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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010

    At my place of work (a research company) I am running a trial project to get an nlab clone off the ground. One thing I would like to produce to help my cause is a map of the nlab. Now clearly we don’t want all of the pages to be represented, because there are a large number of stubby pages, people pages, meta pages and so on. But somehow completely discounting these would skew the data in favour of big pages that are popular, and wouldn’t accurately display the conceptual girth of the lab. This should also be handy for those wanting some statistics on say interview/review panels (or wikipedia, for example?) to let them know the nlab is not some backyard hobby.

    What I would like is suggestions for what sort of data a usable map would show. The technical details of how to do this can wait for now.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010

    One thing I would like to produce … is a map of the nlab.

    Hmm, no bites.

    here are some things I emailed to Andrew in proposing the idea. First thought:

    I was wondering if there is some sort of software that will allow one (me, or you, if you think it is work your time) to come up with a conceptual/actual map of the nlab. Maybe like a directed graph, but with the nodes weighted by a pagerank style algorithm or something. I’m just blathering, because I really have no idea what is technically feasible. Even just a fairly high-level thing (no more than the top* 50 pages (*by size, or recent activity, or links to/from/both, or all of these) would be good.

    and second thought:

    Perhaps something like only keeping the highly connected pages. This means basically trimming nodes off the graph with few connections to or from. Any page that has a floating sidebar could be listed as a name, but all other pages will be literally nodes, perhaps colour-coded into rough areas (cohomology red, geometry (a la Zoran) blue, (oo,1)-categories orange, physics black etc) But thinking about it, this would be a lot of work, and is probably a bad idea.

    This would be a great way to popularise the nlab, if this is the sort of thing we want, and if, down the track, someone finds the project interesting enough to write an article about it may come in handy. (be it blog or more traditional forms of communication, say a followup to John B’s article on blogging or (gasp) New Scientist (this may be down the track a bit, and perhaps I’m fantasising a little. But it’s not unconceivable)).

    Does anyone remember those social scientists who were watching the cafe and lab? I wonder if they have any tools that could be useful (I know people like to map social networks)? Are ’they’ still watching us? Does anyone know how to reach ’them’? :P

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010
    • (edited May 10th 2010)

    Does anyone remember those social scientists... tools...

    When I quote you out of context like this, it makes me [s]look[/s] feel cool.

    (By the way, for some reason on the standard markdown thingy, I can't use strikeouts. I get a huge error.)

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010
    • (edited May 10th 2010)

    One overly simplistic possibility is TagCrowd. Try going there and pasting

    http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/HomePage

    in the url box. Words need to be excluded (via ’create custom stoplist’), like ’changes’, ’edit’, ’committee’, ’community’ and the like (meta words generally) but we would include things like names. If you try

    http://www.math.ntnu.no/~stacey/Vanilla/nForum/?CategoryID=0

    then there are much more meta words that need excluding, but it is an interesting exercise to see what personal names come up ;)

    (Thanks to Mike Stay’s blog where I got the TagCrowd link. Perhaps he has some ideas for the map? Someone give him a poke for me…)

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010
    • (edited May 10th 2010)

    Hmm, no bites.

    Hi David,

    I, for onee, can’t say much of help that you haven’t said yourself yet. I’d b interested in whatever one can get to work, though. But it seems good to first look at examples of what people already did. Has anything like this been attempted for Wikipedia?

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010

    I have seen a pretty good report that mapped wikipedia (among other sites) and was generally a good reference for social software statistics. It exists. If I can find it again, I’ll send it, but it was a couple years ago.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010
    • (edited May 10th 2010)

    Sorry for not linking the following. I assume people are not put off by cut and paste too much.

    http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project_details.cfm?id=702&index=702&domain=

    is another idea (minus the pictures, of course). Or

    http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project_details.cfm?id=706&index=706&domain=

    Or even

    http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project_details.cfm?id=688&index=688&domain=

    edit: one more:

    http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project_details.cfm?id=711&index=711&domain=

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2010

    Actually this one is quite close:

    http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project.cfm?id=182

    unfortunately the link to the actual project page is gone. But you get the idea. I’ll stop with the addresses.

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