Today’s reading demonstrates how social network analysis can be used to read the silences, the absences, and the failures of text to fill in detail. Â Lauren Klein’s article at ARCADE titled “When Reading Fails” today points to the difficulty of readingÂ James Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson’s cook and Sally Hemmings’ older brother. Â By mining the Jefferson papers, digitized at the University of Virginia, she visualizes Jefferson’s correspondence and learns that you can begin to see a story about Jefferson’s relationship to his staff by understanding the frequency and subjects about which he corresponded with them. Â What I find particularly interesting is her method of visualization. Â Rather than the usual “hairball” that typifies most SNA visualizations, this one uses a single line to track correspondence.
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