Using Graphviz to Explore the Internal Link Structure of a WordPress Blog

In The Structure of OUseful.Info, I showed how it was possible to extract an autopingback graph from a WordPress blog (that is, the graph that shows which of the posts in a particular WordPress blog link to other posts in that blog), illustrating the post with a visualisation of linkage within OUseful.info generated using Gephi.

What I didn’t do was post any examples of the views that we can generate in Graphviz – so here are a couple generated without additional flourishes from a simple statement of links between posts.

Firstly, we see a series of posts relating to WriteToReply, and commentable documents:

Bog linkage examples using Graphviz

In the following example, we see a series of self-contained posts on Library Analytics:

Linkage structure in OUSeful info

Note that from the original library-analytics-part-1 post, we can see how two strands developed sound this topic (remember, arrows typically go from a more recent post to an earlier one; that is, the links typically go from a new post to one that already exists…)

Here’s another set of posts on a topic – this time privacy and Facebook:

OUseful posts on Facebook and privacy

(The bidirectional linkage arose from me editing the body of a pre-existing post with a link to a later one.)

One thing I haven’t explored yet is the groupings that arise from an analysis of the tags and categories I used to annotate each post. But what the above shows is that even in the absence of tags and categories, link structure may also be used to aggregate posts on a particular topic, and allow clusters of blog posts, or partitions containing link related posts, to be easily identified – and extracted – from the blog…

…and my supposition is that this sort of structure might be used to facilitate value adding navigation structures…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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