Overview Of Network Analysis Platforms
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Overview Of Network Analysis Platforms Overview Of Network Analysis Platforms Presentation Transcript

  • Overview of Common Social Network Analysis Software Platforms
  • Overview and Methodology
      • Authors
        • This report was developed by the Philanthropy and Networks Exploration, a partnership between the Packard Foundation and Monitor Institute. The exploration is an inquiry into how networks can facilitate greater philanthropic effectiveness
        • For more information, please go to http://www.philanthropyandnetworks.org
      • Purpose
        • The guide is intended to provide an overview of social network analysis tools available
        • For each tool we outline the primary application as well as the pros and cons for each platform
      • Sources and Methodology
        • Software tools were identified from:
          • The International Network for Social Network Analysis’s software catalogue 1
          • Social network literature 2
          • Resources made available online by social network analysis experts including Bruce Hoppe, Steve Borgatti, and Valdis Krebs
        • Comments on usability and functionality are based on our initial experimentation with those tools that could be downloaded for use; the exception is Smart Networks Analyzer, which we have used more extensively
    • http://www.insna.org/INSNA/soft_inf.html
    • Huisman, M. & van Duijn, M. A. J. (2005). Software for Social Network Analysis. In Peter J. Carrington, John Scott, & Stanley Wasserman (Eds.) "Models and Methods in Social Network Analysis" (pp. 270-316). Cambridge University Press.
  • Summary of Social Network Analysis Tool Types Type Description Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools
      • Often used in academic settings and intended for the most sophisticated types of social network analysis
      • Often built for performance as opposed to usability
      • User guides and help files are not comprehensive or are written for more sophisticated audiences
      • Example: UCINET
      • Used in more general settings, including corporate environments
      • Built with the user in mind and tend to be more intuitive and easier to use than tools for primarily academic applications
      • Software help files are more comprehensive and user guides are written for a general user audience
      • Example: NetMiner
      • Can be used by users less familiar with social network analysis
      • Tools are built without complex functionality and are very easy to navigate and use
      • Help files are simple and clear
      • Example: Smart Network Analyzer
    The SNA tools we surveyed can be broken into the following broad categories: Online Tools That Enable Visualization of Preexisting User Generated Data
      • Used to analyze existing data made available by users
      • Often simple to use with intuitive functionality
      • Example: Xigi
  • Release Timeline
    • A partial history of when social network analysis tools first emerged, based on the limited information available on software release dates:
    • 1987 : UCINET
    • 1996 : Pajek
    • 1998 : StOCNET
    • 1999 : Otter
    • 2001 : NetVis Module, NetMiner
    • 2002 : Visone
    • 2004 : Cross Network Analytics
    • 2007 : Sentinel Visualizer, Friend Wheel, ONA Surveys, Net-Map Toolbox
    • 2008 : ManyEyes, Nexus, Mutual Friend Network Visualization, TouchGraph Navigator, KeyHubs
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: UCINET / NetDraw
    • UCINET / NetDraw
      • URL : http://www.analytictech.com
      • Description :
        • UCINET is a downloadable software program that can read and write social network data files
        • NetDraw is bundled with UCINET and used to read and display network visualizations
        • UCINET is widely used in academia
        • The UCINET file format can be used with a number of other analysis and visualization platforms
      • Environments : Primarily used in academic environments; UCINET is also used by consultants that have developed customized versions of the software to suit more specific needs
      • Cost : Free for individual use; $250 for a business license
      • Released: 1987
      • Pros :
        • Significant flexibility to import data from different files formats, including Excel
        • Can support more complex types of network analysis; compatible with many different visualization platforms
      • Cons :
        • More difficult to use for simple social network analysis tasks
        • Online help resources are intended for more sophisticated audiences
        • Difficult to filter data that is being viewed
        • NetDraw’s visualization does not allow for formatting of output
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: ONA Surveys
    • UCINET / NetDraw
      • URL : http://www.onasurveys.com/
      • Description :
        • A survey data processing tool that creates output for use in UCINET / NetDraw
      • Environments : Primarily used in academic environments; UCINET is also used by consultants that have developed customized versions of the software to suit more specific needs
      • Cost : Free for limited features, $40/mo for nonprofit use
    NEW
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • GUESS
      • URL : http://graphexploration.cond.org
      • Description : A data analysis and visualization tool for graphs and networks
      • Environments : Academic
      • Cost : Free
      • Pros : Multiple visualization options, ability to customize and modify the GUESS interface
