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HNR Workshop 2015

To Mine and to Tie: Text Mining and Network Analysis for Historians (April 10th - 12th 2015)

The 9th event in the series „Historical Network Research“ – a workshop for semantical-social networks – took place at Ruhr University Bochum in April 2015. The workshop series offered first insights into the methodology as well as a platform for exchanging the latest techniques in network analysis to all interested researchers of all fields of study. With this aim, the workshop in Bochum dealt with the text mining method which enables an increased automation of creation of networks. Additionally, the question concerning the dimension of texts represented this way was taken into consideration. Here, with semantical-social networks you can deal with terminological and conceptual contexts on one hand, and, on the other hand, with the relationships between entities.

To participants without prior experience, the workshop showed how relationships between words and/or entities can be extracted out of a text and visualized without previous data recording by hand, e. g. in a chart. On Friday morning, before the official opening of the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to take part in an introduction to the programming languages Python and/or R. During the workshop there was also a comprehensive session dealing with the visualization program Gephi.

Furthermore, the participants gained insights into the following fields:

  • Characteristics that a text should have in order to create a network out of it
  • Possibilities to improve the quality of a network
  • Useful tools and programs for creating a network
  • Questions that can be answered by semantical-social network analysis

The goal of this workshop was to show how to “mine” a text at first in order to “tie” a network.