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Homepage / Visualising Connections: Using data visualisation tools to expand your literature search

Visualising Connections: Using data visualisation tools to expand your literature search


Using data visualisations can be a great way to reveal connections between datum points and literature searching is no different.  If you are interested in uncovering patterns, groups and connections within the literature you are searching, you might wish to try some of the following tools:

These three tools work in a very similar way:

  1. You enter a datum point such as the details of an academic paper
  2. The tool works outwards from that datum point looking for connections within the published literature creating an interactive visualisation.

Connected Papers offers ‘visual graphs’, Litmaps offers seed maps. These visualisations are interactive, you can move around them looking at the connections. In Connected Papers the visual graphs consist of circles connected with lines. Each circle represents an academic paper related to the seeding article – which is outlined in purple. Similar articles are grouped together. The darker the connecting lines the greater the similarity. The darker the circle the more recent the publication date. The larger the circle the more highly cited the paper.

If you are a user of arXiv you will find that arXiv entries have links to both Litmaps and Connected Papers.

If you’ve never used these tools before, I recommend starting with Connected Papers as you can use it without setting up an account.
Have a look at a sample graph here.

Happy searching!

Image from Gerd Altmann Pixabay


Penny Robertson

Written By: Penny Robertson

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