Tag Archives: Data visualization

Tech Sharecase, 20 October 2017

We had 24 attendees at today’s event, which was held in the library’s conference room. Our discussion focused on data management and data visualization.

Generating Maps in Microsoft Excel

Ryan Phillips gave an overview of the mapping feature that is available as a plugin in older versions of Excel and as a standard feature in Excel 2016. Examples he shared:


With this example of a incomplete tracking map showing Hurricane Ophelia poised to strike Ireland, we talked about how mapping tools are sometimes not up to the tasks we have in mind.

R Shiny

Charlie Terng showed how you can use the Shiny package for R to create visualizations of data. He’s been using ggplot2 to put together a dashboard of information about circulation of library books and is looking at how he might use Shiny. He showed us three visualization examples on the Shiny website to give us a sense of what the system can do:


Ralph Englander showed some screenshots of the work he’s done in the iDashboards system to display various metrics from the library. One challenge of his project has been the task of having to manually load data into the system.


We looked at the dashboard of CUNY-wide data from library systems that the CUNY Office of Library Services has posted on its free Tableau account.

Monitoring Activity on the Campus Network

Mike Richichi and Phil Tejera spoke about how BCTC uses Cacti and MRTG to keep tabs on the levels of activity on the campus network.

Upcoming Tech Sharecase Events

  • November 10
  • December 8

The locations will be announced shortly. Please submit any suggestions for discussion topics on this editable Google Doc.

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Tech Sharecase, 4 June 2010

Arthur Downing, Ellen Kaufman, Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur,  Ryan Phillips

We briefly discussed Kobo, a competitor to the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. A comparison chart provided at the Kobo web site charts Kobo’s features amongst its competitors.

Information Aesthetics
We then discussed the blog Information Aesthetics. This blog seeks out and presents projects that display information and data in creative ways. Some examples discussed were information arcs, the bible cross reference visualization project and a wheel of nutrition that displays portion sizes on dinner plates.

The conversation moved towards other ways of displaying information and the tools used to do so. Microsoft was mentioned given the fact that Excel 2010 is going to incorporate Spark Lines. We then took at look at Google Motion Charts that can be used in iGoogle and Google Docs. A few of us were introduced to motion charts through Hans Rosling’s Wealth & Health of Nations Motion Chart and his TED Talk . Also shown was the Wall Street Journal’s market sector maps for stock performance.

A couple of other web sites were mentioned: 1) Many Eyes a site for sharing data visualization and 2) InfoChimps for downloading all sorts of data sets.

Also touched upon was the Netflix prize. This was a $1 million contest for accurate predictions of movie ratings based on Netflix user movie preferences. The prize was awarded last September and a new contest was announced.

The conversation then moved to the current and future state of student printing, some of the issues and possible solutions. We also discussed the use of GoogleDocs on campus.

Lastly, we talked about the Boston, MA, public media outlet WGBH’s Open Vault–their online media archive and library.  Roy Tennant’s covered Open Vault in a recent Library Journal blog entry.

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Data Dashboard from Brown University Library

The “dashboard” is an interesting idea from Brown University: develop a system that allows staff to build and deploy widgets summarizing library data. Details here.

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