January Event 2015: Data Visualization


The New England Chapter of the Association for Information Science & Technology, together with the Simmons College Student Chapter, invite you to join us at our 2015 Winter Event:

Data Visualization: How to Do It and Do It Well

In our information-rich society, data is everywhere.  Big and little, data shapes our lives from the policies we enact to the products we use to the professions in which we engage.  But how can we make sense of all that data and, more importantly, how can we use it to share information effectively?  Discover how well-crafted data visualizations can make a powerful impact in your professional work and learn the skills necessary to share your insights through compelling visualizations.

A morning panel of speakers will share their insights, experiences, and best practices for working with data visualizations.  Afternoon workshops will give you hands-on practice with a data visualization software or program.  These workshops are intended to help you get up and running with data visualization.  Please bring your own device (BYOD) to the workshop.

When Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 8:15am to 2:30pm
Where Simmons College Main College Building, Room C103, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA
RSVP Eventbrite


8:15-9:00am Registration & Breakfast
9:00-9:15am Welcome & Introduction
9:15-10:00am Mike Barry, Software Engineer — Twitter
Brian Card, Software Engineer — Viasat
“How to Build a Large Scale Data Visualization”
Large publishers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Bloomberg are creating impressive visualizations with teams of designers and developers. Recreating a similar project might seem out of reach for the non-professional; however many of the tools used to build visualizations are open source and freely available. With a good understanding of visual design anyone can apply the same techniques and come up with a great data visualization. We created a visualization that’s on the same size and scale of professional publications and will show you how we did it and how you can use the same techniques to create your own.
10:00-10:45am Andrew Ashton, Associate University Librarian for Digital Technologies — Brown University Library
Patrick Rashleigh, Data Visualization Coordinator — Brown University Library
“Visualizing Scholarship in Library Spaces”
Brown University Library opened the Digital Scholarship Lab in Fall 2012.  The Lab features an ultra-high resolution display wall, touch-enabled devices, and the capability to combine content from many devices simultaneously.  While the initial conception for the Lab focused heavily on data visualization techniques that leverage the wall’s size and resolution, other uses of the facilities have proven surprising and enlightening, and have helped to broaden our conception of how data, digital content, digital scholarship, pedagogy, and physical spaces intersect.  This talk will provide an overview and critical reflection on our experiences thus far.
10:45-11:00am Break
11:00-11:45am Lynn Cherny, Information Visualization Consultant
“Best Practices for Designing Data Visualization”
This talk will be a tour through some guidelines for designing data visualizations, both static and interactive. We’ll look at some principles for visual encodings, strategies for handling different types of data, and smart methods to design for interactivity from the ground up.
11:45am-12:00pm Question and Answer period
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch and Networking
1:00pm-2:30pm Concurrent Workshops: (after selecting your ticket, add an additional item)

Carolin Ferwerda, Instructional Technologist for GIS & Statistics — Wellesley College
“Visualizing Spatial Data Using Online Tools”
Join us to explore several free, online tools for visualizing spatial data. These tools have relatively low entry barriers and are perfect for people who want to make a good-looking, interactive map without spending hours and hours learning GIS or programming. During the workshop, you will work with a group on an example project using data from the humanities, social sciences, or sciences to visualize numeric data or to create a story map. Since no tool can do everything, the purpose of the workshop is to give you a basic working knowledge of several useful tools within a short period.
Level of Workshop: Beginner
Requirements: BYOD (bring your own device — mobile not recommended)
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Amy Deschenes, Systems & Web Applications Librarian — Simmons College Library
“No Fuss Data Visualizations with Sheetsee.js”
Know how to use a Google Spreadsheet? Have some experience editing HTML & CSS? Come to this workshop and learn how to use Sheetsee.js to build a fantastic web interface to showcase any kind of data stored in a Google Spreadsheet. Using Sheetsee.js it’s easy to build interactive tables, complex graphs, and even maps. You’ll learn how Sheetsee.js works, see some examples, and try your hand at building your own Sheetsee.js-fueled web page. To see examples of what you can create and find out more visit http://jlord.us/sheetsee.js/.
Level of Workshop: Intermediate — This workshop is intended for professionals who are comfortable editing web content (HTML & CSS) and are seeking to learn more about using Javascript libraries for data visualization projects.
Requirements: At the workshop you can use your own web space or Mozilla Thimble to practice with Sheetsee.js.
Maximum Number of Participants: 15

Rob Erdmann, Ph.D. Candidate in Biology — MIT
“Circos: A Round Form of Data Visualization”
Circos is a data visualization program that allows you to display heat maps, histograms, scatter plots, and much more – all in a round package! It was originally developed as a way to display whole genome datasets in Biology, but has started spreading into a wide range of fields. Circos is ideal for displaying connections or movement between data categories, and is a good mechanism for displaying tabular data in a more visually accessible format. In this workshop, we’ll walk step by step through the basics of creating a Circos plot using simple sample data sets, and will finish by exploring some of the more advanced possibilities that the program makes possible.
Level of Workshop: Intermediate to Advanced (some familiarity with usage of the command line will prove extremely helpful)
Requirements: Laptop with Perl and Circos installed (Mac/Unix environment is preferred – Windows will work, but there may be more troubleshooting involved)
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Getting There

Simmons College is easily accessed from the MFA stop on the MBTA E Line of the Green Line.  Additionally, several MTBA bus routes stop near Simmons, including numbers 8, 19, 39, 47, 60, 65, CT2, and CT3.

Contact the event organizer if you need special accommodations.

We hope to see you there!