Picture This: Taking a Visual Approach to Data

In the time it takes to read this sentence, your brain can process dozens, even hundreds, of images. So why use words when you can communicate more efficiently with pictures?

Increasingly, librarians and information professionals are doing just that. But determining when to use a visual display, and identifying the type of display that is best suited to the information and data at hand, are decisions that do not always come easily to them.

The September-October issue of Information Outlook offers three perspectives on visualizing information and data—a case study of a collaboration between librarians and a researcher that resulted in visual depictions of the “reach” of a highly cited journal article, an overview of visualization formats and tips on using each, and an interview with a visualization researcher who discusses the questions that should be asked when deciding whether and how to visualize data and information. Another article in this issue, about an outreach and instruction initiative at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library, also has a visual angle—the initiative was the subject of a poster presentation at the SLA 2017 Annual Conference earlier this year.

In addition to these articles, the September-October issue contains a piece on “sharing back” after attending a conference and another on deep searching across multiple library platforms. Read these and more in the September-October Information Outlook.

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