Link of the Day: Visualization Periodic Table

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.


5 responses to “Link of the Day: Visualization Periodic Table

  1. I just wanted to tell you I chuckled to read this posting, as I, too, have plenty of experience with SLOW blogging … and I like your solution to just post a link a day/week/occasion. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog today and noticing some new links that I didn’t know before. Your blogroll has inspired me to improve my own! 🙂

  2. Thanks! Just trying to find my own way to deal with blogging guilt, but proposal guilt, paper guilt, and presentation guilt (with looming deadlines) often trump….

  3. Pingback: mendeleevian « by the wayside

  4. Lisa,
    Keep up the good work [when you have the time], I find you the most inspiring library science, technology and humanities advocate out there along with Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog. Where I see that we are ‘different’ and do not ‘fit nicely’ into academia and its agenda is most of academia is ‘backward [historical] looking and not very innovative unless in business school trying to look forward and ‘predict’ the needs of future business. Since academia is not ‘geared’ to ‘think ahead’, plan ahead or look ahead..bright folks living in the present and ‘seeing the needs of the future’ are often frustrated and discounted since that is not the focus of the academic arts or the thinking that resides there. You’re forward thinking CLIR report took 100 years of procrastinating library science and turned their hypothesis of archival world like thinking on it head. Libraries are finally coming into the 21st century as a result and I used much of you research as well as Chris Poms [as a ‘mashup’ of my intent/direction and ‘future looking insight’ to show those ‘slow goers’ of innovation and progress that not only had EAD standards ‘stalled’, but that the ‘foot dragging’ caused by the lack of technical knowledge of IT developments in Library science was a major source of the delay in adopting and adapting to this new Web 2.0 digital information ‘world’. Fortunately students do work around academic bureaucracy and delays to form new innovative paths to the future, regardless of academia’s lag of leadership by aged instructors who are not challenged to adapt or adopt new technological innovation.

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