Data Visualization in the Humanities

Data Visualization in the Humanities

Presentation to Adobe Education Leaders webinar in January 2012.

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Geoff McGhee

January 26, 2012
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Transcript

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    In Journalism and Academia, the Search for Sense-Making Geoff McGhee

    Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University January 26, 2012 Data Visualization and the Humanities
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    Research and Teaching Center at Stanford University Creative Director for

    Media and Communications Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University 2010-Present
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    • Environment and Resources • Economy and Political Science •

    History and Culture of the West Issue Areas
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    • Environment and Resources • Economy and Political Science •

    History and Culture of the West Issue Areas
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    • Environment and Resources • Economy and Political Science •

    History and Culture of the West Issue Areas
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    • Environment and Resources • Economy and Political Science •

    History and Culture of the West • Data visualization for journalism and scholarship Issue Areas
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    Study Year at Stanford • Databases and database management •

    Web application development • Visualization theory and techniques • Geographic information systems • Statistics Back to School 2009-2010 John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship
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    Dealing with Data • 2003 estimate: 5 exabytes/day* new info

    • Open government/transparency movements • E-commerce, electronic record-keeping • Digitization of media (photos, music, books...) • Remote sensors, RFID tags, POS systems • Plummeting Cost of Storage • Data formats (XML, JSON, RDF… ), APIs • Social media Explosion of Electronic Information * Exabyte = 1 million terabytes
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    • Finding meaning in a flood of data Estimated 5

    exabytes a day… in 2003! • Increasing velocity of decision-making, advent of real-time (or close) data • Responsible use of powerful information technology: smartphone tracking, facial recognition, other data collection methods • Government, business and individuals rethinking long-held habits in light of new, actionable information Challenges of the 21st Century Dealing with Data
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    • Bypass language centers, go direct to the visual cortex

    • Leverage ability to recognize patterns, visual sense-making • Powerful graphics chips enable animation, live data processing possible Dealing with Data Using the Eye-Brain Connection Map of New Brainland by Unit Seven via Flickr The Promise of Data Visualization
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    Everyday Use of Data to Make Decisions Maps, GPS with

    live traffic Donation Dashboard Farecast search results Greatschools.org Zillow, Trulia, real estate search engines SF Park = We’re learning things that used to be unknown, unknowable or impractical to know. The Promise of Data Visualization
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    Twitter visualizations Google Public Data Explorer But also larger insights

    about society ... Politifact Obameter U.S. State Department: “Opinion Space” The Promise of Data Visualization
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    Google N-Grams Baby Name Voyager … and new insights about

    the past. Gapminder: Human Development Over Time Immigration Explorer The Promise of Data Visualization
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    “Members of a digitally savvy humanists argue it is time

    to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical "ism" and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. The last frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have.” –The New York Times
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    Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Natural Sciences/ Engineering Social

    Sciences Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West
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    Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Natural Sciences/ Engineering Social

    Sciences Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West
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    Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Natural Sciences/ Engineering Social

    Sciences Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West
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    Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Natural Sciences/ Engineering Social

    Sciences Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West Natural Sciences/ Engineering
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    Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Natural Sciences/ Engineering Social

    Sciences Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West
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    Nexus of Collaboration Bill Lane Center For the American West

    Natural Sciences/ Engineering Journalism/ Communications Humanities Computer Science/ HCI Social Sciences
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    John McChesney Veteran NPR Reporter • Multimedia field reporting •

    Stories on rural issues in contemporary West • Accompanying infographics and data vis “Embedded” Journalists
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    John McChesney Veteran NPR Reporter • Multimedia field reporting •

    Stories on rural issues in contemporary West • Accompanying infographics and data vis Video Documentaries
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    "...Historical newspapers are currently being digitized at a scale that

    is rapidly overwhelming our traditional methods of research. The Chronicling America project (a joint endeavor of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress), for example, recently digitized its one millionth historical newspaper page, and they will soon make millions more freely available online. ! What can scholars do with such an immense wealth of information? Currently, they cannot do much. Without tools and methods capable of handling such large datasets—and thus sifting out meaningful patterns embedded within them—scholars typically find themselves confined to performing only basic word searches across enormous collections. While such basic searches can, indeed, find stray information scattered in unlikely places, they becoming increasingly less useful as datasets continue to grow in size. If a search for a particular term yields 4,000,000 results, even those search results produce a dataset far too large for any single scholar to analyze in a meaningful way using traditional methods."
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    THE EMPEROR BURIED GERMANYS RULER ENTOMBED WITH THE FATHERS Royalty

    ofMany Different Countries Witness the Ceremonies A Grand Pageant and Distinguished Honor to the Dead Kaiser Hit funeral of Emperor William took place at Brlln on the Itith Inst Ibo weather was tirain extremely cold and the troops wh were rungect four deep along the louta taken By the funeral lorteje wore heavy cloaks The temperature had no apparent effect upon the people and hundreds o thou ¬ sands o spectators occupied the space behind tb soldiers while every window along the Uuter den Linden was crowd ¬ ed All the heuses on the thorough re were covered with mourning and blbited flrgs with black drapery At e street crossings massive pillars surmounted by Pnuslan eagles had been erected The lamp posts were covered with crape an I at every fifty paies tuere were largo candelabra bearing darning crea ceou Thn toot uL UeLfuneral pio cesslun presented a miwtiinposiag is pect entirely in keeping with the deep snrro and reverence ot the people Thn centre of the road wan ntrewn with gravel and fir branches In Paruerplatz large stones entwined nil laurel were hung TheDuule burg gate < vaa craped anil there was large arch in front of It upon which v re the words God lilts You Ihe funeral service took place In th athedral In accordance with the pro ¬ gramme Emperor Frederick wai no present the weatuer being too revere t lit him exposing himself Thusei ice beg n Kith a soft prelude in tb organ duri ng which tbe mourners be gun to assemble Dr Korgcl the cour chaplain read passages troin the DOtb Psalm and verses 15 an 1 2H of the 14th chapter of John The chnir sung I Know that my UoJeemcr Llvpth Pas sages were then read from iaalu 101 and Timothy 4th chapter 8th versa the chaplain concluding with the wirds 1 Blessed are the dead who dm in the Lordnow and evermore OCR “Quality”
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