Many years ago, before I became a librarian, I worked in the Registrar’s Office at Indiana University (*the* Indiana University in Indiana and not Pennsylvania). I spent my days having fun with college enrollment data. Exciting stuff, I know! While I was there, though, I was introduced to Edward Tufte, one of the pioneers of data visualization. I was hooked. Prof. Tufte also has some interesting things to say about PowerPoint as well. Data visualization helps tells a story about data rather than just providing a data dump of numbers, facts, and figures.
Jump forward a few years to today and data visualization is all the rage. A news day doesn’t go by with some interesting and some not-so-interesting graphic depicting data in a very visual way. If you’re really good with Google you can search for some of the very data rich infographics that are out there. Or you can use Visual.ly. Visual.ly has not only partnered with some of the better names in data visualization design to offer a searchable data repository of these graphics, but they are also developing tools for those of us who are missing some design genes. In the meantime, check out Visual.ly and see what interesting data representations you can find, such as the one below on ‘The Evolution of the Noble Librarian’.