      • Cons : Utilizes a console for users to enter in commands; potentially more difficult for newer users
    • StOCNET
      • URL : http://stat.gamma.rug.nl/stocnet
      • Description : An open source platform for more advanced social network analysis including network statistics and visual modeling
      • Environments : Academic
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 1998
      • Pros : Incorporates modern advanced statistical methods into a software tool
      • Cons : Difficult to use; documentation has not been updated; output is not easy to manipulate
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • Otter
      • URL : http://www.caida.org/tools/visualization/otter/
      • Description : Otter is used for visualizing a variety of types of network data, including Internet data, topology data, and web site structure data
      • Environments : Academic
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 1999
      • Pros : Able to handle many different types of formatted data sets
      • Cons : Limited functionality for formatting output and filtering nodes
    • NetVis Module
      • URL : http://www.netvis.org/
      • Description : An open source web-based tool to analyze and visualize social networks using data from Excel files and online surveys
      • Environments : Academic
      • Release year: 2001
      • Cost : Free
      • Pros : Web-based, simple for users to load data
      • Cons : Slow to process data; complicated user interface; limited visualization functionality for formatting output
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • Pajek
      • URL : http://pajek.imfm.si/doku.php
      • Description : A program used for the analysis and visualization of large networks
      • Environments : Academic
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 1996
      • Pros : Good online documentation for using the software; advanced functionality for analyzing data
      • Cons : Difficult to use; primarily intended for more complex mappings of very large networks
    • SoNIA
      • URL : http://www.stanford.edu/group/sonia/
      • Description : A Java-based platform for visualizing longitudinal network data that shows how networks are formed over time
      • Environments : Academic
      • Cost : Free
      • Pros : Relatively simple to use
      • Cons : Lacks advanced functionality for formatting output; primarily intended for longitudinal data that shows the evolution and change of networks over time
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • Commetrix
      • URL : http://www.commetrix.de/
      • Description (from Wikipedia) : “Commetrix is a Software Framework and Tool for Dynamic Network Analysis and Visualization. It provides easy exploratory access to network graphs and has been applied to study co-authorship, Instant Messaging, manual SNA surveys, e-mail, newsgroups, etc. Each node and each linking event can have properties, e.g. types of messages or rank of nodes, but also types, topics, or time stamps. This allows animations of network growth, structural change, and topic diffusion. A short introductory video is available on the website.”
      • Environments : Any
      • Cost : Unknown, commercial licenses are available but nonprofit use may be free
    NEW
  • Advanced / Academic Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • SocNetV
      • URL : http://socnetv.sourceforge.net/index.html
      • Description (from the website) : “Social Networks Visualiser (SocNetV) is a flexible and user-friendly tool for the analysis and visualisation of Social Networks. It lets you construct networks (mathematical graphs) with a few clicks on a virtual canvas or load networks of various formats (GraphViz, GraphML, Adjacency, Pajek, UCINET, etc) and modify them to suit your needs. The application can compute basic network properties, such as density, diameter and distances (shortest path lengths), as well as more advanced structural statistics, such as node and network centralities (i.e. closeness, betweeness, graph), clustering coefficient, etc.”
      • Environments : Any
      • Cost : Free (open-source)
    NEW
  • Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: NetMiner
    • NetMiner
      • URL : www.netminer.com
      • Description :
        • NetMiner is an software tool for exploratory analysis and visualization of network data
        • The tool is able to handle large amounts of data and enables the user to conduct both simple and more advanced types of analysis, including a number of statistical procedures
        • Data can be visualized based on several different types of network visualization algorithms and statistical results can be charted using graphs
      • Environments : Because NetMiner is both user friendly and statistically powerful, it is suitable for a range of audiences including academic, corporate, and general consumer use
      • Released: 2001
      • Cost : Student use – $40; Commercial use – $980
      • Pros :
        • Convenient and intuitive user interface, easy to use for less advanced users
        • Good user support through help files built into the platform as well documentation on using the software online
        • Advanced functionality to conduct multiple types of statistical analyses and visualizations
      • Cons :
        • Requires a basic level of technical sophistication and familiarity with social network analysis
  • Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Visone
    • Visone
      • URL : http://visone.info/
      • Description :
        • Used for the research and teaching of social network analysis.
