Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sugunasri Maddala's Column - "Many eyes"

PEOPLE share their videos on YouTube and their photos at Flickr. Now they can share more technical types of displays: graphs, charts and other visuals they create to help them analyze data buried in spreadsheets, tables or text.

At an experimental Web site, Many Eyes, (, users can upload the data they want to visualize, then try sophisticated tools to generate interactive displays. These might range from maps of relationships in the New Testament to a display of the comparative frequency of words used in speeches by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The site was created by scientists at the Watson Research Center of I.B.M. in Cambridge, Mass., to help people publish and discuss graphics in a group. Those who register at the site can comment on one another’s work, perhaps visualizing the same information with different tools and discovering unexpected patterns in the data.

Ben Shneiderman, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a pioneer in information visualization, says sites like Many Eyes are helping to democratize the tools of visualization. “The gift of the Internet is that everyone can participate, and the tools can be brought to a much wider audience,” he said.

Presenting results in a static spreadsheet or table may do the job. “But sometimes it’s like driving with your eyes closed,” he said. “With visualization, it might be possible to open your eyes and see something that will help you” — for instance, patterns, clusters, gaps or outliers in the data.

“The great fun of information visualization,” he said, “is that it gives you answers to questions you didn’t know you had.”

Data can be organized many ways on Many Eyes. Above is a chart of Olympic medals.

Note: This is an excerpt from

Published: August 30, 2008

I read about this earlier, perhaps in newspaper. But, before trying it for myself, or forget about it before doing anything with it, I thought of sharing it with our community. Some of us may try it. Visualization may help to make our point more clear and may help many a librarian convince their directors and users.

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