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SNA TIG Week: Social Network Analysis with ORA by Sophia Guevara and Simon Geletta
American Evaluation Association (AEA) American Evaluation Association (AEA)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington , DC
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My name is Sophia Guevara, MLIS, MPA.  I am a co-chair for the Social Network Analysis Topical Interest Group at the American Evaluation Association.   My co-writer is Simon Geletta, who was a past program chair of the SNA TIG. Simon is a professor of public health at the Des Moines University.
In this post we would like to introduce a software called “ORA”.  ORA is an extremely flexible network analysis tool that is ideal for creating, manipulating and analyzing networks and network structure from data that are stored in a number of different ways and formats (e.g., as a set of relational tables stored in a database or in a spreadsheet, as an n-dimensional matrix etc.) It allows visual as well as statistical analysis capabilities on both static social networks and dynamic social networks that can vary over time and/or space.
ORA is versatile, as it is a “multi-platform” toolkit that can operate either in stand-alone mode, or as a service “plug-in” within a web architecture. With both a GUI version and batch mode version of ORA, it is noteworthy to mention that the batch mode version has been used with networks with 106 nodes.  ORA supports high dimensional network data (or “meta-network” data), including data that represent spatiotemporally dynamic network structure. Hence, while most SNA tools are capable of mapping single-mode or two-mode networks, ORA can handle n-mode networks – this makes it ideal for measuring and understanding network changes over time or through space.
A second powerful feature is its ability to visualize geo-spatial networks. The ESRI proprietary geographic “shape” file can be used together with network data to visualize relationships between entities over geographic space. Further, ORA outputs can also be export to Google Earth, or to KML files, thus enabling interoperation with third-party tools.
Finally, ORA is interoperable with a number of other SNA tools such as Pajek and UCINET. Further, its output can be consumed by a wide range of applications because they can be made to conform to CSV, TSV, XML, JSON and similar standards.
According to the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS) website, there is ORA-LITE which is limited to 2,000 nodes and a Pro version with no node limit available at Netanomics.com.  The Netanomics.com site invites visitors to access an article published in The Economist in 2015 that mentions the use of this software.
Rad Resource: ORA Google Group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ora-google-group
This Google Group provides information for those interested in “network science and network science tools”.  You can find more information on the page about training and purchasing tools.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Social Network Analysis TIG Week with our colleagues in the Social Network Analysis Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SNA TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

About AEA

The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association and the largest in its field. Evaluation involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products and organizations to improve their effectiveness. AEA’s mission is to improve evaluation practices and methods worldwide, to increase evaluation use, promote evaluation as a profession and support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action. For more information about AEA, visit www.eval.org.

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