IST 719: Information Visualization

This course is a broad introduction to data visualization for information professionals through demonstrations, recipes and examples of various data visualization techniques. Students are introduced to the programming language R, Adobe Illustrator, simple data cleaning techniques, simple design concepts and the ethics of visualizing data. The focus is on developing static data visualizations to visually explore and communicate findings using data from a variety of sources. Conceptual themes are presented alongside technical aspects of data visualization.

Learning Objectives:

  • Use R to do basic data cleaning and preparation on a wide range of data sets
  • Identify stories in data sets through exploration using R to create appropriate rough plots to identify distributions and relationships in the data
  • Create rich visual artifacts that communicate data stories, including identifying the optimal type of visualization to minimize viewer cognitive overload and maximize image interpretability
  • Use basic design principles to enhance viewer receptivity and convey meaning, and use Adobe Illustrator to combine R data visualizations
  • Critically assess visualizations, including interpreting and analyzing the meanings of data visualizations
  • Identify appropriate audiences, bringing an ethics-based perspective to the development and interpretation of visualizations

Tools & Concepts:

  • R
  • Python / BeautifulSoup, plotrix, igraph, maps, rworldmap, ggplot2, lubridate, wordcloud2, RColorBrewer, png and rgl
  • Adobe Illustrator


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