        • Run in JAVA and can be downloaded or used via the web
        • Enables the user to run multiple types of visualizations based on common scientific algorithms; users can also calculate metrics based on social network data
      • Environments : Visone is commonly used in academic environments; it is also suitable for a wider audience because it is more affordable and easier to use than most academic platforms with similar functionality
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2002
      • Pros :
        • Clean looking and intuitive user interface
        • Advanced capability to output multiple types of visualizations
      • Cons :
        • Lack of help files integrated within the software platform
        • Online user’s manual to conducting analyses is not comprehensive and other online software documentation is intended for more sophisticated academic audiences
  • Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • InFlow (Valdis Krebs)
      • URL : http://www.orgnet.com/inflow3.html
      • Description : InFlow is a set of proprietary network tools for visualizing and analyzing networks based on user generated data to determine where gaps and effective network connections exist
      • Environments : Corporate, academic, non-profit
      • Cost : $995 per seat and site license options
      • Pros : Good reputation; user friendly; includes visualization and metrics
      • Cons : JAVA platform can sometimes be slow; data must be precisely formatted
    • Network Evaluation Tool (Cross Network Analytics)
      • URL : https://webapp.comm.virginia.edu/NetworkRoundtable/
      • Description : Automates data collection and social network analysis; only available to Network Roundtable (Rob Cross’s consultancy) members
      • Environments : Corporate
      • Released: 2004
      • Cost : Network Roundtable membership ($12,500 per year)
      • Pros : Appears to have advanced functionality
      • Cons : Requires membership to Network Roundtable
  • Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • Sentinel Visualizer
      • URL : http://www.fmsasg.com/Products/SentinelVisualizer/
      • Description : Advanced proprietary social network analysis tool intended for government and corporate use; target audiences include intelligence analysts, law enforcement, investigators, and researchers
      • Environments : Government, corporate
      • Released: 2007
      • Cost : $2,500 per user
      • Pros : Advanced capabilities for visualizing social networks in alternative formats, such as geospatial views, timelines, and 3D displays
      • Cons : More expensive than many other options
  • Accessible but Advanced Social Network Analysis Tools Other Tools
    • TouchGraph Navigator
      • URL : http://www.touchgraph.com/navigator.html
      • Description : A powerful network graphing tool that has reasonably strong database features.
      • Environments : Organizations
      • Released: 2008
      • Cost : $500 per copy
      • Pros :
        • Attractive output
        • Powerful filters
        • Clustering
        • Uses the network diagram as an interface for organizing and accessing additional data tables
      • Cons :
        • Not free (although not pricey)
        • Not as simple to use
        • Not web-based unless you want to pay a high fee
    NEW
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Smart Networks Analyzer
    • Smart Networks Analyzer (Developed by Valdis Krebs, used by June Holley)
      • URL : N/A
      • Description :
        • A simplified version of Valdis Krebs’s InFlow that is run through a desktop software platform
        • Allows the user to simply view and analyze social network data imported from a formatted text file
      • Environments : Primarily non-profit organizations
      • Cost : Consulting (training) and licensing fee
      • Pros :
        • Very easy for non-experts in social network analysis to format data files
        • Enables users to simply load, filter, and visualize data
        • Intuitive user interface that allows user to filter data by network and node attribute
      • Cons :
        • Lacks more advanced functionality for using complex and scientific visualization algorithms
        • Inability to do complicated formatting of output, including setting the coloring and shape of nodes
        • Software can be slow, especially when conducting visualizations and exporting images
        • Software must be precisely formatted according to a number of rules
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Many Eyes
      • URL : http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/
      • Description :
        • A free general-purpose data visualization site that contains a simple network diagramming tool
        • Allows anyone to upload data to the library and visualize it using any one of a variety of types of diagrams
      • Environments : Cross-sectoral
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2008
      • Pros :
        • Quick to learn, free, and easy to use
      • Cons :
        • No advanced network analysis or visualization features
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Nexus
      • URL : http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2415325843#/apps/application.php?id=5303167721&ref=s
      • Description :
        • A visualization tool designed specifically for charting Facebook social networks
