The Visual Miscellaneum

So, this semester I have been learning a great deal about “information”, “information professionals” and “information seekers”.  Everything pertaining to information, including the tricky task of defining it.  I am currently thumbing through and reading a book I happened upon at my library called The Visual Miscellaneum and I am so excited by the prologue:

This book started out as an exploration. Swamped by information, I was searching for a better way to see it all and understand it.   Why not visually?

In a way, we’re all visual now.  Every day, every hour, maybe even every minute, we’re looking and absorbing information via the web.  We’re steeped in it.  Maybe even lost in it.  So perhaps what we need are well-designed, colourful and – hopefully – useful charts to help us navigate.  A modern day map book.

But can a book with the minimum text, rammed with diagrams, maps and charts still be exciting and readable?  Can it still be fun?  Can you make jokes in graphs?  Are you even allowed to?

So I started experimenting with visualizing information and ideas in both new and old ways.  I went for subjects that sprange from my own curiosity and ignorance – the questions I wanted answering.  I avoided straightforward facts and dry statistics.  Instead, I focused on the relationship between facts, the context, the connections that make information meaningful.

So that’s what this book is.  Miscellaneous facts and ideas, interconnected visually.  A visual miscellaneum. A series of experiments in making information approachable and beautiful.  See what you think.

David McCandless

I found this passage very interesting and initially did not even notice it upon picking up the book and turning to the middle to find well designed and interesting graphs.  I thought the idea of making information approachable and beautiful was particularly interesting.  Often times, when we look for information we don’t think of it as beautiful OR approachable, but it can seem rather daunting and instill a great deal of doubt at initially.  I would like to think that as an information professional, I can contribute to the efforts of making information at least more approachable, if not more beautiful.

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One thought on “The Visual Miscellaneum

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on volvelles and sneaker waves. « Acorn Electric

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