Network Analysis for Homesteading

The project that I looked at is this:

Here are my answers to some of the questions on the assignment prompt:

•What are the nodes and what are the edges?

In this network, the nodes are the homesteaders and witnesses. That is, there are two types of nodes. An edge in this network is a line joining a node of one to a node of the other type. The edge represents a the witness-homesteader relationship. For example, if there is an edge connecting node A and node B, it means that B is a witness of homesteader A, or A is a witness of homesteader B.

•What interactions does the project allow?

The project lets us select one out of many networks (for eg T18N, R17W, Custer County, Nebraska). Then we can click on the nodes to obtain an array of information about the person such as Out-Degree, In-Degree. If a person has an Out-Degree of x, it means that x people witness him whereas an In-Degree of y means that he is the witness of y homesteaders. There’s a very helpful link called “More about this vizualization” that explains concisely how to make sense of the network so that we don’t have to guess. A good thing about this network is that we can zoom in to see clearly who is related to who.

•How was the project created?

The tool “Gephi” was used to detect communities in the network, but I don’t understand exactly how yet. It was found that each township developed approximately 8-9 distinct yet intersecting communities.


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