The Republic of Letters is maybe one of the oldest social networks of researchers that is now being studied. Some bright minds at Stanford started mapping the interactions between the 18th century scholars (they sent letters to each other) and created some very nice visualizations. Amongst them their is a flow visualization that would be interesting for the project group as well. Also the video shows how those visual analytics help to reason about the underlying data.
Visualization of 18th century social networks
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