Oral history interviews are grounded in the memories of individuals, which are a subjective and partial reconstruction of events in the past. Robotics is a field that traverses disciplinary and national boundaries, supported by a heterogeneous network of scientists, users, and institutions. In order to understand the development of the field, as well as be able to place the experiences of our interviewees in a larger social context, we will be constructing and analyzing the social and cognitive networks of robotics and how they have changed throughout the past 50 years. This approach is particularly effective for surveying the landscape of the discipline and identifying potentially interesting individuals, articles, and terminology.

Below are some examples of how we can use bibliographical information on journal articles published in robotics journals to portray the social and cognitive structure of robotics. The bibliographic information used here has been retrieved from Thomson Reuters Web of Science database.