Mapping Visions of Rome

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Susanna de Beer (LUCAS, Leiden University), funded by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), LUF (Leiden University Fund) and NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences), project website, public user interface.

"As part of a book project I was looking for a database environment in which I could organize and annotate a collection of (Renaissance) Latin poetry related to the city and symbol of Rome. When I came across nodegoat via de project ‘Mapping Nodes and Notes in Networks’ I immediately realized that this was what I needed. In nodegoat I could create exactly the kind of database structure I had in mind, and could benefit from the built-in chronological and geographical visualization options.

In Mapping Visions of Rome I can annotate the full text of my primary sources according to the elements of the Roman legacy they refer to and include information about these sources that place them in a specific historical and artistic context (also by linking dynamically to other resources). The annotations not only help me to understand the individual texts better, but also allow me to navigate through my material from different perspectives, in order to trace, for example, a specific Roman monument, literary motif or person, identify works that have been made within the same patronage network, or look for chronological or geographical trends."

View of the Object 'Landino Cristoforo Xandra 2.30 (De Roma fere diruta)' in the Type 'Text'.

"Since these poems often concern specific locations, the geographical visualization is especially useful and attractive. Numerous Renaissance poets included literary walks through Rome in their works, modelled on a famous passage in Virgil’s epic poem, the Aeneid. Using nodegoat I reconstructed a selection of these walks on the map of Rome, showing that these poets were not only interested in literary imitation, but also invested in a correct rendering of the topography of Rome."

Geographic visualisation of the Virgilian walk Petrarca.
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Building the Portuguese Empire in the 19th Century

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Alice Santiago Faria (CHAM, FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, and Universidade dos Açores), funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia through national funds from Ministério da Educação e Ciência, project website.

"I was looking for and experimenting network analysis software and hadn’t made up my mind – one of my problems was that no software seemed to respond to what I wanted to do and I had to shape my data and my questions to it – when I come across nodegoat.

I’m trying to explore a method of understanding the Colonial Public Works as a system of mobility’s, in which heterogeneous actors interact and shape one another in different ways, changing the built environment across geographies. So, one of my problems was that I wanted to work with a large heterogeneous dataset and to have control of the data. nodegoat was a perfect answer to my problems since is an object-oriented software and can be used to design your own datasets with great liberty. Moreover, it combines a set of unique possibilities that are really helpful for my work: the analysis of relations with spatial and chronological contextualization; it allows one to move smoothly from a micro (individual) to macro scale (collective) and back; it is possible to produce different types of analysis.

Furthermore, it is designed thinking of historical data - therefore, incomplete data is not a big problem - and it allows linking each piece of data (in many types, typical historical references but also linking data from the web, to images, etc.) to its source, maintaining the 'control' I was looking for."

View of the Object 'Casa do comando do reino de Lautém' in the Type 'Works'.
Geographic visualisation of all the Objects in the Type 'Person', including the Sub-Objects 'Birth', 'Death', 'Education', 'Post', and 'Travels'.
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Reconstructing the Phillipps Collection (Phillipps pilot)

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Toby Burrows (School of Humanities, University of Western Australia, and Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), funded by an European Union Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (2014-2016), project website, public user interface.

"Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) put together the largest personal collection of European manuscripts ever assembled, containing as many as 60,000 items. The manuscripts had varied geographical origins, were written in many different languages, and covered a wide range of subjects and topics. Their dispersal took place gradually over more than one hundred years after Phillipps’ death, and their modern locations are spread across the globe.

The aim of this project is to trace the history of these manuscripts, and to map the provenance events and ownership networks which are embodied in that history. This involves bringing together heterogenous data from a variety of sources, constructing a data model to harmonize the data, and visualizing the data in the form of maps and graphs.

nodegoat is the software platform I chose for the project. It enabled me to build my own data model, which combines descriptions of individual manuscripts with ownership events in their history. Data can be uploaded in batch from spreadsheets, as well as entered through customized input forms. The provenance histories can be viewed as geographical trajectories over the centuries, and can also be displayed as time-based network graphs. nodegoat is the ideal vehicle for my explorations of manuscript histories."

View of the Object 'Phillipps MS 3902' in the Type 'Manuscripts'.
Geographic visualisation of all the Objects in the Type 'Manuscripts', including the Sub-Objects 'Manuscript Sold', 'Manuscript Described In', 'Manuscript Owned', 'Manuscript Produced'.
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Getting forgotten within the world of learning, 18th - 20th centuries

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Tobias Winnerling (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)

"I needed a tool for diachronic visualization of network data as I wanted to focus on networks which break down, peter out, and dwindle away over time. My project aims at reconstructing the processes at work when scholars drop out of the memory of the world of learning. I had two assumptions to start with: Scholars are forgotten when they are no longer referenced, cited, talked and written about; and almost all scholars get forgotten over time.

While struggling to find a method to investigate these processes and a tool to carry it out, I came across nodegoat and was intrigued by its flexibility and capacities of diachronic visualization from the start. So I decided to design my project as an inverted reception analysis in the form of a network study – after all, any reference to a scholar constiutes a relation between a referrer and the one who is referred to. Publications, letters, quotations, citations, references and meetings all were to figure as parts of this network originating from a few exemplary persons, and the huge freedom of configuration nodegoat allows has helped me a lot in curating these data and understanding the relations between them. As I do not have figured out the full range of possibilities yet, I am still working on my data model."

Social visualization of 727 letters (with over 1400 Sub-Objects) from the enlarged circle of persons, pointing to the centrality of Eusebè Renaudot (1646-1720).
Geographical visualization of 532 persons (with almost 3.000 Sub-Objects) related to the four main protagonists of the study, showing a clear North-South pattern.
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Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks

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Ingeborg van Vugt, PhD in early modern history (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa / University of Amsterdam).

"nodegoat allows me to curate and combine efficiently both data coming from archival research and retrieved from larger datasets into one interface. This results in an environment that includes data on more than 20.000 correspondences, written between scholars in the Dutch Republic and Tuscany in the seventeenth century. nodegoat enables me to map not only the overall structure of that network in interactive visualizations, but it highlights also the finest detail of that network structure.This means that I can represent not only the sender and the receiver of the letters, but I can provide a richer version of that network by including data on early modern books, authors and publishers.

nodegoat has become an invaluable asset to my workflow. It supports me to import, curate, clean, explore and visualize every possible combination of data, enabling me to see and explore connections I would otherwise never have thought of. Moreover, the possibility to link nodegoat directly to the VIAF and the Short Title Catalogue offers me transparency and control over my data, making it easier to share and re-use my dataset afterwards."

View of the Object of a letter sent by Jean le Clerc to Marco Antonio Magliabechi on 10-10-1709.
Social visualisation of over 1900 Objects in the Type 'Letter', including all the relationships tagged in the transcript of the letters (e.g. artifacts, people, places, letters, introductions), plus the relationships as identified in the metadata of the letters (e.g. sender, receiver, part correspondence, subject, enclosed artifact).
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