The goal of this project is to give you hands-on experience of using network visualization for understanding a topic of your choice.


Choose a movie or literary text (e.g., a short story, novella, novel, or play) and create one or more network graphs to visualize the interaction between characters. In your network graph, characters will be nodes and interactions the edges. Interaction may take different forms, such as appearance in the same scene, verbal exchanges, traveling together, or fighting with each other. You need to decide what a meaningful definition of character interaction is
for your movie or text.


  • You may choose whatever movie or literary text you are familiar with or interested in. Good candidates for this project are movies or literary texts with many characters who interact intensely with each other.
  • If you choose a novella or novel which has multiple chapters, or if you choose a play which has multiple acts, you are advised to keep track of the chapter/act where each character interacts with another. This will allow you to visualize character interactions for each individual chapter/act and explore whether and how characters interact differently in different sections of the text.


You are encouraged to explore how network visualization is useful for topics other than movie / literary analysis. Possible topics include, for example, trading relationships between countries, overlapping membership between international organizations, letter exchanges in history, actors and actresses who appeared in the same movies, and so forth. This requires that you a) ask a meaningful question and b) find the appropriate data or compile a dataset on
your own.

DEVELOP YOUR IDEA FOR A PROJECT: Visual Complexity collects network visualizations on a wide range of subjects. It is a place where you may find some inspiration. Filter by SUBJECT (the filtering dropdown list is on the right side of your screen) and explore network visualization has been used to address different concerns.


Network data is not always readily available. The DATA SOURCES page on the course website
lists, for your reference, some websites which provide compiled datasets.

  • Please note that these datasets are not necessarily formatted in the way you will need for Palladio visualization. In that case, some data transformation is necessary. I and the staff at the Digital Scholarship Center may help you with data transformation, but only to the extent of our abilities.
  • Please also note that some datasets published on these websites may be too huge for your projects. So check out the description of a dataset before you decide on using it.
  • If you plan to create network graphs on movies or literary texts, the International Movie Script Database provides the scripts for many movies; and Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive provide full texts of many out-of-copyright literary texts.

Often it is necessary to compile a dataset on your own. If you choose a topic that requires substantial time on data entry, you may collaborate with one or more other students in class. For details, please refer to the GROUP WORK POLICY section below.


PRESENTATION: Share your visualization with the class in a 5-minute presentation on Friday. Explain briefly in your presentation which text you use and how you interpret the visualization.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: When you are finished, save your datasheet in Microsoft Excel format and export your Palladio graphs as image files (.svg). Embed your Palladio graphs in your PowerPoint slides. Submit both your slides and your data sheet to the appropriate online drop box before due.


  • If you choose a topic that requires substantial time on data entry – such as a movie or literary text of significant length (a novella, even a novel, or a play) – you may collaborate with one or more other students in class, divide up the work, and deliver a group project. The size of a group may vary depending on your project. But each member of the group must have an opportunity to make considerable contributions to the preparation of the data sheet. Usually a group of two is best for a movie, and a group project on a literary text should give each members about 50 pages to work on.
  • Members of a group may collaborate on collecting data, visualizing data on Palladio, interpreting the network graphs, preparing and revising the presentation slides, and giving the presentation in class. Each person, however, must write his / her essay independently.