Week 13: Data Visualization

With the explosion of online data comes information overload.  Questions abound about the relevancy, reliability, and accuracy of the data.  Am i accessing the best resource for this data?  Is the data provided the most up to date?  Is the information valid?  Is the data understandable?  If not, is there a better, easier to understand format that could be utilized? How does one determine what is the best of the best information available to them after a Google search returns hundreds upon hundreds of pages of information?  Do you go beyond the first page of search results?  To you go with the trusted and reliable sources only or do you explore what other options may be available?  Are you even putting in the right phrase or words to guarantee the most bang for your buck?  Everything is available at your fingertips with the internet, but that does not necessarily make things easier. 

Data in a graphical format has always driven me crazy.  That is in part due to the dizzying array of data bombarding me.  I have to than interpret that visualization.  Too often data displayed in a visual format is too busy.  The Visualizing Emancipation map is very busy and that is only a fraction of the information.  The data is simplified in an aggregate format, albeit a little over stimulating.  I can click on one red dot to find 15 emancipation events that took place there.  The overlay of the legality of slavery is in shades of gray, and i still find myself staring at the map searching for which spots slavery is impaired versus legal or illegal.

With more digital tools being created and marketed every day, it can be discerned that digital history will take advantage of the tools to present the research to the public.  Given the interactive nature of the internet, historians will even invite input from the outside sources, both scholarly and amateur.  Collaborative efforts to collect information are great because different perspectives add value to a project and bring forth ideas that may not have been thought of or provide information that may not have been found by someone else.  With all the resources of information available on the internet, the more eyes researching something, the better.               

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