Blog Post #5

I thought the part about how the scholars decided to keep the design for “Kindred Britain” very simple is both interesting and relevant to our project. I am generally very interested in graphic design and spatial layout, so I like to see the thought behind the aesthetic design of things. I thought their reasoning was very sound, in that it is easiest for the eye to follow simple designs. They did not want a complicated aesthetic design to detract from the information, which is also very complicated. This is why they used a monotone color scheme and circles rather than bright colors or a more intricate shape. I think keeping the graphic design, color scheme, and design of our project simple would be beneficial, since we will likely have a lot of potentially confusing information. We do not want the design to detract from the information, or confuse the viewer.



Furthermore, I like how the author deciphered between explanatory and exploratory tools. This goes hand in hand with what Professor Eastwood said about descriptive vs. inferential statistics. “Kindred Britain” not only presents the data in an organized and systematic way, but also analyzes it and tells stories about it. Most social networking projects are only able to incorporate either exploratory or explanatory tools, but Kindred Britain exhibits both. I think our project will also be able to incorporate descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as explanatory and exploratory tools. We will present the data in an organized way and make sense of it, but also be able to analyze it and tell stories about it by explaining the context in which each letter was written, and showing the article that each author wrote. Based on what this author had to say, I think this will be a huge strength for our project.


Before Professor Eastwood spoke to our class, I was not aware that social network graphs could have different weights or signs. This is applicable to our project, because Tom Carter inevitably had more correspondence with some authors than others, which would affect the weight of the edge. Furthermore, many of Tom Carter’s letters were unanswered, which would affect the sign of the relationship. Adding sign and weight adds an extra element of precision to the social network graph. I think it would be most interesting to replicate figure #14, which looks like the social network graphs that Professor Eastwood showed us, and the research profiles at King’s College. It is the most basic social network graph, and lays out individual connections between people. This would allow us to see the people with the highest degree centrality, and also identify different communities. This graph is an example of an explanatory tool, since it does not analyze the data, it simply organizes it.