[Posted here, on my personal website, per the allowance of the publication agreement, is my article, co-authored with Lily Pregill (@technelilly) for Art Documentation (Vol. 33, Fall 2014). If for some reason you cite this, please use the citation at the bottom of the article. You can also view a PDF version, but it lacks color images. The article is also available in JSTOR, if that’s your thing. Big thanks to our editor Judy Dyki. Other acknowledgments at bottom.]
Speak to the Eyes: The History and Practice of Information Visualization
Jefferson Bailey, Internet Archive
Lily Pregill, New York Art Resources Consortium
Abstract—Information visualization techniques are being used increasingly by scholars, museum curators, and collection managers to analyze cultural heritage data sets in novel and dynamic ways. Shifting palettes, spatial density, and other material aspects of works can now be examined digitally to provide new insights into creativity, form, genre, and change. Cultural heritage professionals are also beginning to use visualizations and computational tools to expand the availability and explorability of their collections. This article locates the current field of information visualization within its historical context, demonstrating the shift in aesthetic practice within the field from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. A number of current projects are presented to illustrate how information visualization is mediating formal humanities research and the study and management of collections.
[This article is based on papers presented at “The Visual Language of Data: Reshaping Humanities Research” session at the ARLIS/NA Conference held in Pasadena, CA, in April 2013.]