***** To join INSNA, visit *****



I hope you will be interested in the following information about the NodeXL project from the Social Media Research Foundation!

NodeXL is the free and open add-in for Excel that supports network overview, discovery and exploration.  The code and application can be found at  Technical questions can be asked on our discussion boards on the Codeplex site at 

A collection of social media network maps created with NodeXL can be found at:


NodeXL supports the exploration of social media with import features that pull data from personal email indexes on the desktop, twitter, flickr, youtube, facebook and WWW hyper-links.

NodeXL allows non-programmers to quickly generate useful network statistics and metrics and create visualizations of network graphs.  Filtering and display attributes can be used to highlight important structures in the network.

General NodeXL news can be found at: and a recent video and slide deck describing the application of NodeXL to generate social media maps can be found at:

A manuscript tutorial guide to NodeXL created at the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies can be found at

A book Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world is available from Morgan-Kaufmann.


Supporting data sets can be found at

NodeXL allows for the import of network data in the form of edge lists, matricies, graphML, UCINet, and Pajek files along with CSV and other workbooks.

Recent features added to NodeXL include faster metrics calculation, automated graph processing, larger data sets, new layouts, scales, axes, and legends.

NodeXL (v. allows for scheduled data collection for standing queries from a desktop server that can be triggered from Windows Scheduler.

NodeXL (v. provides automated processing of a network, set the configurations once and you can apply the set of steps to hundreds of other graphs with a few clicks.

NodeXL (v. provides features for collecting nodes into groups and to collapse and expand those groups.

Recent NodeXL Topics and Features

> Graph Process Automation
> Scheduled collection/desktop server
> Group by cluster, connected components, and manual
> Groups collapse/expand
> Group metrics
> Selective data mapping in Autofill columns
> Better edge label control, conditional labels
> Shapes and images
> Background images: Fake geo-maps
> Filter by dates
> Bug fixes: Twitter, setup, multiple users, settings traveling, locked down machines
In partnership with the Uberlink corporation (, the VOSON data collector component has recently been integrated into NodeXL to enable web hyperlink network extraction.

NodeXL has been downloaded more than 50,000 times and is becoming the easiest path to getting insights from network data.

NodeXL requires Office 2007.  Other versions of Excel (like 2008 on Mac, or the older 2003) do not work with NodeXL (sorry!).  NodeXL works with the new Office 2010 version of Excel.  

The Social Media Research Foundation is dedicated to 

Open Tools, Open Data, and Open Scholarship.

Social media is the term for all the ways people connect to people through computation.  Mobile devices, social networks, micro-blogging and location sharing are just a few of the ways people engage in computer-mediated collective action.

Mapping, measuring and understanding the landscape of social media is our mission.  We support tool projects that enable the collection, analysis and visualization of social media data.  We host data sets that are relevant to social media research.  And we will support graduate students studying and building research related to social media.

Today, in addition to NodeXL we are expanding to include data collection tools for additional social media sources, better support for exploring the changes in networks over time, and web based applications to expand access to network analysis services and insights.


Marc Smith

Director, Social Media Research Foundation

Social Media Network Research Related Publications

Hansen, D., Smith, M., Shneiderman, B., EventGraphs: charting collections of conference connections. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Forty-Forth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). January 4-7, 2011. Kauai, Hawaii.

EventGraphs are social media network diagrams constructed from content selected by its association with time-bounded events, such as conferences. Many conferences now communicate a common "hashtag" or keyword to identify messages related to the event. EventGraphs help make sense of the collections of connections that form when people follow, reply or mention one another and a keyword. This paper defines EventGraphs, characterizes different types, and shows how the social media network analysis add-in NodeXL supports their creation and analysis. The paper also identifies the structural and conversational patterns to look for and highlight in EventGraphs and provides design ideas for their improvement.

In the Journal of Social Structure: “Visualizing the Signatures of Social Roles in Online Discussion Groups” is available from:  It illustrates different patterns of network structures associated with different kinds of roles and behaviors.

