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Can Visualization Help?

Panelists Fernanda Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, Ben Shneiderman
Track Wiki Social Science
License GNU Free Documentation License (details)
About the panelists
Fernanda Viégas is a researcher in the Visual Communication Lab at IBM Research. Her research focuses on the social side of visualization, exploring representations of online communities to support online identity and storytelling. Her work in visualization, interface design, and computer-mediated interaction is a reference in the field of social visualization around the world. Some of her projects explored email archives, newsgroup conversations, chatroom interactions, and the editing history of wiki pages. Her projects have been exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston and in galleries in New York. Fernanda holds a PhD and MS from MIT.
Martin Wattenberg is a researcher at the IBM Watson Research Center. He specializes in information visualization and its applications to fields as diverse as computing, journalism, bioinformatics, financial data and art.
Ben Shneiderman is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. He specializes in information visualization techniques and human-computer interaction research, including interface design. In addition to his influential work in user interface design, he is known for the co-invention (together with Isaac Nassi) of the Nassi-Shneiderman diagrams, a graphical representation of the design of structured software.
The spectacular growth of Wikipedia, can make it hard to grasp how the site has evolved, how many users it has, or even what pages are the most active over time. Visualization is one way we can make this kind of information legible and accessible to site visitors and administrators alike.

The diversity of Wikipedia visualizations built so far—from viewing editing activity to visualizations embedded in article pages—suggests that there are different roles that visual representations of data can play in Wikipedia. This presentation explores the reasons for building visualizations of Wikipedia data, the different audiences these systems might serve, and the ways in which we can facilitate the creation of new visualizations based on Wikipedia data. The discussion will cover the following topics:

  1. Visualize what? Given the abundance of data in Wikipedia, what kinds of data should we focus on and why?
  2. Visualize for whom? For whom are we building visualizations? Who are the people who might care about the information and the insights provided by these tools?
  3. How to do it? How can we make it easy to get data? How can we share the data we get?
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