Marc Smith: Taking snapshots of virtual communities

Marc A. Smith on why the internet has been a gift to sociologists and how a sociological perspective is useful in visualizing the shape of online communities. He observes that most human beings are equipped to respond quickly and intelligently to visual information. And because information visualization is designed to transmit data insights to a human observer, it represents “one of the most humanist corners of the computer sciences.”

I.8 Treemap View of 2004 Usenet Returnees

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.