Social roles in online discussion forums can be described by patterned characteristics of communication between network members which we conceive of as ‘structural signatures.' This paper uses visualization methods to reveal these structural signatures and regression analysis to confirm the relationship between these signatures and their associated roles in Usenet newsgroups. Our analysis focuses on distinguishing the signatures of one role from others, the role of “answer people." Answer people are individuals whose dominant behavior is to respond to questions posed by other users. We found that answer people predominantly contribute one or a few messages to discussions initiated by others, are disproportionately tied to relative isolates, have few intense ties and have few triangles in their local networks. OLS regression shows that these signatures are strongly correlated with role behavior and, in combination, provide a strongly predictive model for identifying role behavior (R2=.72). To conclude, we consider strategies for further improving the identification of role behavior in online discussion settings and consider how the development of a taxonomy of author types could be extended to a taxonomy of newsgroups in particular and discussion systems in general.

Discussion catalysts in online political discussions: Content importers and conversation starters“ in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC at 

This study addresses 3 research questions in the context of online political discussions: What is the distribution of successful topic starting practices, what characterizes the content of large thread-starting messages, and what is the source of that content? A 6-month analysis of almost 40,000 authors in 20 political Usenet newsgroups identified authors who received a disproportionate number of replies. We labeled these authors ‘‘discussion catalysts.’’ Content analysis revealed that 95 percent of discussion catalysts’ messages contained content imported from elsewhere on the web, about 2/3 from traditional news organizations. We conclude that the flow of information from the content creators to the readers and writers continues to be mediated by a few individuals who act as filters and amplifiers. 

Analyzing (Social Media) Networks with NodeXL
Smith, M., Shneiderman, B., Milic-Frayling, N., Rodrigues, E.M., Barash, V., Dunne, C., Capone, T., Perer, A. & Gleave, E. (2009),
"Analyzing (Social Media) Networks with NodeXL", In C&T '09: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Communities and Technologies. Springer.

Abstract: In this paper we present NodeXL, an extendible toolkit for network data analysis and visualization, implemented as an add-in to the Microsoft Excel 2007 spreadsheet software. We demonstrate NodeXL features through analysis of a data sample drawn from an enterprise intranet social network, discussion, and wiki. Through a sequence of steps we show how NodeXL leverages and extends the broadly used spreadsheet paradigm to support common operations in network analysis. This ranges from data import to computation of network statistics and refinement of network visualization through a selection of ready-to-use sorting, filtering, and clustering functions.

Whither the Experts
Howard Welser, Eric Gleave, Marc Smith, Vladimir Barash, Jessica Meckes. 
“Whither the Experts? Social affordances and the cultivation of experts in community Q&A systems”, in SIN '09: Proc. international symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking. IEEE Computer Society Press.

Abstract: Community based Question and Answer systems have been promoted as web 2.0 solutions to the problem of finding expert knowledge. This promise depends on systems’ capacity to attract and sustain experts capable of offering high quality, factual answers. Content analysis of dedicated contributors’ messages in the Live QnA system found: (1) few contributors who focused on providing technical answers (2) a preponderance of attention paid to opinion and discussion, especially in non-technical threads. This paucity of experts raises an important general question: how do the social affordances of a site alter the ecology of roles found there? Using insights from recent research in online community, we generate a series of expectations about how social affordances are likely to alter the role ecology of online systems.

First Steps to Netviz Nirvana
Bonsignore, E.M., Dunne, C., Rotman, D., Smith, M., Capone, T., Hansen, D.L. & Shneiderman, B. (2009), 
"First steps to NetViz Nirvana: evaluating social network analysis with NodeXL", In SIN '09: Proc. international symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking. IEEE Computer Society Press.

