Tracking complex relationships and exporting a fancy chart
April 17, 2017 3:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm struck by the cool charts made by the late Mark Lombardi. According to his biographer, he would use his skills as a reference librarian to collect boxes of index cards, then manually convert them to these conceptual charts that showed relationships. Although lots of chart/mindmap software exists, is there anything that allows you to input relationships into a database, and then spit the chart out when you're done?

Super bonus points if it is free/cheap and will work on Linux, OS X, or Android.

I'm familiar with Graphviz, but it's kind of a bear to work with. I suppose I could create a simple database and then convert the output to graphviz (.dot language) format, but am hoping for a simpler method.
posted by mecran01 to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's a little different from flowchart-type diagrams, but the first chart you linked looks like something you'd get from Gephi. You can import edge lists like "A connects to B, A connects to C, A connects to E, B connects to D, D connects to E" and choose an automatic layout such that similar nodes (heavily interconnected) are close together. You can also assign attributes to nodes (shape, size, color) based on input data.
posted by supercres at 3:40 PM on April 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Holy Moly, that looks amazing! I literally feel like I'm dreaming your response and that I'll come back later to a bunch of grumbling about asking a stupid, ill-defined question. From the "learn" page:

Gephi can import following standard graph file formats. Articles contains documentation, samples and implementation details. They helps outlining differences between formats.




* GraphML

* Pajek NET

* GraphViz DOT



* Tulip TPL

* Netdraw VNA

* Spreadsheet

posted by mecran01 at 3:48 PM on April 17, 2017

You might look at Cytoscape. Developed for bioinformatics but since adapted to other network mapping applications. It's open source. I haven't used it personally.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cytoscape produces some very beautiful output. Thanks for giving me the heads up.
posted by mecran01 at 10:33 PM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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