Cool Extra Thing – easel.ly and Data Visualisation

This weeks Cool Extra Thing is easel.ly, A tool which allows you to create and share visual ideas online. You will need to login to use easel.ly – in fact I recommend you do this before you do anything else, I designed a whole graphic and then the system crashed… Once you have logged in you can use easel.ly to represent data in a graphic form. There are a number of templates you can alter or alternatively you can have a go at designed an infographic from scratch.

I designed an infographic to show what devices and browsers are used to access the RHUL Library website (information I got from our google analytics account).

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While this infographic is nice in the way it presents the data in a graphic form it does show the big challenge in this area – you have to invest time in working out what data you are going to display and how you are going to display it, because otherwise there is a risk that the infographic is not actually adding anything useful.

When done well the power of displaying information in a visual form is immense. A particularly good example of this is the BBC infographic which visualises the internet – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8562801.stm . This is a few years out of date now but it still is interesting – the graphic representation of the domination of US sites is particularly striking.

The Information is Beautiful site has some lovely graphic representations. One Library related one is the Books Everyone Should Read. This includes the UKs most borrowed library books, and the books people would take with them from desert island disks

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On a slightly less beautiful theme the Guardian has mapped the European Trade in Horsemeat – also an interesting graphic!

I hope you enjoy exploring the possibilities of data visualisation.

Amy

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