Data Visualization: An Effective Way to Encourage Librarian/Faculty Collaboration


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In our digital environment big data rules. It’s changing they way brands market to consumers, how programmers develop apps, the list goes on but it is all resulting in a significant shift to the digital landscape as we know it. One way researchers are capitalizing on this trend is by using data visualization to depict and measure scholarly impact. This visual method has been used in applications for promotion or tenure, to measure one’s competition, to determine journal impact, etc. Data visualization in academia is also resulting in new methods for analysis. Two methods that I have been actively researching are bibliometric mapping and social network analysis. My work with infographics got the attention of a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver, and this past year we have been collaborating on various research projects that involve visual methods for measuring and representing impact. The increased interest in these topics that were once limited to information and computer science, has made me realize the opportunity for librarian and faculty collaboration. Many of the programs now available don’t require advanced statistical knowledge and make it easier to incorporate visual representations of qualitative and quantitative data into research. I strongly recommend that academic librarians look into data visualization training for their professional development as this is an excellent opportunity to facilitate collaboration. I also encourage students in library science take statistics classes beyond what’s required to get a head start in this area. Listed below are links to my current publications on these topics and some of the software that can be used. Feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on it.

Here are some of the software programs available for bibliometric and social network analyses (most of these are freeware and as such take a while to figure out):

This is just a smattering of software that is currently available. Do you have any that you like to use?

Image credit: Calvinius

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