Blog Archives

Review: Manuel Lima, The Book of Trees

April 14, 2014
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Review: Manuel Lima, The Book of Trees

Trees. They’re everywhere. And not just in the physical world, but in data visualization and knowledge representation as well. This is not a new phenomenon, it goes back thousands of years. Manuel Lima’s new book, The Book of Trees, gives an overview. Setting Expectations This review is an example of priming. The first time I […]

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Story: A Definition

April 7, 2014
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Story: A Definition

What makes a story? What does a story do? In part one of this little series, I argued that stories and worlds are not opposites, but complements. In this part, I try to explain the differences between worlds and stories, and present a definition.

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Stories Are Gateways Into Worlds

March 24, 2014
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Stories Are Gateways Into Worlds

Moritz Stefaner recently wrote a posting titled Worlds, not stories. He basically argues that while there is a clear role for the designer of a visualization, the result should be a world that users can explore, rather than a story that they’re told. I have a few things to say about this, and will do so in two parts. This is part one.

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NewsVis.org, The Directory of News Visualizations

March 3, 2014
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NewsVis.org, The Directory of News Visualizations

When I was in Portland over the holidays a few weeks ago, I noticed a visualization in the local newspaper, The Oregonian. I had never heard of that before, nor of Mark Friesen, who created it. Wondering how many visualizations I might be missing, I decided to build a website that would collect them all: newsvis.org.

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The Mirrored Line Chart Is A Bad Idea

January 29, 2014
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The Mirrored Line Chart Is A Bad Idea

The mirrored line chart is a pet peeve of mine. It’s very common close to elections when there are two parties or candidates: one’s gains are at the other’s expense. But it becomes even more egregious when there are two categories that have to sum up to 100% by their very definition. In her coverage […]

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Data Stories Podcast: 2013 in Review, Outlook to 2014

January 27, 2014
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Data Stories Podcast: 2013 in Review, Outlook to 2014

The Data Stories podcast starts the new year with Andy Kirk and me as guests. With the hosts, Enrico Bertini and Moritz Stefaner, we discuss the major developments of 2013 and look ahead to what 2014 has in store. You can listen to the podcast episode directly on its page, but you should really subscribe […]

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Peer Review, Part 5: The Importance of Gatekeepers

January 24, 2014
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Peer Review, Part 5: The Importance of Gatekeepers

The purpose of peer review is to separate the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad, the brilliant from the clinically insane – you get the picture. But why? Why filter and not just let anybody publish whatever they want? Why Gatekeepers? And Why Gates? In the old days, there was the resource […]

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Peer Review, Part 4: Good Reasons for Bad Papers

January 23, 2014
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Peer Review, Part 4: Good Reasons for Bad Papers

As a reviewer, you might sometimes ask yourself why people write so many bad papers. And why they bother submitting them. I certainly do. But where do they come from? Who submits bad papers? And why? It may come as a surprise, but there are good reasons to submit bad papers for review. To Get […]

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Peer Review, Part 3: A Taxonomy of Bad Papers

January 22, 2014
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Peer Review, Part 3: A Taxonomy of Bad Papers

Reviewing is great when you get a good paper where you can make some suggestions to make it even better, and everybody’s happy. Bad papers are much less fun, but they are also much more common. Here are some examples I’ve seen and that I keep seeing. The completely insane. I once got a paper […]

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Peer Review, Part 2: How It Works

January 21, 2014
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Peer Review, Part 2: How It Works

Peer review is one of the central pillars of academic publishing. But how does it actually work? What is blind review, and what is it good for? This part will answer those questions, and then tell you how to be a good reviewer yourself. The Process The basic process is this: you have some work […]

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