Libraries, the universe and everything

Webinar: More than Pretty Pictures – Data Visualization for Info Pros
December 3, 2014, 16:29
Filed under: CPD | Tags: ,

This afternoon I finally got around to listening to a webinar that I’ve had bookmarked since September. Part of the SLA LMD Professional Development Webinar Series, the session in question was More than Pretty Pictures – Data Visualization for Info Pros, delivered by Marcy Phelps. A recording of the session is available on vimeo, and the slides and further resources can be found on Marcy’s website. If you are at all interested in a solid basic introduction to data viz I highly recommend it.

What follows is just a few notes of points and quotes which particularly stood out to me:

  • info becomes more usable when presented graphically
  • data viz = data analysis
  • “Prove yourself on the field, not by talking”
  • find the way to make your info look irresistible
  • sites like, American Factfinder, Eurostat and ESRI are all good sources for ready-to-use-graphics
  • AIIP discussion list is a good resource for help and advice
  • find out what your clients actually want to do with the data, as this could help you choose the best format for presenting it
  • don’t forget that diagrams can also be helpful for non-numeric data
  • to help you choose a good presentation format, check out Marcy’s infographic!
  • Excel is a perfectly good tool for creating diagrams etc.
  • make the raw data decision-ready, don’t just pass over a spreadsheet
  • know your audience – do they prefer pictures/text/maps (or don’t they know)?

And a final quote: “If you are seen as someone who adds value, then you have a seat at the table.”
Marcy’s particular point with this was that data viz is a wonderful opportunity for info pros to show their value and gain their seat at the table. I can see this, but also think it has wider significance as a mantra for all of us in the information profession.

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