Six Degrees of Francis Bacon is a collaboration between Georgetown University and Carnegie Mellon University to map out social networks in the 16th and 17th centuries. After data-mining the entire Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Professor Daniel Shore of Georgetown and Jessica Otis of CMU were able to digitize the social networks of the period between 1500-1700, and now the project is accepting contributions from the public. Using this newly-launched platform, users can discover that John Milton (Paradise Lost,Paradise Regained), for instance, had connections not just to poets but to composers, musicians, clergy, educators, and even scientists. The Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project is one piece of the growing movement in digital humanities, where humanists use computers and technology to make significant discoveries in literature and history that were impossible before, and allows researchers to make more sophisticated interpretations.
Link to the web article can be found here: http://gizmodo.com/mapping-16th-century-social-networks-with-six-degrees-o-1739236038