Visualisation session at the CETIS conference. Thoughts and resources.

We are 34 days away from the CETIS conference. On day two I have signed up to a session on Social Network Analysis and Data Visualisation being run by Sheila and Lorna. I’m really looking forward to the session as recently I have been thinking about visualisations, what they mean and how they can be used in the most effective manner and I have found understanding them quite difficult. I am only just getting my head around the area and hope that the session might be a hub for the experienced to share some of their protips. I thought that by airing some of my questions and sharing some favourite resources might be a good way to get the tips rolling in and a conversation going before the event. I guess that everybody at the session will have his or her own interests and questions and I would be interested to know what these are.

Tips please

Some of the questions I have:

  • When are visualisations useful, when are they not and what makes a good visualisation?
  • When is a visualisation more then a bunch of lines connecting things?
  • What models sit behind the visualisation?
  • How do you find and validate good data, particularly data about social networks?
  • What are the most effective ways of visualisation, any tips on development environment?


I’d also be grateful for any resources you think might be useful. I’ll start with two I’m working with at the moment.

  • A github repository belonging to Adam Cooper with examples to find emergent trends and “weak signals” in paper abstracts.
  • A handy book that aims to “introduce the principles of statistics and modern statistical analysis for a non-mathematical audience”. Does it well and introduces R at the same time.

Looking forward to the session and a protip from me.