Network Analysis of the Danish Parliamentary Elections 2007-2011

Network Analysis of the Danish Parliamentary Elections 2001-2011

Purpose: The project aims at analysing the development of the web activity in relation to Danish parliamentary elections from 2001 onwards, based on archived web material.

Expected outcomes: The project’s outcomes will be analyses of the development of the web activity in relation to Danish parliamentary elections from 2001 onwards, as well as a description of how such analyses can be made based on archived web.

The aim of this project is threefold:

1) to analyse the networks of hyperlinks in relation to Danish parliamentary elections 2001-2011;

2) to develop analytical tools for historical network analysis of web archives;

3) to test the completeness of material in a web archive compared to what was once online.

One of the fundamental features of the web is the hyperlink which may call for what is termed a network analysis — that is an analysis of the structure of the hyperlinks. Such a network analysis could investigate which websites in relation to an event are the most central — central meaning the website receiving the greatest number of in-links.

The project has already made network analyses performed on the online web while the event was unfolding, that is during the period leading up to the Danish parliamentary elections in September 2011 (made by the use of the software IssueCrawler).

The next steps are, first, to develop analytical software which enables us to perform these kinds of network analyses on not only born-digital material such as the online web but also on reborn-digital material in the Danish web archive Netarkivet, second, to test the completeness of Netarkivet’s archiving of the event on the web (based on curating) compared to the population of websites related to the event found automatically by IssueCrawler — this latter step is made with a view to comparing online hyperlink analyses with analyses made on archived material.

To our knowledge software enabling historical network analyses does not exist yet anywhere, and it will allow us to make historical studies of the developments of hyperlink networks in relation to earlier Parliamentary elections.

Thus, the project intends to:

  • investigate the hyperlinked networks in relation to parliamentary elections in Denmark 2001-2011
  • contribute to the development of network analytical software which enables network analyses on archived material (WARC-files)
  • test the holdings of the Danish national internet archive by comparing the network analyses made on the online web in 2011 with analyses performed today on the archived material in Netarkivet from the same period

In a longer perspective the project aims at testing the link analysis tool on large amounts of archived material, for instance a top level domain name such as .dk.

Project team:
Niels Brügger (project responsible), Professor, Head of the Centre for Internet Studies and of NetLab/DigHumLab, Aarhus University
Ulrich Have, IT-Architect, NetLab/DigHumLab, Aarhus University

Brügger “Historical Network Analysis of the Web”, Social Science Computer Review, 2013.