Published: April 24, 2019

You can view the best of the Data Visualization Contest now on display in Norlin Library!

The exhibit for the Data Visualization Contest is located on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library.

The exhibit for the Data Visualization Contest is located on the library's 2nd floor.

The recipients, in order, are: McKenzie Mae Weller, Computer Science undergraduate for her project “Simulated Adoption Of Research Ideas Originating From Different Universities;” Julia Uhr, Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy, for “Modeling Polygamous Marriage Markets;” and Elysia Salvo Lucas, senior in Applied Math, for “Magnetic Field Draping At Venus.”

Weller said she sees data visualization as a method for uncovering and understanding the structure of a system in a way that can be more accessible than words alone.

“Data visualization adds a new layer of dimension to research, the way you might find a difference in 2D and 3D,” said Weller. “We can understand data in the dimension of time, for example, in research that spans multiple years with something as simple as a timeline.”

Sponsored by the University Libraries and the Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship (CRDDS), the Data Visualization Contest is in its second year. Originally funded by an Innovation grant, the contest’s purpose is to increase awareness of the powerful insights that come from the process of visualizing data. For students and researchers working with various types of data, it is a pivotal moment of their research process. Creating a visualization is a time to engage, reflect, and learn deeply from the story the data tell. Students were required to submit a learning statement with their visualizations describing their engagement with the learning process.

“The Libraries are a place where students can go to get help with their data visualizations and to showcase the trend towards data visualizations in academia in general,” said Earth Sciences and Environmental Librarian Philip White. “We wanted to showcase some of that work. We also wanted to show that the data visualization process can be a critical step in the research process.”

Weller’s takeaway was that using visualization to assist with research can help build a stronger structural understanding of discoveries and provide researchers with a new dimension of understanding.

Accompanying each visualization are statements by the authors describing how they made their visualizations and what they learned about their data from the process. The Data Visualization Contest exhibit will remain on display outside CRDDS room 206 through 2019. To learn more about the individual winners, check out our February story.