Digital Methodology: creating the network

To create this network, I used Atlas.ti, Gephi, Neatline, and WordPress.

First, I used Atlas.ti to code the committees noted in the Presbytery minutes. That way, I was able to see all mentions of a given committee at once to ensure that I didn’t miss any of the member names.

Screenshot of Presbytery minutes coded by committee


Next, I used Gephi, an open-source networking software, to map connections among the men according to their committee service. I transcribed the committee names from the Atlas.ti document into two CSV files, a node list and an edge list. I tinkered with various visualizations until I found one that best represented the data. All social network measurements were calculated inside the Gephi software.

Next, I used Neatline, a mapping plugin for Omeka, to make an interactive version of the network. I uploaded my static image into a Neatline exhibit to serve as my base “map,” and added “points” for each founder. Using this method, I was also able to add a description to each man’s circle.

Finally, I wrapped information around the network in a WordPress website. I wanted background and supplemental information about the network to be easily navigable. Putting all the extra text in Neatline would have been overwhelming. Viewers have to click outside the WordPress site to access the interactive version of the map hosted by Neatline, but separating these aspects resulted in a cleaner and clearer overall user experience.


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