Fingerprint Matrices: Uncovering the dynamics of social networks in prose literature



In prose literature often complex dynamics of interpersonal relationships can be observed between the different characters. Traditionally, node-link diagrams are used to depict the social network of a novel. However, static graphs can only visualize the overall social network structure but not the development of the networks over the course of the story, while dynamic graphs have the serious problem that there are many sudden changes between different portions of the overall social network. In this paper we explore means to show the relationships between the characters of a plot and at the same time their development over the course of a novel. Based on a careful exploration of the design space, we suggest a new visualization technique called Fingerprint Matrices. A case study exemplifies the usage of Fingerprint Matrices and shows that they are an effective means to analyze prose literature with respect to the development of relationships between the different characters.