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The NodeXL Series: The NodeXL Graph Gallery (Part 1)

Intro Note:  NodeXL is an add-on to later versions of Microsoft Excel (on PCs, or virtual machine-enabled Macs), which enables the visualization of data in network diagrams.  It also enables the extraction of social media platform data from spaces such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and in a fairly limited way, Facebook.  With additional work, this may be used to conduct analysis of email networks, wiki and blog networks, and even Internet site networks.  This series highlights some of the basic functionalities of NodeXL.

In the spirit of Web 2.0, the NodeXL team sponsors a NodeXL Graph Gallery to showcase the work of its members.  These graphs show a variety of data sets. They also suggest at a variety of types of research around social networks and electronic social networks.

At the top level of the site, 24 graphs are visible (albeit with some required scrolling).

A basic perusal of this site shows a wide range of types of network graphs.  There is pagination at the bottom to view other sets of graphs.

If users click into a particular graph, they will be able to view graph metrics, such as the numbers of vertices and edges, the average geodesic distance, the network diameter, the graph density, and other data.

If the graph creators uploaded the NodeXL workbook and /or  the graph data as a GraphML file, these additional files may be downloaded by the user for further querying and visualization for in-depth analysis.

The graphs uploaded with the Graph ML version will also include an interactive version of the graph.

As an example, a recent #H5N1 hashtag search on Twitter resulted in the following graph.

An interactive version of the graph enables users to view a simplification of the initial graph.  By putting the cursor over the particular vertice or node, the individual’s name in this Twitter network will show.

The following shows a zoomed-in view of the above graph…focused on well-known health and science journalist and author, Laurie Garrett.

A lively Discussions area is available for users to interact with the NodeXL design team, which is highly responsive and supportive in their interactions.  Team lead Dr. Marc Smith Tweets fairly extensively.

NodeXL stands for Network Overview, Discovery, and Exploration for Excel.

Final Note:  NodeXL is a free and open-source tool that is available from Microsoft’s CodePlex site (which is a space for project hosting for open-source software), and it is sponsored by the Social Media Research Foundation.