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Hosting organisations
IMAFO - Institut für Mittelalterforschung
Responsible persons
Mag. Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

While the term “network” has been used abundantly in historical research in the last years, the actual number of studies taking into account the methodology of network analysis is still limited. The reluctance of historians to adapt tools of network analysis can be also connected with the conceptual and terminological divide between humanities and formal sciences.

Against this background, the aims of MEDCON are:

  • The adaptation and combination of a set of software tools which facilitates the relational survey of medieval sources and the visualisation and quantitative analysis of social and spatial networks (using an open source database application named “OpenATLAS”:
  • The development of case studies demonstrating a “best practice” of the application and evaluation of tools of network analysis for medieval history (distribution as open data)
  • The creation of an online platform for the exploration of data, methods and results by the wider public (open access)

A generalizable work flow from data input on the basis of medieval sources to the creation, visualisation and analysis of social and spatial network models and their web-based publication and presentation is established. In order to demonstrate this in detail, MEDCON focuses on the analysis of political networks and conflict among power elites across medieval Europe with five case studies. The project is also conceptualised as digital extension of several internationally renowned long term-projects for text edition, diplomatics and prosopography at IMAFO. MEDCON uses the relational structuring provided by modern software not simply as instrument for the organisation of data, but as heuristic tool for the reconstruction and analysis of the relational character of social phenomena of the past. Thus, also the additional benefit of digital tools beyond data collection and their potential to allow for new research questions and analytical results is demonstrated.


Additional images

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