization, artificial intelligence and computer sciences as well as information science – work on this topic from their respective perspective.

The project will focus on particular aspects of the prospective research technology:

  1. Data preparation: creating automated methods of extracting entities and relations from bibliographic and archival metadata, full texts, and authority data (DFKI)
  2. Data management: ensuring the data complies with scientific requirements such as reproducibility of results, persistence of statements, and transparency of data provenance (DFKI)
  3. Research design: case-study based testing and evaluating of methods of Social Network Analysis with data prepared by promising components of the research technology (HHU)
  4. Visualization and interface design: an investigation of approaches to develop innovative concepts for interacting with data and visualizing graphs (FHP)
  5. Evaluation and quality assurance: analysing and evaluating the quality of (interim) results of work packages 1–4  (HU)
  6. Implementation: developing a concept for building and maintaining an adaptable research technology environment based on the results of work packages 1–5 (SBB-PK)

The role of the ᴜᴄʟᴀʙ comprises mainly the development of new visualization concepts/prototypes for explorative and descriptive analysis of the data, building on iterative ideation and prototyping processes in close collaboration with the other project partners.

Project partners:


Funded by:

This project is funded by German Research Foundation (DFG).


Publications Associated Publications

Unfolding Edges for Exploring Multivariate Edge Attributes in Graphs

— Poster at Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis), Zurich (Switzerland), 2021
With this research (→ poster version) we present an approach to network visualization that expands the capabilities for visual encoding and interactive exploration through edges in node-link diagrams. Compared to the various possibilities for visual and interactive properties of nodes, there are few techniques for interactive visualization of multivariate edge attributes in node-link diagrams. Visualization of edge attributes is oftentimes limited by occlusion and space issues of methods that globally encode attributes in a node-link diagram for all edges, not sufficiently exploiting the potential of interaction. Building up on existing techniques for edge encoding and interaction, we propose ‘Unfolding Edges’ as an exemplary use of an on-demand detail enhancing approach for exploration of multivariate edge attributes.

SoNAR (IDH): Datenschnittstellen für historische Netzwerkanalyse

  • Mark-Jan Bludau
  • Marian Dörk
  • Thorsten Halling
  • Elena Leitner
  • Sina Menzel
  • Gerhard Müller
  • Vivien Petras
  • Georg Rehm
  • Clemens Neudecker
  • David Zellhöfer
  • Julian Moreno-Schneider
— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2020 Paderborn - Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation, 2020
In diesem anwendungsbezogenen Forschungs- und Entwicklungsprojekt werden systematisch forschungsorientiert das Aufbereiten, Bereitstellen und Analysieren von Massendaten für den Aufbau einer Forschungstechnologie für die Historische Netzwerkanalyse (HNA), die als ein Zweig der SNA historische Fragestellungen untersucht, erprobt.