Hyperlink Network Analysis

This course will provide students with an introduction to empirical approaches for studying hyperlink networks, with a substantive focus on organisational WWW hyperlink networks and blog networks.  The course will introduce students to three broad approaches to social scientific research into hyperlink networks, looking at examples of research where hyperlink networks have been studied as citation networks (library and information sciences), issue networks (media studies) and social networks (sociology).  There will also be an introduction to three available tools for hyperlink network research: Issuecrawler, SocSciBot and VOSON (which was created by the course instructor).  The practical part of the course will focus on VOSON, which is a tool for hyperlink network construction and analysis, and is available as a web application and as a plugin to NodeXL (a free Excel 2007/2010 template for social network analysis).  Finally, there will be an introduction to statistical analysis of hyperlink networks using ERGM/p* models.

Level 2 - runs over 5 days

Prof. Robert Ackland is based in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU). He was awarded his PhD in economics from the ANU in 2001, and he has been researching online social and organisational networks since 2002. He leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks Lab (http://vosonlab.net) which was established in 2005 and is advancing the social science of the Internet by conducting research, developing research tools, and providing research training. Robert has been teaching masters courses in online research methods and the social science of the internet since 2008 (undergraduate versions of the courses started in 2017) and in 2019 he began teaching a course on economic analysis of the digital economy. His book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in July 2013. He created the VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis, which has been publicly available since 2006 and has been used by around 3000 researchers worldwide, and he is a co-creator of the vosonSML and VOSONDash R packages for collecting and analysing social media network and text data.

Course dates: Monday 2 July 2012 - Friday 6 July 2012
Course status: Course completed (no new applicants)
Week 2
Recommended Background: 

Participants are advised to have taken the ACSPRI course Introduction to Social Network Research and Network Analysis or had some equivalent exposure to social network analysis.

The course assumes participants have good familiarity with using computers, in particular web applications.


Recommended Texts: 

Ackland, R. (2010), "WWW Hyperlink Networks," Chapter 12 in D. Hansen, B. Shneiderman and M. Smith (eds), Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world. Morgan-Kaufmann.


Ackland, R. and M. O'Neil (2011), "Online collective identity: The case of the environmental movement," Social Networks, 33, 177-190.


Lusher, D. and R. Ackland (2011), "A Relational Hyperlink Analysis of an Online Social Movement," Journal of Social Structure, volume 12, number 5. Available at: http://www.cmu.edu/joss/content/articles/volume12/Lusher/


Course fees
Non Member: 
Full time student Member: 

´╗┐See http://vosonlab.net/ and http://www.uberlink.com for information on VOSON and http://nodexl.codeplex.com for information on NodeXL.