Information Visualization for Humanities Scholars Project


Information visualization for humanities scholars needs to accommodate a mix of evidence and argumentation. The humanities approach consists not of converging toward a single interpretation that cannot be challenged but rather of examining the objects of study from as many reasonable and original perspectives as possible to develop convincing interpretations (for a fuller argumentation of this approach in a digital context, see Drucker). In this sense, we can evaluate a visualization system by determining how well it supports this interpretive activity: a visualization that produces a single output for a given body of material is of limited usefulness; a visualization that provides many ways to interact with the data, viewed from different perspectives, is better; a visualization that contributes to new and emergent ways of understanding the material is best.

Figure 1. The Many Eyes Wordle shows word frequency by word size. This version shows the text of a draft of this article, with function words omitted.

Read the full paper here: Sinclair, S., Ruecker, S. and M. Radzikowska. “Information Visualization for Humanities Scholars.” In Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology. MLA Commons, 2013.