Category: Data

The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19

Mass media routinely portray information about COVID-19 deaths on logarithmic graphs. But do their readers understand them? Alessandro Romano, Chiara Sotis, Goran Dominioni, and Sebastián Guidi carried out an experiment which suggests that they don’t. What is perhaps more relevant: respondents looking at a linear scale graph have different attitudes and policy preferences towards the … Continued

The public debate around COVID-19 demonstrates our ongoing and misplaced trust in numbers

COVID-19 data and numbers are everywhere. However, these numbers are also a source of debate and subject to vastly different interpretations. Every day we are posed with a question that divides even epidemiologists: what does it really mean that positive cases or mortalities are up or down? Yet the media and the public reads deep … Continued

Simple data visualisations have become key to communicating about the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know little about their impact

If you had mentioned ‘flattening the curve’ in 2019, chances are you would have been met with a blank stare. However, almost halfway through 2020, the language of data visualisation has become commonplace, and data visualisations are widely used to communicate about the pandemic to the public. However, as Helen Kennedy observes, their power to … Continued

The Locked-Down: We need more than headline statistics to understand the impact of Covid-19

For governments and individuals much of our understanding of the Covid-19 pandemic has been mediated through metrics of cases and deaths and shaped by heartbreaking personal stories. In this post, Leeza Osipenko argues that such metrics only scratch the surface of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and makes the case for more expansive data … Continued

Book Review: Storytelling with Data: Let’s Practice! by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

In Storytelling with Data: Let’s Practice!, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic presents a new guide to data communication, featuring over 100 hands-on exercises and 250 data visualisations to help build skills in impactful data communication grounded in effective storytelling. Intended for anyone committed to improving their ability to communicate data and complemented by a website that enables users to further hone their … Continued

The Magnificent Seven: Looking Back on a Year of Exploring the Web Archives Datasets

It has been just over a year since we kicked off a deep dive into the Library of Congress Web Archives on the Signal! Now at over 2 petabytes, the web archives are a complex aggregation of interrelated web objects that make up the internet as we know it (images, text, code, audio, video, etc.). […]

In the Library’s Web Archives: Dig If You Will the Pictures

The Digital Content Management section has been working on a project to extract and make available sets of files from the Library’s significant Web Archives holdings. This is another step to explore the Web Archives and make them more widely accessible and usable. Our aim in creating these sets is to identify reusable, “real world” […]

Tale of the converted: how complex social problems have made me question the use of data in driving impact

In practice the way in which research impacts and influences policy and society is often thought to be a rational, ordered and linear process. Whilst this might represent a ‘common sense’ understanding of research impact, in this cross-post John Burgoyne reflects on how upending the primacy of data and embracing complexity can lead to a more nuanced and effective understanding […]