Data Visualization

From Trees to Webs: Uprooting Knowledge through Visualization (the scottbot irregular)

NOTE: More evening trolling of blogs related to data visualization. I came across a blog by Scott Weingart called the scottbot irregular. In particular, I liked his research on Trees and Webs. So today, I am showcasing portions of his blog on this topic.

Enjoy!

Michael

Scott Weingart is a self-proclaimed juggler, an academic, and a nice guy. He feels pretty clueless about a lot of things, and his blog is his attempt to become less so.

Mr. Weingart has recently been working on journal submissions and a new book in the works, but he figured his readers would be interested in one of those forthcoming publications. This is an article [preprint]  that Scott will be presenting at the Universal Decimal Classification Seminar in The Hague this October, on the history of how we’ve illustrated the interconnections of knowledge and scholarly domains. It’s basically two stories: one of how we shifted from understanding the world hierarchically to understanding it as a flat web of interconnected parts, and the other of how the thing itself and knowledge of that thing became separated.

Porphyrian Tree: tree of Aristotle's categories from the 6th century. [via]

Porphyrian Tree: tree of Aristotle’s categories originally dating from the 6th century. [via some random website about trees]

A few caveats worth noting: first, because Scott didn’t want to deal with the copyright issues, there are no actual illustrations in the paper. For the presentation, he is going to compile a PowerPoint with all the necessary attributions and post it alongside this paper so you can all see the relevant pretty pictures. For your viewing pleasure, though, he did include some of the illustrations on his blog.

An interpretation of the classification of knowledge from Hobbes' Leviathan. [via e-ducation]

An interpretation of the classification of knowledge from Hobbes’ Leviathan. [via e-ducation]

Second, because this is a presentation directed at information scientists, the paper is organized linearly and with a sense of inevitability; or, as my fellow historians would say, it’s very whiggish. Scott did not have the space to explore the nuances of the historical narrative, as it would distract from the point and context of his presentation. he plans on writing a more thorough article to submit to a history journal at a later date, hopefully fitting more squarely in the historiographic rhetorical tradition.

H.G. Wells' idea of how students should be taught. [via H.G. Wells, 1938. World Brain. Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc]

H.G. Wells’ idea of how students should be taught. [via H.G. Wells, 1938. World Brain. Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc]

In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading Mr. Weingart’s pre-print draft, click here.

Recent map of science by Kevin Boyack, Dick Klavans, W. Bradford Paley, and Katy Börner. [via SEED magazine]

Recent map of science by Kevin Boyack, Dick Klavans, W. Bradford Paley, and Katy Börner. [via SEED magazine]

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