The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

How to read the dots

Why would I mess with these crazy dots in the first place?

Because they are the reason this project exists.

It is true. It is one thing to be able to look through a stack of cards. It is another thing to be able to see the contents of the cards on "the map" (and even filter on all sorts of fun variables). But here you get do those things AND tease out patterns and relationships of all kinds between the provinces of an incredibly diverse, far-flung empire. 

In some cases the relationships are clearly geospatial. But in others, they are not. The dot viz approach levels the playing field between big provinces and little ones (whether we have area or population in mind). It shifts our thinking - our assumptions and expectations - just a bit. It shifts our perspective. It surprises and frustrates and confuses and startles us. It prompts us to ask questions. (And that is the real reason to play with the playing cards.)

Alright then. Why the different colors?

If a dot is red, it represents a page that tags other pages. If a dot is orange, it represents a page that is not a tag. In other words, red dots tag orange dots. Click the "Legend" button for more details.

What should I do first?

Step 1: Click the full screen button.

Step 2: Click on a dot that interests you. Most likely, more dots will emerge. You can drag a dot away from the others in order to see how it connects to others (or to see the names of the dots to which it is connected).

Any time you click on a dot, you will reveal all of its connections to other dots. It can get busy quickly - don't feel overwhelmed. Keep dragging and clicking. Explore the relationships. Try finding dots that are densely connected and a few that are not. 

Don't be afraid to zoom in and out.

Step 3: If you decide you want to find out more about a particular dot, click the blue "view" button. That will open the page in a new tab.

What if I want to get rid of some dots I just opened?

Easy. Return to the "home" dot and click it a second time. The associated dots will vanish. Like magic.

What if I want to start over?

No problem. Just refresh your browser.

Am I going to break anything?

Nope. All you can do is change the way you see things. 

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