Model Graphical Representations of Data


  • Frederick W. Gibbs and Trevor J. Owens, “The Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing,” in Writing History in the Digital Age, 2012.
  • What does “hermeneutics” mean?
  • New methods of interacting with data demand new transparency from historical presentation
    • Process important (methodology)
    • Why?
    • What is potential cost to narrative history?
  • What are data?
    • Evidence for historical argument
    • More than evidence: creation of data, interaction with data, interpretation of data
    • Combining different kinds of datasets enables “new way to triangulate historical knowledge.”  Is this new?
    • “Historians must treat data as text….”
  • Visualizing data
    • “Aesthetic provocation”; dynamic process
    • The “value of screwing around”: quantitative data more than just math and statistics: discovering, framing, identifying trends
  • Failure

Group Work

Data Examples [entry-title]
What is an infographic?


“The second presidential debate in graphs,” Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/10/17/the-second-presidential-debate-in-graphs/

270 to Win! [entry-title]



This screenshot of a map comes from the political forecast website 270 to Win.
While the map that I’ve included strongly presents the proposed electoral votes for each candidate in the upcoming Presidential election, the most powerful tool within the website is its option to filter through past years election, as well as a host of other interesting map options. The website provides a comprehensive look at the elections now, and past, by utilizing simple graphics which display a world of multi-dimensional data.

Comparing Paid Maternity Leave Around the World [entry-title]

In this graphic by ThinkProgress.org, the issue of paid maternity leave in the United States is called into question as it is compared to that of other nations.

Geniusly, the number of weeks of paid maternity leave are designed in a circle, from most to least, with corresponding colors of the rainbow, making it bright, colorful and easy to read.

Though the numbers may be staggering (if I were to have a baby, I’d really like to have one in Canada!) the way the data is presented is very appealing.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szNLMtgI7hU&w=560&h=315]

With the addition of sound and biased statistics, we could make our audience feel a certain way on the topic. When an idea is presented through text alone, we leave the audience to develop their own opinion on the subject regardless of how biased the writing might be. With these additions to the information on the company, the sound and specific numbers generate a sense of fear in the audience. This is also without any preconceived knowledge on the company, we are left feeling this way. I don’t think the producer of the video would have been as successful with providing a dramatic story if this was presented strictly in text.

Wizard of the Wing [entry-title]

This is Ryan Giggs, one of the greatest soccer players that has ever lived, and perhaps the greatest that has ever played in the English Premier League. His greatness is clearly shown though his accolades that are displayed as banners on top of the poster. 909 club appearances – most by a Manchester United player. 163 club goals. 64 national team appearances and 12 goals. Numerous amount of titles and cups, including 12 English Premier League titles – most by any player. His greatness is also forever recognized by his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, with words, “whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood.” The quote is located under the image of Giggs himself, his number “11” and his signature. The whole poster conveys the feeling of greatness that Ryan emulates.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quI_LkMj4HI]

“Giggs will tear you apart” was coined after that goal.

Average Life Expectancy of Countries in Africa [entry-title]

I really struggled to get any sort of map off the ground using Google Fusion Maps. It literally took me the entire weekend just to figure out how to use the right data and how to embed it into the blog and I still don’t think I’m doing this right!!!

I really would LOVE to be able to do this, and maybe if there was a way for my group to find data on Voting Ages in the United States we could use this program, but the fact of the matter is the Fusion Maps is really picky with its data – by that I mean, it really doesn’t work unless you have super accurate data that’s presented in a certain way.

The map shows the life expectancy for countries in Africa between 3 – 100. Red being the youngest deaths and blue being the oldest.