Visualizing and Exploring Evolving Information Networks in Wikipedia

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Information networks in Wikipedia evolve as users collaboratively edit articles that embed the networks. These information networks represent both the structure and content of community’s knowledge and the networks evolve as the knowledge gets updated. By observing the networks evolve and finding their evolving patterns, one can gain higher order knowledge about the networks and conduct longitudinal network analysis to detect events and summarize trends. In this paper, we present SSNetViz+, a visual analytic tool to support visualization and exploration of Wikipedia’s information networks. SSNetViz+ supports time-based network browsing, content browsing and search. Using a terrorism information network as an example, we show that different timestamped versions of the network can be interactively explored. As information networks in Wikipedia are created and maintained by collaborative editing efforts, the edit activity data are also shown to help detecting interesting events that may have happened to the network. SSNetViz+ also supports temporal queries that allow other relevant nodes to be added so as to expand the network being analyzed.