Program for the Use and Computation of Kinship data
© Research Group TIP (Kinship and Computing)
Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Paris
Distributed under CeCILL licence version 2 (http://www.cecill.info/)
Created 2007 by Klaus Hamberger
Developed by Klaus Hamberger, Christian Momon, Edoardo Savoia, Telmo Menezes and Éric Mermet
Visualization powered by KinOath (developed by Peter Withers) and Geneaquilts (developed by Anastasia Bezerianos, Pierre Dragicevic and Jean-Daniel Fekete)
JVM = 1.7.0_91 24.91-b01
XMX = 298M/353M/910M
OS = Linux 3.16.0-38-generic 64bits
Cette partie du site est actuellement en construction...
This section of the site is currently under construction...
What is PUCK ?
Puck is a computer program for analyzing genealogical and other kinship related data. It has been conceived in continuity with the gradual introduction of computers in kinship studies since the 1970s.
Puck is a product of the research group TIP and an outcome of the project « Informatical treatment of kinship phenomena » (« Traitement Informatique des phénomènes de parenté », 2006- 2009) financed by the French National Research Agency (ANR).
For a presentation of the software, and of its theoretical issues, we suggest english readers to see Hamberger, Houseman, & Grange, (2014) ; french readers can refer to Hamberger, Houseman, & Grange, (2009).
What PUCK does ?
« A paradox is at the heart of studies on kinship: the marriage choices which, as the foundation of kinship systems, should be the primary object were neglected, especially in their empirical dimension. The anthropology of kinship began as an analysis of terminology and developed into a science of rules and norms. Today, it appears as a multifaceted research field dealing with representations and institutions, political strategies and symbolic operations. Still, the actual practices that generate matrimonial networks continue to occupy a marginal position » (Hamberger, Houseman, & Grange, 2009, p. 107). Kinship cannot be treated as a collection of isolated elements, the use of a computer processing of matrimonial practices have proved fundamental.
Starting from this premise, the software allows not only to make very fine and precise analyses of the matrimonial structures and configurations of genealogical networks, but also to consider its quality and biases: the data processing of kinship relationships is thus an opportunity to consider the theoretical issues and methodological choices, as it respects the individual way of the collection and organization of field data or records, to assess the quality of the dataset studied.
Puck accompanies the researcher throughout his work, from data input to final analysis. It is compatible with most commonly used formats (Excel, Gedcom, Pajek, etc.), and allows to import or export files in all these formats. Puck has been written in Java 1.6 and is continuously updated.
- Matrimonial and Relational Census
Puck is the first software allowing to run a full matrimonial and relational census on a genealogical dataset. It identifies the matrimonial circuits that can be found in a kinship network, classifies them and assists the researcher through the analysis of the network topology. By producing the circuit intersection network of a given dataset, it highlights the actual combinations existing between different marriages types and thus allows to focus on the most structurally significant areas of the network. Those operations can help in distinguishing whether the frequency of given matrimonial structures is due to specific social norms (preferences, avoidances...) or is a mechanical effect of the network density.
- Diagnostics of Kinship Datasets
Genealogical corpora produced by researchers are not neutral objects. Genealogies constructed from informants or documentary sources are often incomplete and androcentric, which implies an asymmetry of relations in the network. It is very important to detect errors of data collection or data entry to correct them, to know biases and be able to relativize the raw results (Barry & Gasperoni, 2008; Hamberger & Gargiulo, 2013; Hamberger, Houseman, & White, 2012, p. 546‑547). Before analyzing a family dataset, the first step is therefore to establish a profile of the network, from basic tools (count of the population and demographic composition, gender distribution, genealogical depth, density) to more complex ones (family completeness, gender bias), not only on the overall network, but also on specific parts of it. By partitioning the dataset and focusing on specific parts of the network it is then possible to refine the analysis.
- Kinship Networks Partitioning
PUCK allows to partition a kinship network by choosing appropriate criteria. These can be individual (e.g., gender, age, birth period, occupation...) as well as family (e.g., union status, children number...) properties. The partitioning operations can show themselves fundamental, in order to refine and supplement qualitative analysis (dataset diagnosis) and/or a matrimonial census.
- Kinship Networks Simulation
Puck can not only treat actual kinship networks, it also provide refined tools for their simulation. The technique, recently diffused in kinship studies, consist in producing randomly generated networks and using them as means of comparison. Such an analytical process can contribute to discern if some of the regularities found in matrimonial practices are the mere product of given statistical criterias or if they actually derive from social institutions.
- Management and Editing of Kinship Networks
Hardware supports, such as fieldwork notebooks, hand-drawed genealogy graphs (etc.) are especially subject to time, weather and, more commonly, entropy. A 10 minutes rain can severely damage the fruit of a long period work. PUCK can be used as a tool to generate, manage and stock kinship networks on a software support. This can be crucial in order to secure the kinship data conservation and therefore their analysis.
- Navigation through Kinship Networks
Kinship networks are complex collections of individuals, ties, events and properties. Even if such data have been gathered personally by the researcher, individual after individual, they can be surprisingly hard to remember and confusing to browse. Thereafter, supports such as fieldwork notebooks can carry biases : for instance, a household based enquiry can easily give unwanted prominence to the residential factor on other ones, like matrimonial alliances.
Thus, Puck has been designed to provide researchers with a tool, not only for stocking data, but also for navigating through them as freely and neutrally as possible. Its components allow to move smoothly, as well as actually "jump", through kinship corpora.
Download and System Requirements
The software can be downloaded here for free, where you will find the latest version (PUCK 2.0) and earlier ones (PUCK 1.0).
System requirements : written in Java, Puck works with most of the common operating systems : on PC (Linux, Solaris, Windows) as well as Mac. Before running the application, make sure that your computer is equipped with an adequate version of Java.
PUCK is a free software, distributed under CeCILL license (a french variant of GPL). Puck has been deposited at the APP (Agence pour la Protection des Programmes, Program Protection Agency) and is protected by French law.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS « AS IS » AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
About this guide
This guide has been conceived for users of every level. Its main objective is to offer accessible and clear answers to your questions about Puck 2, its functionalities and use. As the guide focuses on the program itself, we suggest exploring the bibliographic section in order to deepen the theoretical issues that surround the program conception.
In order to facilitate the access to the guide you can find, as follows, a short presentation of its different sections :
- The section called Functionalities contains a detailed and exhaustive description of PUCK functional components. It is the core of the guide. Its organisation follows the program components themselves and a specific menu is dedicated to it. In its "Start" page you can find a map of the program, indicating PUCK main components that are described in each page of the Functionalities section.
- The Alphabetic and Thematic indexes are meant to drive the reader through the guide contents. In particular, the Thematic Index is conceived to introduce in a more progressive way, new Puck users to the program.
- The Appendices section contains several additional chapters which contents do not directly concern Puck components themselves, but are useful introductions for its use. These are about :
- The Glossary offers a terminological compound to the guide reading. Most of its entries are an english translation of a previous glossary, that the TIP research group published in a monographic number of the french review Annales de démographie historique (2008/2 n.116, p.233-235).