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VennMaker for Historians: Sources, Social Networks and Software

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Author(s): Marten Düring | Matthias Bixler | Michael Kronenwett | Martin Stark

Journal: REDES : Revista Hispana para el Análisis de Redes Sociales
ISSN 1579-0185

Volume: 21;
Start page: 8e;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Visualization – Software – Data collection – Ancient History – Contemporary History

ABSTRACT
This paper explores the applicability of the software VennMaker to historical research. The paper draws on two case studies from current network-oriented historical research projects, covering different time periods and sources. VennMaker’s biggest advantage is that it inverts the process of data collection. While traditional software uses pre-coded data to produce a network map, VennMaker generates data while the researcher draws nodes and creates a network map. Prefabricated data matrices are no longer necessary; therefore, the software can easily be used by historians lacking training in the social sciences. Our two cases include an analysis of a family structure in ancient history and ego-networks of Jews in hiding during National Socialism. We argue that a visual representation of social relations helps to reveal unseen patterns and characteristics of networks therefore offering scholars new perspectives on their research subjects. The software offers a variety of tools to represent social relations and their development over time and space.
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