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Visual Information

By Casandra Laskowski

Data visualizations are not a new development, but as new technology has made creating visuals easier for all skill levels, their popularity has grown. This has been a boon to libraries. From marketing materials to discovery systems, libraries are becoming much more visual.

Libraries are creating infographics to share their stories and their value. And whether they are creating flyers, signage, or websites, libraries are sharing their work to inspire others. Many companies are also providing free training to help boost use. This environment is allowing librarians to add skills at their own pace, developing a better eye for design by connecting with others.

A more recent development is the visualization of discovery systems. In the legal landscape, Ravel Law created a visual interface to make searching US law more visual. Yewno helps academic researchers by connecting papers together in a knowledge map. Increasingly, libraries are adding data visualization services to help researchers add another level to their research.

One part of this effort is the creation of interactive visualizations. Libraries have worked hard to convince researchers of the benefits of Open Data. Journalists have already benefited from the OpenData movements. Interactive visualizations add a layer to that effort by allowing more individuals to engage with the data easily. You can find a sea of interactive data visualization dashboards by libraries in Tableau’s Public Gallery. See if you can find some inspiration.

Copyright 2018 by Casandra Laskowski.

About the author: Casandra Laskowski is a Reference Librarian and Lecturing Fellow at Duke Law. She received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, and her M.L.I.S. from the University of Arizona. Prior to pursuing her career as a law librarian, she worked as a geospatial analyst in the United States Army and served a fifteen-month tour of duty in Iraq. Her areas of interest include privacy, censorship, and the intersection of national security and individual liberty.