Text by Marcella Tambuscio

On February 14th the Digitising Maximilian team organised the workshop Networks and Digital History, hosted by IMAFO (ÖAW) in Vienna. The event had two goals: first, demonstrating to project researchers the potential of applying network science approaches to relational data (such as prosopographical data); and second, to give our colleagues the opportunity to discuss the feasibility of using these methods on their own datasets.

We invited two experts in the field  Martin Grandjean, a senior researcher and lecturer in Contemporary History and Digital Humanities at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), and Arash Badie-Modiri, a postdoctoral researcher at the Network and Data Science Department, at Central European University (Vienna).

The first talk was a general introduction to the use of networks in Humanities by Martin Grandjean. Second, Marcella Tambuscio from the Digitising team discussed specific applications of network analysis to digital history, especially concerning structure and centrality measures. Finally Arash Badie-Modiri showed some advanced techniques to model and analyse the temporality of connections.

The highly interdisciplinary nature of the event encouraged productive discussion among the participants during and after the talks. Martin Grandjean engaged in a debate around the statement that “networks are not objective”, reminding that a graph is just a model and, as all models, can be highly conditioned by how the data have been collected, for instance. Many questions highlighted the common misunderstanding that a network is just a “visualisation tool”: this gave the opportunity to clarify that the visualisation of a graph is certainly an immediate and useful way to show relational data, but that can be “tuned” according to each researcher’s requests and needs, meaning that every network is different and each visualisation can show several features of the data. Most importantly, it was consistently emphasised that networks could be created in many ways, then measured and compared, but it is crucial to start with a clear research question in order to model and create the most suitable representation for the given dataset.

If you want to know more:

Martin Grandjean’s paper and Youtube channel on network analysis and digital studies

Marcella Tambuscio’s paper

Arash Badie-Modir’s paper


Cite this blog post
Jonathan Dumont (2024, March 15). WORKSHOP | NETWORKS AND DIGITAL HISTORY, BY THE DIGITISING MAXIMILIAN TEAM. Managing Maximilian (1493-1519). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

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