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 marketingcharts.com, 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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