Network Analysis of Medieval Manuscript Transmission
Some Basic Principles and Methods
Keywords:medieval studies, manuscripts, network analysis, shared manuscript transmission, Middle High German, digital humanities
Manuscripts are the main source for the study of medieval history and culture. Their features, production, circulation and transmission have been the subject of research from different disciplines and perspectives. This presentation will introduce an innovative way to investigate medieval manuscript transmission using network analysis. The computational study of networks has recently shown some great advancement, both as a visualization strategy and as a mathematical model to study complex phenomena, and can be very productively applied to medieval book history. This presentation will focus on the theoretical and technical foundations to create a network of shared manuscript transmission. These networks allow researchers to apply innovative exploratory visualization techniques and statistical methods. As a test sample, a network created to examine the shared manuscript transmission of texts written in German will be presented. The data for this research has been compiled from the online database Handschriftencensus and it has been processed and analyzed using Python and Gephi. The focus of the article are the theories, methods and strategies to create a network of shared manuscript transmission, why they are a valuable research method and how to evaluate and analyze their features.
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