Palladio

Palladio is an easy-to-use online software that allows you to map relationships between two focus areas in a data set.  It is most useful for illuminating relationships between subjects (such as influence networks: teacher-student; mentor-mentee; etc.).  It allows a good deal of flexibility in the creation of graphs and their manipulation so the user can see quickly how these relationships played out within the data set being studied.

I found it most illuminating for the type of interpersonal relationships that Humanities scholars often wish to study–how one writer might have influenced another; musical influence networks; etc.  While geographic location could be mapped, this was mostly useful when the number of physical locations was smaller; a rendering of this information on a mapping software would be more revealing.

For my own use, being able to understand how different creators interacted with each other is very valuable–possible unknown relationships can be revealed and verified through further study of the source material.  To be truly meaningful, however, the source material should be as rich as possible; otherwise some key relationships might be missed.  Understanding the limitation of your data set is always important for making the best use of a tool like Palladio.

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