Accessible Visualization

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Accessible Visualization (Session Notes)

Topic: The topic of the session was exploring ways/tools to use data visualization to enhance access to archival materials. The majority of the session identified different resources/projects and their functionality. Other points/questions that helped generate the list if resources include:

• With visualization, you can drill through the data • Google Analytics is a good, free way to track usage based on “clicks” • Be careful about language and information architecture in regards to how it renders to online. Can create overly-complicated visualizations • What about visualization to assist with archival processing (what needs preservation, what’s in the collection)? What about a tool generate ideas about content (topic modeling or other tools that narrow scope of information? Example: if you have an email account of 40,000 messages, there is general description but what about a visual analysis to see prominent theme.) Resources below are listed in the order of discussion at the session.

1. Forensic Toolkit ([1]): – Works with any type of file (logical image of a directory of files). Can create timelines, cluster graphs, etc.

2. 9/11 Email Project - 9/11 email visually recreates information based on select keywords or files.

3. Stanford’s Muse Memory Project ([2]) - Facet analysis tool of email and has some visualization. Using their own taxonomy, users can define the tone and the emotion of an email (concept mapping). Can edit lexicon. Associated with Gmail. Also looks at who you are emailing and creates a graph. (Moby social). A project paper is available at: [3].

4. LinkedIn ([4]) – Tool that visualizes users’ professional associations

5. SNAC, Social Network in an Archival Context Project, ([5]) – This project is focused on access to historical information while maintaining social/historical context.

6. R ([6]) - A programming language for data (stand-alone language and environment). Visualize This is an instructional book for R.

7. Gephi ([7]) – An open-source software. Nice tutorials and one is a data set on the characters in Les Miserables. Data set was generated from different scenes in the stories. Visualization becomes complicated when you think about two and three-dimensional visualizations and descriptions about items. Includes a quick layout guide and a tutorial. One of the issues is that it imports a CSV file but understanding how your nodes and edges work can be very confusing. You need to make sure that you are dealing with only one type of edge or you create a sizeable network that is difficult to navigate.

8. Visualizing Archival Description – A project visualizing archival description by taking structured metadata from EAD and putting it into a relational database, and making visualizations. Quantity word cloud (based on linear feet). Did the same thing with the number collections. (Jeanne Kramer-Smyth).

9. Texas Funeral Records, a Viewshare Project ([8])

10. Node XL ([9]) – An open source plug in for Excel spreadsheets to create graphics/visualization

11. Series Browser/The Visible Archive ([10]) – This is from Australia. Project made a browser that’s visualizes series information.

12. Processing ([11]) – A programming language written by a NYU professor for his art students as a “virtual sketchbook” and to teach basic programming.

13. JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit ([]) - Can be used as a layer to jump out to item-level objects.

14. Elastic Lists ([12]) – A faceted browse interface. Nice because users never get an invalid combination; as you click through, it removes unavailable options. It is open source.

15. Data-Driven Documents ([13]) – Creates dynamically-generated documents (maps, word clouds). Also has node trees which would be very helpful for branching out into series and subseries.

16. ArchivesZ: Visualizing Archival Collections ([14]) – An early trial of archival visualization that includes a histogram, keywords graph, and dual histogram that combines tags and size (Jeanne Kramer-Smyth).

17. DataVisualization CH ([15]) – An online library of different data visualization tools.

18. World Bank Data Visualizer ([]) – Behind-the-scenes, they had to classify the items and also classify how the items related to each other. The tool has a really nice user-interface and nice way of rendering information based off of user searches.

19. Google Ngram Viewer ([16]) – Provides live search results. Provides trend lines for search terms over time. Normalized to the total number of words.

20. Time Magazine Corpus ([17]) - Lets you refine and improve ridge-shaped data. Can be done locally in a browser and very smart about reconciling data. Made by the same people who did Grid Works ([18]). Also uses Google Refine ([19]). Another associated tool is Google’s Fusion Tables ([20])

21. Free Base ([21]) – Another visualization tool.

22. Digital History Course Syllabus @ American University, ([]) - Trevor Owens teaches digital history at American University. The above syllabus has several useful resources on data visualization.

23. G Raphael ([22]) – Tool that someone has been using to address the idea of using data visualization to assist with archival processing (for example, a visual analysis of the collection, what’s in it, what needs preservation.) Also, what about a tool that generates ideas about content (topic modeling or other tools that narrow scope of information?) For example, if you have an email account of 40,000 messages, what about a visual analysis to see prominent theme.

24. Thunderbird Email Thread Visualizer - Another visualization tool for email.