About 10 days ago I was asked by two friends (who do not know each other) for some information and literature on social networks. So after talking to them, I decided to document my self-study journey on social network analysis and the new(?) discipline that is called network science. I feel these two walk together hand in hand.
I first encountered SNA while reading the June 2007 Data Engineering Bulletin issue and especially Bernie Hogan’s “Using Information Networks to Study Social Behavior: An Appraisal” [pdf]. This must be the Data Engineering Bulletin issue that I have read the most. I remember being on vacation, having ideas flowing and calling Unique Fish in the middle of the night to discuss them.
It also happened that the next fall I was studying basic graph theory and I revisited the two Faloutsos3 papers on power laws and the Internet topology. I thought of toying around a bit more, but hey someone else had already written about “The Social Life of Routers” [pdf].
Digging some more, I came along the INSNA web site and their SOCNET mailing list (participation is free and the quality of conversations is excellent). From there I found out interesting stuff, the most interesting being: “Social Network Analysis“ (if you need a freely available book look at “Introduction to social network methods“), Mason Porter’s blog (which is fun to read anyway) Valdis Krebs‘ work (also @valdiskrebs) and some papers that I really liked, namely [pdf links]:
- “Catnets” (read also the Introduction, Preface and Postscript)
- “Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks” on the Watts and Strogatz model (There was even a workshop celebrating the tenth year since its publication)
- “The physics of networks“
- “Catching the network science bug” (and related commentary). From this paper I borrowed the title of this blog post
- Management Science: Special issue on Complex Systems
Last summer John Baras, while giving a presentation on the subject, suggested reading “Network Flows and Monotropic Optimization“ (and I have not regretted buying it) and Freeman‘s “The development of social network analysis“ is waiting next in line to be read.
The list could go on of course, but I’ll stop here.
Important disclaimer: The above is the product of my self-study effort on the subject. It is not to be taken as a suggested roadmap of systematic study in any way. After all it is a personal log of my journey on the subject, and can best be viewed as bookmarks with commentary.