      • Environments : Facebook
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2008
      • Pros :
        • Visually attractive interface
        • Simple to use
        • Facebook integration
      • Cons :
        • Works only with Facebook and no other data source (or social networking site)
        • Just two charting modes with little further design flexibility
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Mutual Friend Network Visualization
      • URL : http://danielmclaren.net/node/77
      • Description :
        • A visualization tool designed specifically for charting Facebook social networks
      • Environments : Facebook
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2008
      • Pros :
        • Visually attractive interface
        • Simple to use
        • Facebook integration
      • Cons :
        • Works only with Facebook and no other data source (or social networking site)
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Friend Wheel
      • URL : http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2415325843
      • Description :
        • An alternative type of network diagram designed specifically for showing social networks on Facebook
      • Environments : Facebook
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2007
      • Pros :
        • Visually attractive output
        • Simple to use
        • Facebook integration
      • Cons :
        • Works only with Facebook and no other data source (or social networking site)
        • Ego-centric design is not effective for charting larger networks
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Facebook Visualizer
      • URL : http://vansande.org/facebook/visualiser/
      • Description :
        • A network diagram of Facebook friends that uses profile photos
      • Environments : Facebook
      • Cost : Free
      • Pros :
        • Shows friends’ actual faces
        • Facebook integration
        • Filters using a number of different variables
      • Cons :
        • Works only with Facebook and no other data source (or social networking site)
        • Slow and hard to navigate
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: TouchGraph Facebook
      • URL : http://www.touchgraph.com/TGFacebookBrowser.html
      • Description :
        • A network diagram of Facebook friends that uses profile photos
      • Environments : Facebook
      • Cost : Free
      • Pros :
        • Shows friends’ actual faces
        • Facebook integration
        • Powerful set of filters
        • Clusters are helpful for navigation
      • Cons :
        • Works only with Facebook and no other data source (or social networking site)
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Keyhubs
      • URL : http://www.keyhubs.com/
      • Description :
        • A network-diagramming web service designed specifically for surfacing informal networks in organizations
      • Environments : Organizations and other small groups
      • Cost : Free for surveys of up to 10 people, $99/mo for unlimited size
      • Released: 2008
      • Pros :
        • Includes survey features for gathering data
        • Simple and easy to use
      • Cons :
        • Works only with its own survey data
        • No advanced network analysis features
  • Simple, Easy to Use Social Network Analysis Tools In-Depth Profile: Net-Map Toolbox
      • URL : http://netmap.wordpress.com/
      • Description (from the website) :
        • “ Net-Map is an interview-based mapping tool that helps people understand, visualize, discuss, and improve situations in which many different actors influence outcomes. By creating Influence Network Maps, individuals and groups can clarify their own view of a situation, foster discussion, and develop a strategic approach to their networking activities. More specifically, Net-Map helps players to determine
          • what actors are involved in a given network,
          • how they are linked,
          • how influential they are, and
          • what their goals are.
        • Determining linkages, levels of influence, and goals allows users to be more strategic about how they act in these complex situations. It helps users to answer questions such as: Do you need to strengthen the links to an influential potential supporter (high influence, same goals)? Do you have to be aware of an influential actor who doesn’t share your goals? Can increased networking help empower your dis-empowered beneficiaries?
        • The tool is low-tech and low-cost and can be used when working with rural community members with low formal education as well as with policy makers or international development actors.”
      • Environments : Nonprofits and any small group
      • Cost : Free
      • Released: 2007
  • Online Tools That Enable Visualization of Preexisting User Generated Data
    • Xigi.net
      • URL : http://www.xigi.net/
      • Description : Utilizes data provided by users to create network maps showing connections among organizations and people
  • Survey Collection Tools
    • Network Genie
      • URL : https://secure.networkgenie.com
      • Description : Network Genie allows users to design and manage surveys for gathering data for social network maps
      • Environments : General use
      • Costs : Free
      • Pros : Free, web-based
      • Cons : Complicated user interface, limited functionality and customizability for advanced survey questions