Note: Although I’ve become enamored of the idea of slow blogging, where meditation trumps speed and frequency, I’ve also been feeling guilty about my own absence from blogging. (I’ve got plenty of excuses–a hurricane, a pile-up of presentations and papers, etc–but I won’t bore you with them.) In the hopes of becoming a more active blogger, I’ve decided to launch a new feature: link of the day (which may turn out to be more like link of the week or fortnight), a quick discussion of something that has caught my interest.
Today’s link of the day (LOD): A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods. Interest in visualization seems to be growing in digital humanities as scholars look for ways to make sense of large data sets. This interactive chart lists dozens of different approaches to visualization, including histogram, scatterplot, timeline, square of opposition, infomural, heaven ‘n hell chart, and strategic game board. The periodic table’s creators, Ralph Lengler & Martin J. Eppler of the Institute of Corporate Communication, are part of a group creating an e-learning course on visual literacy for business, communications and engineering. They group the visualizations into 6 main categories: data visualization, information visualization, concept visualization, strategy visualization, metaphor visualization, and compound visualization; each column is arranged according from least to most complex. To see an example of each visualization method, click on the cell to open a pop-up window. As Lengler and Eppler explain in a recent paper, “Towards A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for Managemenrt,” the table serves as a “structured toolbox” from which users can select visualizations suited to different tasks. Although the table is missing textual visualizations such as tag clouds, I found this to be a useful learning tool. (And, well, just cool.) Pair this web page with an exploration of Many Eyes and you have some great interactive resources for humanities students to learn about visualization.