Exercises for CHASE’s Introduction to Information Visualisation

These exercises were prepared for the CHASE Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age event’s workshop on Information Visualisation but they’re also useful for people who want to learn more about data visualisations in cultural heritage and the humanities.

Exercise 1: compare simple text tools

Time: c. 5 minutes.

Goal: compare the ability of two different tools to help you understand a new text corpus

1.     Load the word cloud site

2.     Then, grab some text:

  • Open another browser tab
  • Go to http://pastebin.com/Nd0a86tm
  • Select and copy the 8 lines of text. The easiest way is to click into the box under ‘RAW Paste Data’
  • Paste them into the text box on the Wordle site and hit ‘go’
  • You can customise your visualisation using the menu. Which options create a more informative visualisation?

3.     Load the word tree site

  • Go to http://www.jasondavies.com/wordtree/
  • Paste the text into the ‘Paste Text’ box and hit ‘Generate WordTree!’ (Grab the text again from Step 2 if necessary)
  • You can click on words on the screen – which words produce the most options?

4.     Discuss

Bearing in mind that this is an unusual corpus, which tool gave you a better sense of its content? Why?

Are these tools better for exploring or explaining data? Why?

If tidying up the data provided – removing punctuation, making spelling consistent, etc – would improve the visualisation, then try editing the text and re-running the visualisation. Did it help? What else could you do?

Exercise 2: exploring scholarly data visualisations

Time: c. 10-15 minutes.

Goal: get hands-on experience and practice critical analysis.

Pair up with your neighbour to explore and discuss one of the visualisations listed on the following page.

Instructions

  1. In your browser, go to one of the sites below
  2. Take a few minutes to explore the visualisation
  3. Then discuss with your neighbour:
    • What do you think is being presented here?
    • Can you easily see where to start and how to use it?
    • What stories or trends can you start to see?
    • Does it work better at one scale over another?
    • Do you find it more effective at aggregate or detail level?
    • Does it present an argument or provide a space for you to explore and develop one?
    • What arguments (statements about the data) does the site present?
    • What have you learned from visualisation that you might not have learned from looking at the data or reading a description of it?
  4. Be prepared to report back to the group. e.g. summarise the site’s purpose, visualisation formats and data types, or share unresolved questions or the most interesting parts of your discussion


University of Richmond, ‘Visualizing Emancipation’

http://www.americanpast.org/emancipation/

Further information: http://dirt.terrypbrock.com/2012/04/visualizing-emancipation-examining-its-process-through-digital-tools/

Stanford ‘Mapping the Republic of Letters’

http://www.stanford.edu/group/toolingup/rplviz/rplviz.swf

Further information: http://openglam.org/2012/03/21/mapping-the-republic-of-letters/, http://danbri.org/words/2010/11/22/603

Locating London’s Past

http://www.locatinglondon.org/

GAPVis Ancient Places

http://gap.alexandriaarchive.org/gapvis/index.html#index

Further information: http://googleancientplaces.wordpress.com/

Digital Harlem :: Everyday Life 1915-1930

http://digitalharlem.org/

Further information: http://digitalharlemblog.wordpress.com/ http://writinghistory.trincoll.edu/evidence/robertson-2012-spring/

Digital Public Library of America’s timeline, map, bookshelf

http://dp.la/

Further information: http://dp.la/info/ and http://dp.la/info/news/blog/

Orbis

http://orbis.stanford.edu/

Further information: http://hestia.open.ac.uk/updating-orbis/

Lost Change

http://tracemedia.co.uk/lostchange/

Further information: http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/02/19/lost-change-mapping-coins-from-the-portable-antiquities-scheme/

The State of the Union in Context

http://benschmidt.org/poli/2015-SOTU

Further exercises

Learn more: explore and analyse more visualisations

Sketch out ideas for a visualisation

  • Work out what data you need and the best way to prepare and present it. http://www.dear-data.com has some lovely examples of creative sketches.

Create your own visualisations

These sites can be used with your own or public data:

If you have sensitive data you must check whether any data you load will be made public.

HILT Summer School 2015: ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’

Photo

Resources for the course on Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage at HILT 2015 I’m teaching with Ben Brumfield.

Course Google Doc for collaborative note-taking, links, etc.

Flickr Group for HILT 2015 Crowdsourcing photos

Mia’s storify of the week and the class presentation for the HILT Show and Tell.

Projects made in the class

Well done @cmderose_wisc @nebrown63 @ElizHansen @ESPaul @vac11 @kmthomas06 @WendyJ1226 @HistorianOnFire @Jim_Salmons @TimlynnBabitsky + Nancy!

Monday: overview, speed dating

HILT Crowdsourcing Slides and Exercises for Monday

Session 2: links to find a project you love! For non-English language projects, try Crowdsourcing the world’s heritage.

Prompts for thinking about projects:

  • How clear was the purpose of the site? How well was it reflected in the ‘call to action’ and other text?
  • How easy was it to get started?
  • Were the steps to complete the task clear?
  • How enjoyable was the task?
  • Did the reward (if any) feel appropriate?
  • Looking at the site overall, does the project appear to be effective?
  • What is the input content? What is the output content?
  • What validation methods appear to have been used?
  • Who is the probable audience and what motivates them to participate?
  • How does the project let participants know they’re making a difference?
  • Does the site support communication between participants?
  • How was the site marketed to potential participants?
  • Did the site anticipate your questions about the tasks?

