closeuptopics

Interactive (d3) Force-Directed Diagram

Memcons Topic Model

The blue dots/lines represent documents with ‘Top Secret’ classification status, the yellow dots are ‘Secret,’ the pink dots are ‘Unclassified’ and the 40 topics of the topic model are displayed as grey circles with text. Documents sharing similar topic weightings are clustered together, and placed at a relative distance from those topics. The placement of documents and topics related to matters of high military or national security significance among the bluish upper left region is unsurprising, as is the placement of ‘laughter’ so far on the other side of the graph. The placement of the ‘Cambodia’ topic outside that military arc, much closer to ‘Laughter’ than, say, ‘Vietnam’ or ‘Soviet,’ suggests strongly that the archive may contain only those documents of a less contentious or generic nature compared to those other topics.


The presence of 'Laughter' as a topic, based on the predominance in certain documents of a transcribed phrase as indication of 'laughter' in the room, is a very useful indicator of the tone of certain meeting and their related topics. Does the placement of 'Laughter' so close to the 'South Africa' topic indicate that those meetings were marked by a more jovial set of interactions? At the very least, its placement within a body of largely 'Secret' or 'Unclassified' documents (as opposed to 'Top Secret') suggests a different tone in those documents' topics than in more serious military/national security meetings.

To read the research findings, use the menu at the left or the bottom of the page to view ‘all posts‘ or drill down into a page specific to the method or visualization that interests you.

Leave a Reply

Text Analysis, Visualization and Historical Interpretation of the DNSA Kissinger Correspondence