Abstract: Social Network Analysis (SNA) has evolved as a popular, standard method for modeling meaningful, often hidden structural relationships in communities. Existing SNA tools often involve extensive pre-processing or intensive programming skills that can challenge practitioners and students alike. NodeXL, an open-source template for Microsoft Excel, integrates a library of common network metrics and graph layout algorithms within the familiar spreadsheet format, offering a potentially low-barrier to-entry framework for teaching and learning SNA. We present the preliminary findings of 2 user studies of 21 graduate students who engaged in SNA using NodeXL. The majority of students, while information professionals, had little technical background or experience with SNA techniques. Six of the participants had more technical backgrounds and were chosen specifically for their experience with graph drawing and information visualization. Our primary objectives were (1) to evaluate NodeXL as an SNA tool for a broad base of users and (2) to explore methods for teaching SNA. Our complementary dual case-study format demonstrates the usability of NodeXL for a diverse set of users, and significantly, the power of a tightly integrated metrics/visualization tool to spark insight and facilitate sensemaking for students of SNA.

Do You Know the Way to SNA?
Hansen, D., Rotman, D., Bonsignore, E., Milic-Frayling, N., Rodrigues, E., Smith, M., Shneiderman, B. (July 2009)
Do You Know the Way to SNA?: A Process Model for Analyzing and Visualizing Social Media Data
University of Maryland Tech Report: HCIL-2009-17

Abstract: Voluminous online activity data from users of social media can shed light on individual behavior, social relationships, and community efficacy. However, tools and processes to analyze this data are just beginning to evolve. We studied 15 graduate students who were taught to use NodeXL to analyze social media data sets. Based on these observations, we present a process model of social network analysis (SNA) and visualization, then use it to identify stages where intervention from peers, experts, and computational aids are most useful. We offer implications for designers of SNA tools, educators, and community & organizational analysts.

On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 6:06 AM, Barry Wellman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

well, I'll forward to the lsit. I don't think its been censored. Did you send to social networks list <[log in to unmask]>

But the instant answer is NodeXL, which works directly off of Excel.

I'm copying to Marc Smith, the daddy of the program. He and Ben Shneiderman have a book out about it.

And re Chinese consulting business, I'm forwarding to Prof Wenhong Chen, my former student, who did a dissertaton with me about similar stuff.

FOLKS, Karen is wonderful and a good friend.

 Barry Wellman

 S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
 Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
 University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
 Updating history:

On Tue, 18 Jan 2011, Karen Christensen wrote:

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 05:56:38 -0500
From: Karen Christensen <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: FW: Your favorite network mapping tool?

Dear Barry,

I emailed this but haven't seen it on the list, nor any responses.
Perhaps too basic for the likes of INSA members! But I don't think
you'll mind getting the question, and perhaps will know of something
simple enough for me to use.

I've been thinking about online and in-person communities a lot, having
accidentally become the founder/moderator of the first Great Barrington
neighborhood listserv. Very popular. And at the same time I'm getting to
know people in the West Village through writing for the local paper
about Jane Jacobs and community. Two sides of the coin. Fun.

Hope you and Bev are thriving.

Cheers, Karen.


From: Karen Christensen
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 12:07 PM
To: '[log in to unmask]'
Subject: Your favorite network mapping tool?

Greetings! And apologies if this has been discussed recently on the
listserv - I did a quick scan and didn't see anything.

I would be very grateful for your recommendation of a simple network
mapping tool. Ideally, something into which I could drop data from an
Excel sheet and see overlapping institutions/companies, locations, etc.
I'm trying to get a handle on small personal networks, and then think
about how they get connected one to another (via professional
associations and listservs like this, for example).

In case you're interested, the thing that got me thinking about this is
the way Chinese and China-focused professionals consciously build little
consulting businesses around their personal network of family and
friends. I want to compare a few of those networks to similar Western
individuals' networks. If you've seen data about this, I'd also very
much appreciate any leads.

I do hope there are a few easy tools for me to try - thanks in advance
for your help.

Cheers, Karen.


Berkshire Publishing Group LLC -

December News
Sign up for a weekly Berkshire Byte: World History, China, or
Sustainabytes available free at <>


+1 413 528 0206 | Fax +1 413 541 0076 | Skype: karen_christensen
[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>


Bill Gates has this to say about Berkshire's This Fleeting World: "I
first became an avid student of David Christian by watching his course,
Big History, on DVD, and so I am very happy to see his enlightening
presentation of the world's history captured in these essays. I hope it
will introduce a wider audience to this gifted scientist and teacher."

_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers ( To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.