HILT Crowdsourcing Slides and Exercises Tuesday

http://tinyurl.com/EminentScotsmen

http://tinyurl.com/Graves1845

HILT Crowdsourcing Slides Wednesday

HILT Crowdsourcing Slides Thursday

HILT Crowdsourcing Slides Friday

Photo
HILT 2015 Crowdsourcing class

Continue reading “HILT Summer School 2015: ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’”

HILT Summer School: ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’

In August 2014 I taught ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’ with Ben Brumfield at HILT (Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching) at MITH in Maryland. Thanks to all the participants for making it such a great workshop!

The Course Syllabus and Slide Decks are available for download below.

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage.

Continue reading “HILT Summer School: ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’”

Workshop: Data Visualizations as an Introduction to Computational Thinking

I gave a half-day pre-conference workshop on ‘Data Visualizations as an Introduction to Computational Thinking’ for the University of Manchester.

From the event blurb:

Digital Humanities (DH) has grown rapidly in importance in recent years, as interest turns away from technology as an instrumental tool simply for resource discovery and access and towards the need to identify and solve new research challenges for the humanities. As one of the largest concentrations of humanities scholars in the UK, surrounded in turn by the enviable breadth of expertise provided by the University’s technologists and librarians, the University could be a fertile ground for Digital Humanities research.

On 7 November 2013, the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures will be hosting an afternoon workshop for University academics and post-graduates; the event is aimed at exploring the skills and literacies researchers might need as potential digital humanists. This informal, hands on event will provide an opportunity for academics, post-grads to start to ‘think like a programmer’ and learn some computational thinking. Participants will be introduced to new methodologies and tools, including those for manipulating and analysing data using visualization tools. No technological expertise in these areas, only a laptop, curiosity and a willingness to experiment.

Goals of session

  • Provide opportunity for academics, post-grads to start to ‘think like a programmer’ and learn some computational thinking
  • Learn and put into practice some skills for accessing, manipulating and analysing data using visualisation tools
  • Introduce new methodologies and tools
  • Demystify tools, think critically about what’s happening ‘under the hood’, understand the impact of tool choice and data structures
  • Enable dialogue with technologists about project design and tool choice
  • Think about the skills, literacies Digital Humanists need

Workshop: Data visualisation as a gateway to programming

I was invited to run a workshop at THATCamp Feminisms West at Scripps College in Claremont, California, and thought ‘Data visualisations as gateway to programming’ would be a good way to provide a gentle introduction to ‘computational thinking’ by working through the effects different data structures have on potential visualisations in ManyEyes, the online visualisation tool. I also prepared some material on basic concepts in programming and put together a page of ‘Inspiring women through history’ mapped across time and space that contained heavily commented code that suggested various things to try to get a sense of how code (in this case, JavaScript, HTML, CSS) works. My slides are below, you can play with content prepared for ManyEyes, or ‘view source’ at the ‘inspiring women’ link above, save the file to your hard drive and have a play.

 

Resources for ‘Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions’

A collection of links for further reading for the British Library’s Digital Scholarship course on ‘Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions’. Last updated June 2016.

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage. Continue reading “Resources for ‘Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions’”

Resources for ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’

Woodcut of the statue described by the prophet Daniel, from Lorenz Faust’s Anatomia statuae Danielis (“An anatomy of Daniel’s statue”), 1585.
Woodcut, An anatomy of Daniel’s statue, 1585.

A collection of links for further reading for the British Library’s Digital Scholarship course on ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’. I update this each time I teach the course, so please leave a comment if you know of any great sources I’ve missed. Slides and exercises for each version of the workshop are below. Many thanks to workshop participants for their feedback, as it directly helps make the next version more effective. And of course huge thanks to Nora McGregor and the British Library’s Digital Scholarship team!

Last updated September 2015. Between course revisions I add interesting visualisations to my Scholarly Vision tumblr and pinboard.

Continue reading “Resources for ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’”

Links and slides for ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

Workshop abstract: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners.

Slides (pdf): Play Like A Programmer workshop DH2012

Links for the Digital Humanities pre-conference workshop ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

My contact details

Twitter: @mia_out, blog openobjects.org.uk, homepage miaridge.com

Text editors

Online javascript console

Data to play with

Visualisation tools

Resources to keep learning

About learning to code

On hack days

Going further with debugging

Workshop: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners

Half day tutorial for the pre-conference workshops for Digital Humanities 2012: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners.

Abstract:

Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital humanities data-based projects more clearly, or wanted to know more about hack days and coding but been too afraid to ask?

In this hands-on tutorial led by an experienced web programmer, attendees will learn how to use online tools to create visualisations to explore humanities data sets while learning how computer scripts interact with data in digital applications.

Attendees will learn the basic principles of programming by playing with small snippets of code in a fun and supportive environment. The instructor will use accessible analogies to help participants understand and remember technical concepts. Working in pairs, participants will undertake short exercises and put into practice the scripting concepts they are learning about. The tutorial structure encourages attendees to reflect on their experiences and consolidate what they have learned from the exercises with the goal of providing deeper insight into computational thinking.

The tutorial aims to help humanists without a technical background understand more about the creation and delivery of digital humanities data resources. In doing so, this tutorial is designed to support greater diversity in the ‘digital’ part of the digital humanities community.

This tutorial is aimed at people who want to learn enough to get started playing with simple code to manipulate data, or gain an insight into how programming works. No technical knowledge is assumed. Attendees are asked to bring their own laptops or net books.

The tutorial will include:

  • what a humanities data set is and how to access one
  • how web scripting languages work (using JavaScript as an example)
  • how to sketch out your ideas in pseudo-code
  • the value of visualisation tools in understanding the shape of a data set
  • prepared exercises: ‘hello world’, using script libraries for mash-ups, creating your first mash-up using a live cultural dataset (e.g. a timeline or map),
  • how to find further resources and keep learning

Related link: Links and slides for ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’