Data Visualization Resources

Martha recently shared a great list of visualization resources with me, for me to augment and share with the group. I highly recommend spending some time with these books, which can be a valuable source of ideas.

  • John Tukey, primarily a mathematician [FFT algorithms and box plots] (Bell Labs, Princeton), his book Exploratory Data Analysis (1970) started this off with good design concepts using pencil & paper visualizations.  A focus on making visualization informative and easy to do.
  • Edward Tufte ( 4 worthwhile books for concepts and print design: Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations, Beautiful Evidence, all from Graphics Press but do not spend the money to attend his short course unless you really want to see items from his collection of very old books
  • William S. Cleveland (Bell Labs, Purdue Statistics): Visualizing Data (1993) The Elements of Graphing Data (1994). These books are classics, but possibly now dated?
  • Colin Ware ( The Data Visualization Research Lab. Also authored a very interesting textbook that considers visualization in the context of human perception: Information Visualization (2004, Elsevier)
  • Manuel Lima, Visual Complexity: mapping patterns of information, Princeton U Press, 2011 (where Martha found the ‘radial convergence diagram’)
  • Nathan Yau ( 2 books: Visualize This (2011) and Data Points (2013) Infographics, but with strong statistics background. Books also include useful sections on parsing data in different formats and software recommendations; many suggestions compatible with ‘big data’ applications. (Parenthetical from Matt: “Infographics” are not popular with visualization folks. They are the sort of thing that turns up of the front page of USA today, and to which Tufte especially objects. They can, however, be done well, as Yau’s site exhibits. The webcomic also occasionally feaures some really neat infographics.)
  • Andrew Gelman ( blog by Bayesian statistician, but see Statistical Graphics category of blog posts
  • Kaiser Fung ( regular blog posts on ‘bad’ graphics with suggestions for improvements; also see the links under Common Interests
  • Stephen Few ( Visual Business Intelligence see the Examples with proposed fixes (recommended by Thorsten Wagener)
  • Robert Kosara ( Visualization and Visual Communication (author works for Tableau Software, but the website is independent) More real life examples with commentary; see Lists of Influences for even more resources
  • Toby Segaran and Jeff Hammerbacher, eds., Beautiful Data, O’Reilly, 2009 compilation of articles from several authors dealing with specific problems, but be aware of the proprietary software referenced
  • Katy Börner, Atlas of Science, MIT Press, 2010 the ultimate ‘coffee table book’ for the interface between science visualization and art