Better Living Through Networks

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Reviews the book, The Structure and Dynamics of Networks edited by Mark Newman, Albert-László Barabási, and Duncan J. Watts (see record 2006-07918-000), warning that this volume is not for the average American Psychological Association member. This anthology, better termed a sourcebook, contains 44 original reference papers. These papers are mostly reproduced from photocopies of the original source and some are translated. Most of these papers predate the late 1990s surge of interest in networks. As such, they represent a basic sourcebook for anyone concerned with a science of networks, the study of which is founded in mathematical graph theory. Networks are thus sets of items, called vertices (math), sites (physics), nodes (computer science), and actors (sociology). The connections between these items can be called edges (math), bonds (physics), links (computer science), and ties (sociology). The editors have included some of their own classic papers in this “new” science of networks, along with excellent introductions by the three editors. This sourcebook includes the Watts and Strogatz (1998) three-page paper on collective dynamics that appeared in Nature and has been credited with launching much of the current interest in social networks and their analogies in such widely disparate fields as biology, physics, economics, epidemiology, communication (rumors), and psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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