I am so excited to be a beta tester for Linkurious (http://linkurio.us/), a web-based application for searching and visualizing graph databases. It currently supports the Neo4j data management graph database, which may be downloaded from the Linkurious website. Sébastien Heymann, a co-founder of Gephi, a scientific software application to visualize large networks, is a co- founder of the company. I greatly appreciate the founders’ desire to widen the definition of “big data” by including a collaboration with Stanford’s Mapping the Republic of Letters (https://republicofletters.stanford.edu/), a perfect demonstration of how quantitative methods and humanism may be used harmoniously.
So back to the beta test…The actual interface is unassuming and not busy. I love a parsimonious approach to my applications… I hope that it stays that way. As of the date of this posting, the company is working on an installer that will allow you to import your own data. So I am left to play around with the tutorial. In the tutorial, I am instructed to enter “Eastwood” into the search engine. It comes back with 4 example nodes, including one “Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood. I can easily display one-step connections to “Dirty Harry” in a snap. Delimiters can be used to refine the node characteristics desired to be displayed. Longer labels, such as longer character strings such as alter names, can be hard to read but the zoom/pan is easy to navigate in this platform. The links among alters are most apparent when the “Graph” feature is used. But that is the point, using the beauty of the graph. So in a nutshell, this appears to be a great way to create graphics of complete, “big data” networks on the fly. I look forward to see how far Linkurious will take this.