Friday, April 18, 2014

Infographics and visualization bookworm challenge

The European Journalism Centre has released interviews with all the instructors in the upcoming MOOC Doing Journalism With Data. It begins on May 19th, and I think that around 15,000 people have signed up already.

In the videos you'll see me sitting in front of the bookshelves in my office at the University of Miami. Here's a challenge: Take a look at the shelf in the upper-left corner of the frame (the one on my right.) There are around 30 visualization, infographics, and data books in it. How many of them can you identify? Write your guesses in the comments below. At the end of April I'll randomly choose one comment and send a signed copy of The Functional Art and a surprise gift to its author. Try to name as many as possible!

UPDATE: Answers are coming in already, so let's make the challenge more interesting. Let's try to identify books from all shelves visible in the frame.

(I'm shamelessly stealing this idea from Nathan. I don't have nearly as many readers as he does, so let's see what happens.)


  1. Nice idea Alberto, we all end up with an interesting reading list. As far as I can guess this is what you have in your bookshelf:

    - “Visualizing Data” by Williams S. Cleveland
    - “Elements of Graph Design” by Stephen Michael Kosslyn
    - “Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering The Art of Problem Solving” by Jonathan G. Koomey
    - “El Tratamiento Geográfico de la Información” by Tomás Cortizo Álvarez
    - “Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures” by Howard Wainer
    - “Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think” by Suart Card, Jock Mackinlay and Ben Shneiderman
    - “Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference” by Robert L. Harris
    - “Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment” by Ben Fry
    - “The Cartoon Guide to Statistics” by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith
    - “Information visualization: Design for Interaction” by Robert Spence
    - “Interactive visualization: Insight Through Inquiry” by Bill Ferster
    - “How to Lie with Charts” by Gerald Everett Jones
    - “Designer’s Guide to Creating Chart and Graphs” by Nigel Holmes
    - “Visual Statics: Seeing Data with Dynamic Interactive Graphics” by Forrest Young, Pedro Valero-Mora and Michael Friendly
    - “Statistical Graphics: Desing Principles and Practices” by Calvin Schmid
    - “Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams, Networks, Maps” by Jacques Bertin
    - “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” by Edward E. Tufte
    - “Beautiful Evidence” by Edward E. Tufte
    - “Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative” by Edward E. Tufte
    - “Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data” by Stephen Few

    Looking forward for the MOOC.


  2. In addition to Mayra's list there is
    Exploratory Data Analysis - John Tukey
    Envisioning Information - Edward E. Tufte
    Now You See It - Stephen Few

  3. Here are my guesses;
    1..The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
    2. Beautiful Evidence by Edward Tufte
    3..Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward Tufte
    4..Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data by Stephen Few
    5. Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis by Stephen Few
    6. Visualizing Data by Williams S. Cleveland
    7. Functional Art, The: An introduction to information graphics and visualization by Alberto Cairo

  4. I'll be damned if there isn't a copy of

    - Information Visualization (Colin Ware) (upper shelf, next to Graphic Discovery)
    - Visual Thinking for Design, by (Colin Ware)

    I can't really see the latter but I guess it's there, too!

    By the way, I already have a signed copy of The Functional Art so if I happen to be the winner, I give it to Mayra ;-)

  5. More!!

    Over your left shoulder I can read "Emotional ..." so it might be

    - "Emotional Design" by Donald A. Norman

    Consequently, "The Design of Everyday Things" (by the same author) must also be there, somewhere...

    - Cartography in France, 1660-1848 JOSEF KONVITZ is there, for sure.

  6. I should mention that if you post more than once, you still count as one person. Otherwise, Ruben would have more chances to win :-)

  7. Seems like the first shelf is already taken by Mayra! :D

    Here are a few others that I could spot:
    - The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam
    - Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis by Nader Vossoughian
    - Getting to know ArcGIS Desktop by Tim Ormsby
    - Elements of Cartography by Arthur H. Robinson
    - The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester
    - How Maps Work by Alan M
    - Map Catalog by Joel Makower
    - Disease Maps by Tom Koch
    - The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford
    - Primer of GIS by Francis Harvey
    - Pictorial Maps by Nigel Holmes
    - Mapping the world by Ralph Ehrenberg
    - Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haeckel

  8. OK, let's find out which books I can identify without Amazon...

    First row, from right to left:

    Information Dashboard Design - Few

    Obligatorily Tufte collection:
    Visual Explanations
    Beautiful Evidence
    Envisioning Information
    The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

    Designers Guide... by Nigel Holmes
    Well, are You sure it's good idea to keep this book so close to Tuftes?

    How to Lie with Charts by Jones.
    Information Visualization: Design for Interaction by Spence
    Next one looks like Andy Kirk's book about data visualization process.

    Not sure, but by that color, can it be Playfair's Commercial Atlas and Statistical Breviary, next to The Cartoon Guide? I saw it once in library.

    Visualizing Data by Fry.
    Exploratory Data Analysis by Turkey.

    Information Graphics by Harris.
    Wow, it was published in paperback, too?

    Readings in Information Visualization - Card et al.
    Most published definition of data visualization included.

    Elements of Graph Design by Kosslyn.
    Visualizing Data by Cleveland.

    Second row - well, I am not maps bookworm, so I know few of these books from Amazon.
    Except Steve Johnson's Ghost Map which I own and enjoyed.

  9. """"Designers Guide... by Nigel Holmes
    Well, are You sure it's good idea to keep this book so close to Tuftes?"""

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning

    1. Well, eventually Mozart and Saliery appeared to see each other as friends...

  10. Instantly recognize the Tufte collection. Stranger in A Strange Land - who knew you splurge on science fiction? hmm, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Healthcare" good read by Dr. Markary. Going Pro - The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism by Dr. Tony Kern. An American treasure thus a must read.

  11. The science fiction thing can be explained:

  12. A few books in your shelves (some that I know or have read):
    Tukey, Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)
    Tufte, "Beautiful evidence " and "Visual explanations"
    and beside old Tufte, I see a corner of
    "Information dashboard design" by Stephen Few, who I consider Tufte's succesor.

  13. Give me just until the weekend. Grading now!

  14. OK, I've used this number generator to choose the winner and the winner is...

    Tomas Marek!

    Congrats and thank you all for participating.

    Tomas, I will be contacting you soon.