Coursekit is now Lore.
Update (Apr 2012): the exploratory work described in this post has since blossomed into the Overview Project , an open-source large document set visualization tool for investigative journalists and other curious people, and we’ve now completed several stories with this technique. If you’d like to apply this type of visualization to your own documents, give Overview a try ! Last month, my colleague Julian Burgess and I took a shot a peering into the Iraq War Logs by visualizing them in bulk, as opposed to using keyword searches in an attempt to figure out which of the 391,832 SIGACT reports we should be reading. Other people have created visualizations of this unique document set, such as plots of the incident locations on a map of Iraq, and graphs of monthly casualties.
Just 10 years ago, getting something for a headache or a cold at the drugstore was a simple enough affair: Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen? No longer: Drugstore aisles are now an eye-melting maze of choices, with products advertising everything from time-release to gel-caps to flavors to different dosages. I half-expect to find tooth-whitening Tylenol, one day soon. But despite all the decision fatigue this induces, I’ll bet this infographic will come as a shock.
by Maria Popova What the anatomy of your tongue has to do with ship flags and the evolution of human communication. I’m endlessly fascinated by the intersection of sight and sound and have a well-documented alphabet book fetish .
by Maria Popova A man and a woman walk into a sign, or what Helvetica has to do with slipping on ice. In 1974, the U.S. Department of Transportation commissioned AIGA to produce Symbol Signs — a standardized set of 34 symbols for the Interstate Highway System. Five years later, 16 more symbols were added to complete what’s become known as “the Helvetica of pictograms” — a 50-piece symbol set so iconic and universally pervasive it has become an integral part of our visual language.
by Maria Popova Inside the brain of one of today’s most creative information patternists. There are no words to describe how much I heart the work of information designer Stefanie Posavec , whose Writing Without Words project remains one of the most poetic pieces of visual meta-storytelling you’ll ever see and who last year generously visualized the best of Brain Pickings . In the age of computational data visualization , part of what makes Posavec’s work so remarkable is that so much of it is code-free, done entirely by hand, with pencil and paper, extracting fascinating data patterns from ordinary subjects. This wonderful feature by Protein offers a rare glimpse of Posavec’s creative process and a priceless tour of the wonderland that is her mind: I spend lots of time reading and rereading text and counting words or counting numbers or just going through a subject matter repeatedly until I have all the data in a notebook, and then I use that data to create my graphics.
by Maria Popova How to turn numbers into stories, or what pattern-recognition has to do with the evolution of journalism. Data visualization is a frequent fixation around here and, just recently, we looked at 7 essential books that explore the discipline’s capacity for creative storytelling. Today, a highly anticipated new book joins their ranks — Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics , penned by Nathan Yau of the fantastic FlowingData blog. (Which also makes this a fine addition to our running list of blog-turned-book success stories.) Yu offers a practical guide to creating data graphics that mean something, that captivate and illuminate and tell stories of what matters — a pinnacle of the discipline’s sensemaking potential in a world of ever-increasing information overload.