Here's the abstract:
The paper explores visualisation of 'big data' from digitised museum collections and archives, focusing on the relationship between data, visualisation and narrative. A contrast is presented between visualisations that show 'just the data' and those that present the information in such a way as to tell a story using visual rhetorical devices; such devices have historically included trees, streams, chains, geometric shapes and other forms. The contrast is explored through historical examples and a survey of current practice. A discussion centred on visualising datasets from the British Library, Science Museum and Wellcome Library is used to outline key research questions.
And here are a few of the illustrations we used:
|Christoph Weigel. 1720. Discus Chronologicus. Nuremberg: Weigel. Collection and photo: Stephen Boyd Davis|
|Stream of Time, or Chart of Universal History from the German of Strass. London: 1849. Collection and photo: Stephen Boyd Davis|
|Barbeu-Dubourg, Jacques. 1753. Chronography or Depiction of Time. Rare Books Collection, Princeton University Library (used with permission). Photo: Stephen Boyd Davis.|
|Florian Kräutli. 2015. Britten's Poets - visualisation for Britten-Pears Foundation, Aldeburgh UK.|
|Olivia Vane. 2016. Visualisation of Medical Office of Health Reports data at Wellcome Library: 'typhoid carrier'.|
|Olivia Vane. 2016. Visualisation of Medical Office of Health Reports data at Wellcome Library: 'typhoid carrier' (detail).|
- What form(s) should we adopt?
- To what degree can a story be brought out using computation?
- How can we support rapid apprehension from uncluttered displays, but still provide depth of information where it is needed?
- What literary narrative devices can be translated into visual terms?
- What forms of inquiry are best framed in narrative terms?
- Who narrates?
And we were very pleased to receive the EVA 2016 'Best Paper' award!
|Olivia Vane, Stephen Boyd Davis at EVA 2016. Photo: Sam Cottrell.|
Read the paper on the BCS website here.