March 2019 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

For the months of March and April, the O’Neill digital display (by the POP collection) will feature a curated “Women Also Know Data” visualization display to highlight diagrams, projects, and software developed by women over the last 160 years.

Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is commonly referred to as the founder of modern nursing, but did you know that she was also a statistician and created hand-drawn data visualizations? She created “coxcombs” (or diagrams) and used them to report on conditions of medical care during the Crimean War. The “Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East” (1858), is an example of a polar area diagram that depicts the number of soldiers’ deaths from preventable diseases (identified in blue, red, and black) according to month and year. Nightingale was recognized for her pioneering work and was the first woman elected (1859) into the Royal Statistical Society.

Los Angeles: The City and the Library

Dr. Colleen Jaurretche’s composition class at UCLA developed the “Los Angeles: The City and the Library” site as a way to explore the history of Los Angeles. This project exemplifies how faculty can collaborate with librarians and archivists on a course-long assignment. Students attended library research sessions to develop their research paper topics and worked with the UCLA Special Collections to select images and create annotations about the materials examined in the archive, plotting each artifact on a map. The infrastructure for this project is built on Flâneur, a Jekyll theme for maps and texts, developed by Dawn Childress (UCLA, Digital Scholarship Librarian) & Niqui O’Neil (NCSU, Digital Technologies Development Librarian).

Dear Data: A friendship in data, drawing and postcards

Giorgia Lupi, an information designer, artist and entrepreneur, and Stefanie Posavec, a designer embarked on a year long project during which they hand drew data visualizations on postcards and mailed them to each other across the Atlantic. Their visualizations were based on the data they collected about their lives, including such things as door patterns, laughter, clocks, and so on. You can find images of the postcards on their project site, as well as a few videos.

Deconstructing Space Oddity one dimension at a time

Following the death of musician David Bowie (1947-2016), designer Valentina D’Efilippo and researcher Miriam Quick, developed “Deconstructing Space Oddity one dimension at a time” project in which they visualized data from Bowie’s song, “Space Oddity,” written in 1969. They selected this piece due to its significance in Bowie’s legacy, because it was his first breakthrough single, first British top 5 hit, and his first US Top 20. D’Efilippo and Quick deconstructed the song and visualized data according to narrative, recording, texture, rhythm, harmony, structure, melody, lyrics, trip, and emotions. For example, the data about the recording visualizes the master tracks of this song, including the lead vocals, backing vocals, and instrumentation (flute, strings, mellotron, stylophone, guitar, bass, and drums).

The Women of Data Viz

Alli Torban, a data visualization designer, created this visualization based on survey results collected by Elijah Meeks. 142 women who identify as data visualization practitioners took the survey and responded to questions about themselves and their work. Torban’s visualization is a example of a free-form visualization of data that can be as she puts it is “not only beautiful and engaging, but also something that helps you connect with your data.” Torban hosts a podcast called “Data Viz Today” and you can hear more about this visualization and other projects in Episode 28: How to Build a Connection With Your Data Through Original Visualization. You can also view the Meeks’ original survey data and results in his GitHub repository,


The visualization display is curated by Allison Xu (Data and Visualization Librarian) and Anna Kijas (Digital Scholarship Librarian).