Blog Post 5

Digital Humanities was necessary for the Kindred Britain project to be created. Without the blog entry, “The Events at Henley,” posted on the Internet, this story never would have been pieced together and the network of people involved never would have been connected. The author posted this blog about the murders in his family background, and not long after received an email from Anthony Andrews, a retired British army officer. After discussing this project for a while and not coming up with much, the two moved on to tracing the genealogy of other British families like W. H. Auden. Doing so, they connected a vast network of British families that spanned 12 centuries and 30,000 people, which is how Kindred Britain came to be.

The author wanted this project to be a comprehensive study of family lines so it does not focus on just a few families in detail. Some famous names like Jane Austen and Shakespeare are included in this network and it links them to other famous and non-famous British people across time. The network also does not provide biographical information on these famous people but attempts to contextualize them and provide another way of looking at their lives by looking at their families.

The network titled “Family Relations Near Edward I as a Network” is interesting and I think we could use a similar one in our own project. Instead of showing family relationships through the network, we could use a similar looking network to map letter correspondence between Tom Carter, Ezra Pound, and the other author’s Tom Carter wrote to (suggested by Ezra Pound).

Based on our class sessions and the guest speaker today (Professor Eastwood), I’ve definitely learned how to interpret different visual networks and understand the information they convey. Probably the most interesting part of today’s discussion with Professor Eastwood was when he demonstrated how networks can look very different but convey the exact same information. But, how you choose to display to same information can still affect how people interpret it. For example, as Professor Eastwood pointed out, if a node is placed closer to the center of the network graph, the audience would instinctively think that node is more central to the network, even if it is not necessarily true. So, the layout of a network is also important to think about, even if the information stays the same.