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Hello, all.  A few weeks ago, I visited the Lombardi exhibition in Soho, which quite frankly, blew my socks off.  It also inspired me to learn more about social network analysis.  This has led me to your listserv, and a plea for advice.

My colleagues and I are presently developing a research proposal which seeks to address several questions about the US legal system, based on the body of cases involving the concept of "regulatory takings."  Our preliminary surveys of cases suggest a likely pool of 2,500-3,000 cases.

From this corpus, we hope to identify the "geneology" of cases, ideally using social network software. Since each case will reference many (but likely not all) previous cases, we believe the exact pattern may reveal important features of hierarchy or leadership.

There appear to be several freeware programs for social network analysis.  Are any of these appropropriate for such a project, or should we consider a particular commercial program?  Ideally, we'd like to have a range of options to analyze the output (e.g., quantitative, as well as visual representation).

I would also appreciate suggestions as to ideal "first reads" - something akin to "Social Network Analysis for Dummies."  If such a thing exists, please forward the citation information.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

Regards,

Ken Cousins
Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda
Department of Government and Politics
3114 C Tydings Hall
University of Maryland, College Park
T: (301) 405-4133
C:  (301) 758-4490
F:  (301) 314-7619
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"The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
       Albert Einstein

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