Tag Archives: Allison Xu

Florence Nightingale 1858 diagram of mortality rates

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, https://github.com/emeeks/data_visualization_survey.


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

visualization of US immigration trends

February 2019 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

For the rest of January through February, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations that covers a variety of topics, including health, politics, immigration as well as food. Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

2018 Midterm Election

The beginning of a year is always a good time to look back at the past year. 2018 will be remembered in many ways, one thing that reminds us about 2018 is the midterm election which has been one of the most popular topics in the media for quite a while. The visualization by Bloomberg maps the 2018 election for the House, Senate and Governor races. The data provided is extensive and impeccably organized by the three races which can be further broken down by state, races with women, open races, key races, committee chairs, and flipped seats. The map combines a lot of information into one single map in that users can change the view from cartogram to map, and switch between the elections and states easily.

World Coffee Production

Do you like coffee? If so, you will probably find this visualization interesting. Nitin Paighowal visualizes the world’s “Coffee Bean Belt,” which shows areas with the most coffee production. He shows which nations produce the most coffee according to coffee varieties. The visualization was originally created in Tableau and published on Tableau Public. Because of the high popularity, it has been selected as one of the best visualizations of 2018 in Tableau Public Gallery.

Rhythm of food

Powerful data visualization can translate complex information into beautiful visual representations for storytelling. Rhythm of food, a visualization project, created by Google News lab in collaboration with Truth & Beauty, charts 12 years of food related search trends based on Google search data. They collected weekly google trends data for hundreds of dishes and ingredients over 12 years, and plotted the results on a year clock to discover the interplay between seasons, years, holidays and rhythm of food around the world.

Food trends across the country

When it comes to restaurants, every US city has its own favorite(s). Have you ever wondered what the most popular local cuisine is when you travel to a new city? A visualization by Google News Lab and design studio Polygraph will answer your question with a map. In this visualization, you will find out that Boston ranked No.2 for Pizza and No.4 for Burger out of all US cities.

Searching for health

Another visualization that we found was also created with Google search data. Google News Lab, collaborated with Schema and Alberto Cairo to create “Searching for Health”, a visualization that tracks the top searches for common health issues in the United States, from Cancer to Diabetes, and compares them with the actual location of occurrences for those same health conditions. By using data from both Google Trends API and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the visualization allows the reader to find potential geographic relationships between those who search and the actual prevalence of health conditions across the country.

The Simulated Dendrochronology of U.S. Immigration 1790-2016

America is a nation of immigrants, Simulated Dendrochronology of US Immigration visualizes the history of immigration to the United States over the past two centuries. The visualization was created by Pedro Cruz, John Wihbey, Avni Ghael, and Felipe Shibuya from Northeastern University. Data was collected from IPUMS-USA which contains Census data from 1790 to 2016. Pedro Cruz explains the method for creating this visualization in his paper: “Process of Simulating Tree Rings for Immigration in The U.S. A video version of this visualization is also available.

This month’s data visualization blog post was written by Allison Xu (Data and Visualization Librarian). The visualization display was curated by Allison Xu and Anna Kijas (Digital Scholarship Librarian).