Students working in the SLIS Information Commons (Wells Library, Room 002A, IU Bloomington) are invited to take a break from their studies and wander over to the Illuminated Diagram display, a popular component of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit, curated by SLIS’s own Dr. Katy Börner. Now entering its eighth year, Places & Spaces is an innovative and evolving effort to feature the most fascinating examples of data visualization created by scientists and visual artists from around the world. Unlike most museum pieces, however, where “Don’t Touch!” is the cardinal rule, the Illuminated Diagram is one exhibit that positively encourages hands-on interaction.
The Diagram consists of a touch-pad display and two large-scale prints—the first, a map of the world and, the second, a map of the many scientific topics of research. The Diagram’s interactive program allows students to select a geographic area to discover what kinds of scientific activity are most popular in that location. Similarly, choosing a topic such as chemistry or geology illuminates on the map the leading locations producing work in these areas. This way, users of the Diagram can track emerging fields of scientific research and identify geographical hotspots where their favorite kind of science gets done.
For many students, the Illuminated Diagram will provide an introduction to the art of mapping and visualizing large data sets. As SLIS News reported last month (“Hot Jobs! Data Management, Mapping and Visualization,” August 21, 2012), the ability to harness and make sense of “big data” has been identified as a valuable skill that is increasingly in demand. So visit the Illuminated Diagram display at the Information Commons soon to find out how “big data” can help you get the big picture on your future.
Interested in learning more? Dr. Börner will be teaching SLIS-S637: Information Visualization in the spring semester of 2013.
Posted September 18, 2012