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Project Design and Neo4j Graph Gist

Original Data Model

Original data model with all elements in consideration. 

Modified Data Model

A cleaner, simpler rendition of a proposed data model for the project.

Click here for the live gist!


Project Design and Scope

The Neo4j Graph Gist focuses on books, publishers, states of publication, creators, and authors (along with their location of residence/work, schools from which they recevied a degree, and significant mentors).

When originally conceived, the project had a much larger scope (as shown by the original data model below) but was ultimately scaled down due to the time constraints of the Dean's Fellowship project. Vanderbilt's collection of artists' books currently includes almost 600 volumes. By applying a southern lens to the project (requiring the books to have been published in a southern state), a much simpler data model arose, shown in the second image to the right. 


Perhaps the most important definition in a project such as this is: what is an artist's book? A subject highly contested and theorized, no single definition from one community can outweigh another's, building in a lot of grey area into this genre. This is reflected in the diversity of "books" that can be seen within this exhibition. For practical purposes, we adopted the Rare Book and Manuscript Section (RBMS) of the Association of College Research Libraries' (ACRL) definition: "books intended as works of art in themselves and designed as an artistic whole, integrating binding, text, illustration, etc."

And for our meaning of "the South": we mirrored the U.S. Census Bureau's working definition in our project design. Dean's Fellow Haley Brown analyzed all artists' books acquisitioned into the library on or before August 2015 that were published in one of the following states: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. 


After hand-building a Neo4j graph database for those books, a graph was compiled and was ready to be queried. 




Whole Gist

This image shows the entire gist including all books, people, places, and relationships.

This screenshot (left) includes the entire live gist, mapping all the nodes encoded by Dean's Fellow Haley Brown as of December 2015.

The next photos are screenshots from the graph gist. The questions are highlighted below.

Question 2

2. Who mentored Paul Trautwein? This question shows how to query the code to show mentors by returning relationships.

Question 3

3. Who has both an artist and mentor property? This question shows how to query the code to return nodes with certain properties.

Question 4

4. Who has a relationship with the University of Alabama? This question shows how to return nodes with relationships with certain other nodes.

Question 5

5. Show all of Steve Miller's relationships. This question returns nodes related to Steve Miller within two degrees of separation.

Question 6

6. How are Gaylord Shanilec (mentor to Francis Ke) and Ohio University connected? This question shows how to find the shortest path between two nodes.

Question 7

7. How many different publishers are represented in this collection? This question shows that this collection has 82 publishers.

Question 8

8. Which states have the most published books in this collection? This question shows that Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia have the top 4 most published books in the collection.


Question 9

9. Which publishers have the most published books in the collection? This question shows that Nexus has the most books, while Curious Pursuits, Perkolator, and OEOCO Presses have many books, too.


Question 10

10. Which "southern" states are represented in this collection? The answer shows that the collection has books from twelve of the sixteen southern states. 

Question 11

11. Show all of Steve Miller's relationships. This question visualizes to what nodes Steve Miller is connected to along with another degree of relationships after that. Note that any books that Miller is listed on as a contributor are not shown due to the constraints of the query.

Project Design and Neo4j Graph Gist