Conduct Research on Data Visualization Services in Libraries
Begin by reading about the history of data visualization services in libraries. Consider types of services offered (workshops, consultations, etc.) and staff necessary (graphic designer, data librarian, etc.) for development and implementation of data visualization services, paying special attention to challenges and solutions.
- The "Data Visualization Clinic": a Library-led Critique Workshop for Data VisualizationA case study of a library-hosted data visualization clinic where participants bring in visualizations for peer feedback.
- Data Visualization as a Library Service: Embedding Visualization Services in the Library Research LifecycleFeatures a data visualization consultation service and discusses case studies.
- Excel for Data Visualization in Academic Health Sciences Libraries: a Qualitative Case StudyA qualitative analysis of eight Excel-based data visualization offerings by libraries, from beginner to advanced expertise.
- I Am a Data Visualization Designer in an Academic Library, and More!A data visualization designer and digital arts consultant describes their experience in an academic library, complete with detailed case studies.
- The Medical Library Association Guide to Data Management for LibrariansChapter 10: Contextualizing Visualization Services in Libraries
- Research Data Management in the Age of Big Data: Roles and Opportunities for LibrariansExplains how data visualization services fit with other data management services offered by libraries.
Perform a Data Visualization Needs Assessment
Consider performing a data visualization needs assessment to tailor your services to users’ needs. Model your needs assessment after existing examples and diversify your data collection methods. Think about the various stakeholders whose input would offer valuable insight.
- CSU Data Visualization Needs AssessmentThis example shows the ongoing and practical components of conducting a needs assessment.
- Methods for Conducting an Educational Needs AssessmentOverview of needs assessment steps and methods that can be applied to any topic.
- Spring 2017 Research Data Management Needs Assessment Survey ResultsIn addition to the results, this report shares the needs assessment survey as an appendix.
- Strategic Plan for Research Data Services at the University of Minnesota LibrariesThe data visualization needs assessment done for the University of Minnesota Libraries was part of a larger research data needs assessment. See the full report here.
Look for Data Visualization Learning Opportunities
If your library does not have the resources to hire a graphic designer, data visualization specialist, data analyst, or statistician, you may need to educate yourself in order to offer a data visualization service. Look for in-person workshops, online opportunities, and institutional presentations and course auditing opportunities. The focus of data visualization trainings varies (tools, strategies, disciplines, etc.) - if possible, diversify the types of trainings you take.
- Cool Creative Communications: Dazzling Data VisualizationRegister for this on-demand NNLM Moodle course and learn how to find and format data, create visualizations in Tableau Public, evaluate visualizations, and apply design principles.
- Data Science and Visualization Institute for LibrariansDSVIL is a week-long in-person "camp" offered by NCSU. As of summer 2020, they are not offering the institute, but it's worth keeping an eye out for future opportunities.
- LinkedIn LearningCheck if your institution has a subscription to LinkedIn Learning. There are 1263 results when "data visualization" is entered into the search box. Bill Shander offers useful starter courses.
- An Overview of Every Data Visualization Course on the InternetCurated list that identifies the ideal audience and experience needed.
- PolicyVizIn-person workshops held in Washington DC, with the possibility of traveling and online opportunities.
- Storytelling with DataStorytelling with Data offers a blog, podcast, and in-person and online workshops.
- TableauClassroom training for Tableau offered in various locations.
Review Open Source Data Visualization Materials from Other Libraries
One of the best resources for developing a data visualization service may be the workshop materials made publicly available by other libraries. These can be great sources for developing your own suite of services or initial outline for a data visualization program or workshop.
- Duke University Center for Data and Visualization SciencesDuke University Library's Center for Data and Visualization Sciences makes their workshops available in a video archive where you can see the slides as well as listen to how the instructors teach the curriculum.
- North Carolina State University Data and Visualization WorkshopsNSCU Library's Data and Visualization Workshop materials include slides, activity guides, data sets, and videos.
- Northwestern's Charting a New Course: Practical Data VisualizationThis course - created for an MLA CE course - gives attendees a strong foundation in the principles of data visualization. In addition attendees will use Microsoft Excel, a common but incredibly powerful tool, to visualize library-relevant data through a series of hands-on activities. Attendees will gain practical and immediately useful skills for visualizing both qualitative and quantitative data.
- Penn State Data Visualization WorkshopsSee recorded tutorials of past data visualization workshops from Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.
Incorporate Ethics & Accessibility Guidelines into Services
Data visualization services should educate about ethical considerations and accessibility guidelines, ensuring that visualizations benefit as many users as possible.
- Accessible Data Viz is Better Data VizHighlights five ways to make data visualization more accessible.
- A Reader on Data VisualizationChapter 5: Ethics
Develop Data Visualization Use Cases
Whether participants in your programming have a specific dataset that they are working with or not, it is a good idea to have a few prepared datasets for instruction and practice. You may create your own or utilize those provided by data visualization tools such as Tableau. Below are a few sources of freely available data.
- IPUMSProvides census microdata and survey data from around the world integrated across time and space. Microdata allows the user to extract data at the individual response level, allowing for detailed and specific variable analysis
- GapminderGapminder combines data from multiple sources into unique coherent time-series that can’t be found elsewhere. For the sake of transparency, whenever allowed to share the underlying data, we make our complete calculations available for download, often in Excel files.
Evaluate Data Visualization Services
The final step is to evaluate whatever data visualization services you offer to better them over time. You might evaluate content, curriculum flow, examples provided, interactivity, marketing strategies, and more. There is a gap in the evaluation literature where data visualization services are concerned; this is an opportunity for professional advancement.
- ACRL Project OutcomeACRL has created Project Outcome to help libraries measure the significance of programmatic outcomes in a standardized manner.