From topic networks to distributed cognitive maps: Zipfian topic universes in the area of volunteered geographic information

  • Are nearby places (e.g., cities) described by related words? In this article, we transfer this research question in the field of lexical encoding of geographic information onto the level of intertextuality. To this end, we explore Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) to model texts addressing places at the level of cities or regions with the help of so-called topic networks. This is done to examine how language encodes and networks geographic information on the aboutness level of texts. Our hypothesis is that the networked thematizations of places are similar, regardless of their distances and the underlying communities of authors. To investigate this, we introduce Multiplex Topic Networks (MTN), which we automatically derive from Linguistic Multilayer Networks (LMN) as a novel model, especially of thematic networking in text corpora. Our study shows a Zipfian organization of the thematic universe in which geographical places (especially cities) are located in online communication. We interpret this finding in the context of cognitive maps, a notion which we extend by so-called thematic maps. According to our interpretation of this finding, the organization of thematic maps as part of cognitive maps results from a tendency of authors to generate shareable content that ensures the continued existence of the underlying media. We test our hypothesis by example of special wikis and extracts of Wikipedia. In this way, we come to the conclusion that geographical places, whether close to each other or not, are located in neighboring semantic places that span similar subnetworks in the topic universe.

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Author:Alexander MehlerORCiDGND, Rüdiger Gleim, Regina Gaitsch, Wahed Hemati, Tolga UsluGND
Parent Title (English):Complexity
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/04/27
Date of first Publication:2020/04/27
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/05/11
Issue:Article ID 4607025
Page Number:47
Copyright © 2020 Alexander Mehler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institutes:Informatik und Mathematik
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 51 Mathematik / 510 Mathematik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0