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Social network analysis: an approach and technique for the study of information exchange / Haythornthwaite (1996)

Citation - Haythornthwaite, C. (1996). Social network analysis: an approach and technique for the study of information exchange. Library and Information Science Research, 18(4), 323-342.

Keyword - social network analysis


  • (define) - Social network analysis is an approach and set of techniques used to study the exchange of resources among actors (i.e., individuals, groups, or organizations).
    社會網路分析是一種研究行動者(actors, 個人, 團體或組織)間資源交換的方法與技術。
  • (define) - Social network analysis [is] an approach and set of techniques for the study of information exchange…. focuses on patterns of relationships between actors and examines the availability of resources and the exchange of resources between these actors (Scott, 1991; Wasserman & Faust, 1994; Wellman & Berkowitz, 1988).
    社會網路分析是一種研究資訊交換的方法與技術。… 主要研究行動者與可得資源間的關係模式。


  • exchange: may be individuals, but they may also be organizations or institutions such as libraries linked in an interlibrary loan network or concepts such as subjects linked in a hypertext document.
    交換: 一種交換資源的關係。可以是個人間的,或是組織間的。如不同圖書館間透過館藏傳遞,或是網路文件的超連結關係。
  • actor: i.e., individuals, groups, or organizations.
    行動者。如個人, 團體或組織。
  • resources: may tangibles such as goods, services, or money, or intangibles such as information, social support, or influence.
    資源: 包含有形的物品、服務、錢財,或無形的如資訊、社會支持、影響。

Principles 原則

Relationships and Ties

  • Relationships indicate a connection between two or more people or things.
  • a tie describes the aggregate connection between pairs.
  • 3 attributes of relationships:
    • content: 內容
    • direction: 方向
    • strength: Strength refers to the intensity of a relationship…. For example, a relationship in which a large number of goods are exchanged or in which actors meet and exchange information frequently is stronger than a relationship in which few goods are exchanged or in which information is

exchanged infrequently.
強度: 強度表示關係的緊密度。較強的關係,表示有較多的物品可以交換,或有較高的交換頻率。 * tie Strength: 兩個行動者間的關係。 * Granovetter (1973) “strength of weak ties.

Social Networks

Social network analysts approach networks in two ways. One approach uses egocentric networks;, which provide a view of the network from the perspective of an actor in the network. The other approach uses whole networking which provide a view of the whole structure of the environment.

  • egocentric networks: 自我中心網絡。
    • Egocentric networks build a picture of a typical actor in any particular environment and show how many ties individual actors have to others, what types of ties they maintain, and what kind of information they give to and receive from others in their network.
  • whole networking: 整體網絡
    • describe the ties that all members of an environment maintain with all others in that environment.

Network Principles

Five principles that network analysts often use to examine an actor’s network are: (Burt, 1992b; Nohria, 1992).

  1. cohesion, grouping actors according to strong common relationships with each other,
  2. structural equivalence, grouping actors according to similarity in relations with others,
  3. prominence, indicating who is “in charge,”
  4. range, indicating the extent of an actor’s network, and
  5. brokerage, indicating bridging connections to other networks