Interstitial organizations as conversational bridges

Interstitial organizations as conversational bridges

By
Valeska P. Korff, Achim Oberg, Walter W. Powell
Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. December
2014, Vol. 41, Issue 2, Pages 34-38

A novel approach to evaluating the impact of nonprofit organizations is proposed, combining social network and linguistic analysis. The authors examined data from nonprofit organizations’ websites and site hyperlinks to other organizations. They identified 369 sites of organizations that measure social impact and captured inbound and outbound weblinks to construct a relational structure. Keywords from the sites were categorized as reflecting scientific, civil society or managerial domains and located the entity in a triangular semantic space. While most organizations fell into one of the three communities, some were in an interstitial space spanning these domains. The interstitial organizations used a mix of terminology, were densely interconnected and connected extensively to organizations across domains, but there were few direct connections among the three domains. The resulting map integrates cultural and relational dimensions and reveals hidden patterns and clusters. The approach can be used with other social systems combining rich text with relational data.