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Nicolibrarian explores the secret life of information

Posts Tagged ‘data visualization

I’d Paint Three of Those Murals for Some of That Data (Visualization)

with 6 comments

I like pretty things. I like pretty things even more when they’re communicating complex information effectively. Did I mention I’m in library school?

I find myself reading more blogs on data visualization these days, and spending more time oogling pretty pictures with Tufte on my mind. I even went so far as to momentarily think about taking another course in Statistics – thankfully that madness passed quickly. I thought I’d list out some of the blogs I’m following, some tools I think are sexy, and then ask you, dear reader, to leave comments on your own fav visualization blogs/tools/rants.

(Oh – and the quick disclaimer – I know there are a lot of terms for what I am here lumping as “data visualization” – see the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods. I’ve been trained to think of data as broadly writ – “alleged evidence,” not just quantitative/stacks of numbers – hence my use of the DV term. Please, do not make me get all Allen Renear on you…I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again!)

Planes or Volcano (corrected) from Information is Beautiful

Planes or Volcano (corrected) from Information is Beautiful

Data Visualization (related) blogs and other sites:

And some tools – I’d particularly love your resources in this area, especially those not related to a single platform (i.e. Digg, Twitter,, Delicious, et al):

  • Crazy Egg heatmaps – a tool for creating heatmaps, useful for web design (and re-design). This one’s not free, but it’s pretty low-cost. If you’re sure you know how to interpret the data, it can be a powerful way to use data in design.
  • Many Eyes – well-known tool, developed by IBM.
  • Quintura – a sort of semi-visual search engine, that gives you tag-cloud-like visualizations on the left, traditional search results on the right. I find it clunky, frankly, but visualization-y nonetheless.
  • Wordle – a way to make tag/word clouds. Perhaps a simple tool, but I like to think of it as personal visual concordance generator.

And you? Do you like data visualization too? What neat resources do you have to give me?

(P.S. Yes, I was listening to Check Your Head as I wrote this blog post; so the title is indeed the Professor Booty sample from Wild Style. I never say no to inspiration, even if that inspiration is from 1983.)


Written by nicolibrarian

April 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Librarian Stereotypes

If there’s something librarians love, it’s knowing what the world thinks about us, keeping tabs on the stereotypes, and getting our nether-garments in a bunch about aforementioned opinions and images. I like to think of it as the library profession’s equivalent of ego searching, this fixation on perception. And I’ll admit I’m game for it – every month when I get my copy of American Libraries, I flip right to the How the World Sees Us section. After all, it is a fine line between navel-gazing and brand management, right?

So I was pleased to see this tweet, via a RT, yesterday:

@wawoodworth: Poll: Worst librarian stereotype. Go. (answer then RT question, please)

And I couldn’t help but be interested in what the replies were, and I can’t help but post them here. I ended up setting up a Twapper Keeper for these tweets, and have pasted the bulk of them below (with apologies and thanks to all users, the public nature of Twitter, and @wawoodworth for starting the thread):

HeidiSteiner: That we’re all shushers. Shush I do not.
ksattler: Shhh!
Joe_Librarian: 63 year old who’s never had sex or an email account
jaimebc: That all we care about is books (not tech literate)
jhardenbrook:  All we do all day long is check out books
agrundmann: That all we do is sit around and read books all day
uamslibrary: That there aren’t any young librarians or librarians of color
nicolibrarian: Old white woman who doesn’t like you or noise or computers.
carolbatt: Shhh! Be Quiet! (but some still do!)
jpetroroy: That we just read all day long.
lbgilbert: SHUSH!
thebrainlair: That we are always shushing children.
orireed: Brary Buns!!!!
bookmeme:  Specs and tweed skirt with horizontal teeth…
librarianbryan: That linux-induced white boy doesn’t know his urban fiction!
miss_print: librarian as crazy cat lady
subclassz: Female librarians r secretly sluts while male librarians r monks.
subclassz: Also librarians don’t have social skills b/c u can’t be social AND smart/organized
civillibrarian: Female?
TheLiB: All we do is read all day (thx for that Laura Bush).
bmljenny: Sexy librarian. Not bad, I just can’t live up to it.
lauramac95: Catalogers as nitpicky anal-retentive fussbudgets
mascher: Socially inept.
ultimatelibrarn: memorized the dewey decimal system
schmeeeb: Kleenex up the cardigan sleeve
LCPLWeb: You don’t LOOK like a librarian.
tmvogel: 1) Cats 2) All we do is read/surrounded by books
vonburkhardt: Umm…that they all wear prescription shoes?
LibrariNerd: That we’re quaking in fear because print is dead.
msjoanthomas: We wear comfortable shoes
kimberwimber: Cat lovers. I def prefer dogs!
janholmquist: People thinking their questions are stupid because ‘You know so much’
thepinakes: That all young librarians are hip and tattooed.
WWUBusLib: That we’re all prim old ladies who do nothing but shhh
jonbloy: Librarians go around shushing people.
RedheadFangirl: That I’m a “naughty librarian” & wear garters.
RedheadFangirl: Or that I’m a crocheting cat lady (true, but love rock, horror)
marissajeanine: That all librarians are old!!!

I’ll also indulge in confirming a stereotype by admitting I couldn’t help but want to classify and graph these tweets (yes, let the heckling begin – but I will have you know that Dorothy of Cat and Girl also enjoys recreational data visualization, so I am not the only one):

Perception, bar-graph-style

Perception, bar-graph-style *Dowdiness including all things physical appearance, including cardigans and tweed. +Ineptitude including fussbudgetiness

Tweets, Charlotte's-Web-Style (i.e. "Hey, librarians! You're a shushing, dowdy bunch of oldsters!" *Dowdiness including all things physical appearance, including cardigans and tweed. +Ineptitude including fussbudgetiness

At least it is a fun slide! *Dowdiness including all things physical appearance, including cardigans and tweed. +Ineptitude including fussbudgetiness

And for those of you who *still* haven’t had your RDA of nerd, here’s my spreadsheet for coding the tweets. Really, people. Get a life.

Written by nicolibrarian

March 18, 2010 at 6:33 am