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Making Data and Information Beautiful

A lot of libraries are trying to make their numbers more engaging and powerful. Watch this TED video for some great lessons.

Why you should listen to him:
David McCandless makes infographics — simple, elegant ways to see information that might be too complex or too big, small, abstract or scattered to otherwise be grasped. In his new book, Information Is Beautiful (in the US, it’s being called The Visual Miscellaneum), McCandless and his cadre of info designers take a spin through the world of visualized data, from hard stats on politics and climate to daffy but no less important trends in pop music.

McCandless’ genius is not so much in finding jazzy new ways to show data — the actual graphics aren’t the real innovation here — as in finding fresh ways to combine datasets to let them ping and prod each other. Reporting the number of drug deaths in the UK every year is interesting; but mapping that data onto the number of drug deaths reported by the UK press, broken down by drug, is utterly fascinating (more deaths by marijuana were reported than in fact occurred, by a factor of 484%). McCandless contributes a monthly big-think graphic to the Guardian’s Data Blog, and makes viral graphics for his blog Information Is Beautiful.
“It’s not just the sheer variety of topics covered — though knowing the relative effect of rising sea levels or the prime vintage years for red and white wines by country will come in handy someday soon, I’m certain — but the way in which, for many of these charts, there’s considerably more than meets the eye.”
Chris Bilton, Eye Weekly review of The Visual Miscellaneum

From ReadWriteWeb:

“McAndless shows us how data is the new soil. It’s not the new oil as some have proposed. With visualization, data becomes a feast. Why? We are all visualizers.

There is something magic about it. McCandless says our eyes are super sensitive to change. Numbers are the language of the mind. With data visualization, we have two languages both talking at the same time.

McCandless gives a number of examples that show the meanings and insights that come with data visualization.

Data can change our minds. Design helps solve problems. Infomation design is about solving information problems, seeing things we could not see before.

His ending humorously sums up what we can learn from events that seem to have such significance.”

Check out David McCandless’ blog: Information is Beautiful

Cool stuff!


Posted on: April 24, 2011, 7:27 am Category: Uncategorized

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