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Katia Pilati asks (25May06) about viewing inter-organizational networks as
whole networks or a sum of ego nets.
Tom Valente and Bill Richards gave good answers re methods.
Just so happens that I am writing on the subject today for the intro
article to the forthcoming Social Networks special issue on ego nets
(which we call "personal networks").
The main point is that if you have a whole network, you can treat it as a
set of egonets, when you look at the network from the standpoint of each
person in it -- who magically becomes a separate ego. (Of course, you're
constraining the ego's network to consist only of those in the whole
network.) Similarly, you can aggregate all of the egonets (under the same
constraints) to become a whole network consisting of the links among all
of the egos.
Here is a fun analogy on shifts in views/perspectives that I am using in
Go to maps.a9.com -- an Amazon search engine facility. They give a list of
cities for which they give street level / street address views. I'm using
their default in Boston, btw. You have an egonet analogy -- the view from
84 Beacon st.
Then go to Google Earth, and type in the same address, but stay at a
height more than 500 meter (approx 1500 feet for the Mericans on this
list). Then you have something analogous to a whole network view. (Yes, I
know you dont get links between entitites -- it's a rough visual analogy,
and not definitive.)
I'm toying with calling the first the Ptolemaic view (me as the center of
the universe) and the second the Copernican/Helicopter/God's Eye view.
I am finishing this intro up this weekend, so would appreciate comments.
To the list or to me personally.
Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162
You're invited to visit -- and contribute to -- my new fun website
"Updating Cybertimes: It's Time to Bring Our Culture into Cyberspace"
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