What is Information Visualization?

Information visualization is the graphical representation of technical, often complex data, designed to be understood quickly and easily. Popularly called “infographics,” this type of media is highly valuable in the age of ubiquitous knowledge, and the people who create it are equally desired by organizations seeking to share messages that make an impact. This format is particularly compelling for academic and research libraries as it enables researchers and scientists to present complex findings in ways that are easier to comprehend than raw datasets. A well-designed infographic can illuminate facts buried in the pages of a dense report or text, or interpret a detailed concept, such as an underground transit system, with clarity and simplicity. The modern age is embracing the power of design to engage and inform audiences through infographics, and social media is the vehicle to take them viral, making information more relevant and accessible on a global level. For researchers and students, the study of information visualization covers a number of valuable skills relating to data analysis, design thinking, and contextual, inquiry-based exploration — in addition to the technical capacities required to carry out ideas using creative software.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • Librarians can support researchers to create visualization - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski I agree - mcalter mcalter Nov 6, 2016- digicmb digicmb Nov 7, 2016- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016
  • Librarians can provide their own data in better visualization - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016
  • Libraries can leverage data visualization tools to improve discovery for research. Integrating visualization into discovery interfaces can enable users to find key material. - mcalter mcalter Nov 6, 2016- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Basis knowledge about coding can help (e.g. in support information visualization with R) - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski
  • Preservation aspects of visualization, i.e.- if we are seeing visualizations emerge as products of scholarship, then as with other forms of scholarship, it will be essential to preserve the record. This is difficult, however, with, say, network visualization tools that are interactive and highly dependent on a particular technical environment. There are more challenges than answers at the moment in this regard. - askeyd askeyd Nov 2, 2016
  • Visualization has strong connections to data management as well as to discovery tools. Effective visualization is central to an effective interface, and thus to effective use of data resources. - mcalter mcalter Nov 6, 2016 - vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016
  • Accessibility in visualizations, especially interactive visualizations, is still a challenge. - vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016
  • This is largely a very new area of responsibility for librarians, but is expanding realms for librarian students to pursue. Combines programming skills, visual aesthetics, and an understanding of big (and medium) data sets. - anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016
  • Not sure how often "librarians" come to mind for faculty with questions on dataviz.- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Librarians have to acquire new knowledge specially in their training (e.g. coding) - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski- digicmb digicmb Nov 7, 2016- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016
  • Transparency in decision making regarding the sharing of internal library stats/visualizations. - vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016
  • Not only can it help bring new insights into academic research areas, but it can also provide new insights into library usage and effectiveness as well.- anthony.helm anthony.helm Nov 13, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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