Using Onodo to Learn Network Analysis and Visualisation

During our seminar on Network Analysis and Visualisation in DH6010/6019 this past semester as a group we enjoyed a case study involving network analysis of the Star Wars characters presented by Evelina Gabasova ( She does a superb job of combining analysis, explaining her methodology, deriving some fascinating deductions – all with a fun cinematically familiar network. The familiarity combined with Gabasova’s well crafted blog posts really helped everyone grasp the basic precepts of graph theory and set up hands-on network visualisation instruction using Gephi.
Screenshot 2016-08-16 16.33.22
One of the challenges in approaching and using Gephi ( is that it has so much flexibility, power and such powerful capabilities that is can be off-putting for new users. The interface is not immediately intuitive and even with many of its panels minimised it tends to scare people off. It takes time and a deeper understanding of graph theory to appreciate its benefits and to be able to use it effectively – especially for analysis.

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Pondering Sidenotes

Screenshot 2016-07-11 10.09.19The last week found me teasing out techniques for working with sidenotes as alternative to footnotes or endnotes. In a contentually brilliant PhD Dissertation on timelines as a digital collection visualisation tool – I was concurrently impressed by the quality of the layout of the entire dissertation to enhance readability. Florian Kräutli’s dissertation  is a great example of having some latitude to take the reader into account and make the content of a PhD dissertation usable beyond merely submitting it to check a box. Continue reading

Clever, Clever, Clever Data Visualisation and Property Prices

I am sure I should have seen this before. is amazingly integrated property locating service that utilises seme well crafted data visualisation to provide access and context to data – and ultimately to inform the property location process.
In 2008 when I moved to Dublin it seemed natural to me, given what it is I was doing and still do, to create a mashup of data to find a place to live. I scraped data from (there was no API) to provide rental property prices and property specifications. As at the time lacked a geospatial presentation, I used Yahoo Pipes (since deceased) to create an interactive map using Google’s offering. This was serious rocket science (at the time). Shortly thereafter, maps displaying selected datasets on property sites became common place.
Screenshot 2015-09-29 12.54.27Today, takes into the beyond, by mashing on additional life logistical datasets and In the specific case of what caught my eye today – mapping property prices to the London Tube Map. I was impressed to see a static map this morning showing the tube map with median property values attached to tube stations. Neat. Cool enough. Tracing back to the Findproperly website I discovered massively interactive and impressive data visualisations that approach the property search from multiple vectors (quality of life metrics, commuting distance, public transit use, even cycle routes. All are available under the appropriately denoted menu item ‘Cool Things’! I love that they qualify the cool things as New!, Popular or Actually Useful! ;-)

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I Like My Leap!

leapWe all know that Shawn loves his mobile phones. It’s constant quest to find the optimal UX to suit my needs, sense of aesthetics and visual challenges. Last week, through the generosity of conference organisers I picked up a BlackBerry Leap running BB10.3. It’s oddly (perhaps) the second BB I have personally used (I was tempted by the Passport – hey, I do really like different – but it was too pricey for a discretionary purchase).
Back in 1998 we (my business partners and I) acquired little inter@ctive 950‘s – in front of the market and the cherished gadget of choice amongst techie geeks. It wedded me to being connected at the hip to my co-workers and being able to share an immediate experience across distances via a ‘smart’ communication device. I was asked to return my 900 when I parted company with Ardesic in 2001 and strangely despite being quite enamoured of my BB experience fought the urge to be so connected. I hear snickers at that line from those that know me. Continue reading

Software as a Media for Thinking

I was thrilled to attend a presentation by Lev Manovich at the Trinity CTVR on the 6th Sept on ‘Cultural Analytics: How to use big data to unlearn what we know?’

manovichThe experience was inspiring and enthralling and my thanks to Karolina B for passing along her ticket. Manovich reviewed a number of his more prominent projects ranging from earlier work visualising large (and complete) collections of magazine covers and magazine pages as reflections of social culture. He also shared more recent work exploring image data from social media to identify similar cultural patterns and to disctinguish between the way in which ‘social’ media is constructed.

Manovich’s project material is publicly accessible at: Continue reading

On Kindred Britain: Are we are all one big clique?

One of the more exciting – for me personally at least – digital humanities projects that I have come across this year is Kindred Britain.

Kindred Britain is a network of nearly 30,000 individuals — many of them iconic figures in British culture — connected through family relationships of blood, marriage, or affiliation. It is a vision of the nation’s history as a giant family affair.


So, it sounds like it is a basically a visualisation or interactive version of the Dictionary of National Biography. But …. no it is in fact so much more. Continue reading

Visualising the Vote Count

Screenshot 2014-05-30 at 07.58.47 - Edited (1)Well, it’s another election passed for me in Ireland. Ireland went to the polls last Friday and turnout was a respectable well above 50% of eligible voters stating their preferences. A few tight runs and a few surprises. The process of the count here is fascinating for me as a Canadian. Staying up a few hours after the polls close in Canada and you pretty much know the shape of the government to be, where in Ireland the full process in guaranteed to take days to complete. Continue reading

Telling Digital Stories with StoryMapJS

The bank holiday affords the luxury of playing around with all the little bits of code and technology that one saves for that oft too often mythical ‘later’. I found a bit of later today and decided to try out StoryMap JS Authoring Tool – a really handy and user friendly implementation with the spatial side of their stunning Timeline JS  tool (used very nicely for example in the recent Hilda Tweedy Archive project at Trinity College Dublin). My humble project below (also available via their own CDN The McAteers in Guelph) repurposes some bits from an article I published 12 years ago looking at a particular family’s experience in the later Victorian hotel trade in Canada as exemplar of the wider evolution of the trade.

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