Oct 16 2011

Data Visualization: From Discovery Tools to Visual Arguments

I would like to propose a session on data visualization.  How we do it (programs, techniques, etc.) and why we do it (data cleaning, discovery tools, visual arguments)?  The conversation will hopefully range from theories of information design (Edward Tufte/Ben Fry) to case studies brought by the participants.  What kind of data visualizations have you created or would like to create in the future?  What problems have you run into?

In the “let’s build something!” spirit of THATCamp, one product of the session could be expanding a Google doc created at THATCamp Prime 2011 for the session on “Best Practices for Structuring and Visualizing Research Data.”  The participants created a series of questions/considerations to raise with researchers before they went into the archive and began recording their data.  I would like to create a similar document that outlines how one goes about visualizing and cleaning data that was not stored in a standardized/visualization-friendly manner.

If this would be of interest to anyone else, the comment tool is your friend.

About the author

Jean Bauer

Jean Bauer is the Digital Humanities Librarian at Brown University. http://www.jeanbauer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://newengland2011.thatcamp.org/10/16/data-visualization-from-discovery-tools-to-visual-arguments/


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  1. ABrubaker

    I would definitely be interested in this session. I’m currently working on a project on statistics and late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African-American history, and more specifically at the moment, a study of Ida B. Wells’ data on lynchings. I want to explore ways that I can represent her findings in dynamic digital formats and also contextualize her data using mapping tools and comparative graphs and tables. Because I’m fairly new to using these kinds of tools, I’m most interested in the first question of “how we do it?”

  2. rness

    Jean, I too would be interested in this session. I think I may make a pecha kucha presentation next month on data visualization methods in relation to public humanities for my class with Steve Lubar. I attended the Humanities and Visual Interpretations Conference last year organizied by MIT’s Hyperstudio & Digital Humanities Group and I would like to explore what has been happening with visualization tools since then. I’d also like to brainstorm on what we may be able to do with our existing data here at Brown.

  3. mhowser

    This would be a great session! My focus has been on data visualizations using maps and I would love to learn more about how to visualize complex datasets using interactive display tools (i.e. Google Fusion Tables) that could provide an engaging learning experience. Being a librarian, I would be interested in discussing digital data archiving and providing public access to large archival datasets via the web.

  4. swalkowiak2011

    I’m definitely interested! I’m a dataviz novice/fan, and would be willing to talk about introductory dataviz tools, like many eyes, wordle, lightweight “hacking” of text using desktop search tools like copernic, “hacking” powerpoint to make simple, pretty infographics etc.

  5. Shane Landrum

    I can’t attend this year’s THATCamp New England, but I’m definitely interested in this session and in whatever output it produces. (Your question about handling data that wasn’t originally created in a visualization-friendly way seems very appropriate for historians.) Please keep me posted.

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