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On data visualization and Journalist's Resource...

Published March 3, 2017 by Mark Bodnar

I just came across a great tip sheet from the Journalists' Resource: Free tools for visualizing economic data.

The title is pretty much self explanatory. I thought I'd mention it here because doing so gives me a chance to talk about the hot topic of data visualization and the indispensable Journalists' Resource...

Icon from the Noun Project site showing typical charts and graphs in a simple format

1. Data Visualization

In retrospect, it seems inevitable. As soon as our society hit peak information-overload levels, the big trend became data visualization: we're all looking for a way to find meaning in the wave of data crashing over us before we get washed away.  

I've been watching and blogging as more and more of our databases added visualization features recently. For instance:  

If you want to learn more about data visualization techniques and tools, start with our many ebooks & books about the subjects: Information visualization or Visual analytics, and ​about Microsoft's Visio software,

And try our Lynda.com database for hundreds of high-quality videos on this topic, such as "Data Visualization Tips and Tricks" (2h14m course broken into lots of short segments) and "Data Visualization Storytelling Essentials" (1h37m course).

2. Journalist's Resource

The Journalist's Resource is one of my favourite places to quickly find solid research on hot topics described in terms that I can understand. 

Logo: "Journalist's Resource: Research on today's news topics

From their About page: Based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Journalist’s Resource examines news topics through a research lens. We surface scholarship relevant to media practitioners, bloggers, educators, students and general readers. Our philosophy is that peer-reviewed research studies can, at the very least, help anchor journalists as they navigate difficult terrain and competing claims. [...]

Our searchable database contains top academic and governmental research that we have selected and synthesized. We strive to translate complex statistics into clear data points and reformulate the terminology of academic specialists into more accessible language, without sacrificing rigor or nuance.  

The site tends to be a bit US-focused (not surprising), but I still find uses for its Studies and Tip Sheets almost daily. 

A few sample JR pages: 

I'm just scratching the surface here... let me know if you'd like to chat about such things further. My address is below.

-- MarkB
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mark Bodnar
Economics & Business Librarian
mbodnar@sfu.ca

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