What has been working?
Graphic Sociology is one of a growing number of blogs that feature and critique information graphics and I’m glad to be part of this group. I’m glad that since there are so many of us, each one can specialize a bit. With this back-to-school season, Graphic Sociology is going to graduate and move into a more analytical, less repetitive direction with fewer reposts, more original content, and more macro-level analysis rather than micro-level critiques of particular graphics. If you love the old format, go ahead and look through past posts. Or better, browse through the list of links in my blogroll. There are plenty of other blogs, often updated more frequently than Graphic Sociology, where you can gaze upon graphics for hours and hours.
So what are the changes?
1) graphics will be tilt towards original work by me (or others – nominate your own work!) with fewer reposts of graphics found around the interwebs,
2) reposts will show modifications rather than just tell about opportunities for modifications and describe how and why graphics come to be as they are,
3) I will tweet and pin graphics I like (@digital_flaneus at pinterest) for those who enjoy having a stream of graphics wash over their visual cortex,
4) each month I will review an information graphics how-to or theory-based book (see below for the initial list of books),
5) new textbooks and related online content in the social sciences will occasionally be reviewed with an eye towards assessing their information graphics content.
Every one of these changes is a change that will require more time and commitment on my part. Because I haven’t suddenly found more hours in the day, this means there will be fewer posts on the blog, but the posts that appear will be deeper, more engaging and thought-provoking. My twitter and pinterest infographics board will serve to stream interesting graphics for those who want more volume.
Which books will be reviewed?
These are all books that offer thoughtful perspectives on how to create or how to understand information graphics.
1. Tufte, Edward. “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” and “Envisioning Information” [September]
2. Yau, Nathan. “Visualize this: The flowingdata guide to design, visualization, and statistics” [October]
3. Grafton and Rosenberg. “Cartographies of Time: A history of the timeline” [November]
4. Few, Stephen. “Now you see it: Simple visualization techniques for quantitative analysis” and “Show me the numbers: Designing tables and graphs to enlighten” [December]
5. Ware, Colin. “Information Visualization: Perception for design, 3rd edition” [January]
6. Steele and Iliinsky “Beautiful Visualization” and Segaran and Hammerbacher “Beautiful Data” both published by O’Reilly [February]
7. Wong, Dona “Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics” [March]
8. Cleveland, William “Visualizing data” and “The elements of graphing data” [April]
9. Up for grabs
I’m also planning to review textbooks in the social sciences from the perspective of the pedagogical usefulness of their graphic elements both in the books and in their online supplements, where available. I am still building my list for this but it will include Dalton Conley’s “You May Ask Yourself: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist, 3rd edition” and “We the people: An introduction to American politics”. I’m also looking for a good title in Social Psychology and one in Economics. Feel free to send along nominations.
Graphic Sociology will focus more intently on the intersection of information graphic design and social sciences. It will have more original graphical content. It will also develop an ambition to become a resource for teachers looking to choose textbooks with high quality information graphics and for social scientists who want to be able to quickly understand which books are worth buying if they want to get into creating information graphics in their own research.
If there are other changes folks would like to see or changes that already rub the wrong way, please leave me a comment. That’s the beauty of web 2.0. Readers can talk back.