A picture is worth… a million lines of data

State Library of Queensland has commissioned the development of a prototype Data Visualisation Tool which incorporates data from the Queensland Public Libraries Statistical Bulletins from 2011-2016.

Data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format which enables you to see information presented visually, so you can more clearly understand patterns or difficult concepts.

The aim of the Data Visualisation Tool prototype is to examine whether data patterns, anomalies and opportunities can be more easily identified, analysed and understood through a variety of simple visualisation techniques.

Data Visualisation presents data in a pictorial form

Image by Patrick Dinnen CC BY-SA 2.0 Sketch of Twitter Data Visualization

You can read more about the prototype Tool, or request the login details to try it out for yourself, by visiting the Public Libraries Connect Website:  http://www.plconnect.slq.qld.gov.au/manage/championing/data-visualisation


Why a picture?

People comprehend data better through pictures than by reading numbers in rows and columns. By visualizing data, you are able to more effectively ask and answer important questions such as “What is driving growth” and “What are the characteristics of my customers using different services?” Combine visual analysis with the power of data science, and transform your data from an underutilized (and possibly misunderstood) asset to a complete picture of how and why your library service works.

Today’s data visualization tools go beyond the standard charts and graphs used in Excel spreadsheets, displaying data in more sophisticated ways such as infographics, dials and gauges, maps, heat maps, and bar, pie and fever charts. With interactive visualization, you can take the concept a step further by using technology to drill down into charts and graphs for more detail, interactively changing what data you see and how it is processed.

If you’re interested in trying out some data visualisation yourself you can check out the free online data visualisation software Tableau: https://www.tableau.com/solutions/topic/data-visualization or take a look at some unique data visualisation examples highlighted by the Web Designer Depot in their article 50 great examples of Data Visualisation  https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/06/50-great-examples-of-data-visualization/