democratizing visualization

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    What happens when just about anyone has access to sophisticated visualization tools?  
 
           
  Many Eyes
with Martin Wattenberg and the VCL team
 
     
  To "democratize" visualization, and experiment with new collaborative techniques, we built Many Eyes, a web site where anyone can upload data, create interactive visualizations, and carry on conversations. The goal is to foster a social style of data analysis in which visualizations serve not only as a discovery tool for individuals but also as a means to spur discussion and collaboration.

The idea for the site came from experiences that Martin Wattenberg and I had in which visualizations had an unexpectedly strong social component. The best way to learn more is to visit the site itself, or follow the links on the right to academic papers.
 
  Many Eyes: A Site for Visualization at Internet Scale.
  Your Place or Mine? Visualization as a Community Component
  Harry Potter and the Meat-Filled Freezer:
A Case Study of Spontaneous Usage of Visualization Tools
  Communication-Minded Visualization:
A Call to Action
           
  Phrase Net
with Frank van Ham and Martin Wattenberg
 
     
  Available on Many Eyes, phrase nets diagram the relationships between different words used in a text. The technique displays a graph whose nodes are words and whose edges indicate that two words are linked by a user-specified relation. These relations may be defined either at the syntactic or lexical level; different relations often produce very different perspectives on the same text. Taken together, these perspectives often provide an illuminating visual overview of the key concepts and relations in a document or set of documents.

 

  Mapping Text with Phrase Nets
           
  Word Tree
with Martin Wattenberg
 
     
 

Available on Many Eyes, a word tree is a visual search tool for unstructured text, such as a book, article, speech or poem. It lets you pick a word or phrase and shows you all the different contexts in which it appears. The contexts are arranged in a tree-like branching structure to reveal recurrent themes and phrases. Both a visualization and information-retrieval technique, word trees are a graphical version of the traditional "keyword-in-context" method, and enables rapid querying and exploration of bodies of text.

 
  The Word Tree, an Interactive Visual Concordance
           
           
  sense.us
with Jeffrey Heer and Martin Wattenberg 
 
     
  To explore the possibilities for asynchronous collaborative visualization, we designed and implemented sense.us, a prototype web application for social visual data analysis. The site provides a suite of visualizations of United States census data over the last 150 years. With a straightforward bookmarking mechanism, it supports collaboration with four features: doubly-linked discussions, graphical annotations, saved bookmark trails, and social navigation via comment listings.

For more information about the system, please visit the 
sense.us project page.
 

 

  Voyagers and Voyeurs: Supporting Asynchronous Collaborative Information Visualization