Visualizing data with Many Eyes

A few months ago, Many Eyes, a web-based application from IBM’s alphaWorks emerging technologies group, was mentioned in a CIT blog post about online visualizations for the 2008 elections.

Many Eyes is worth a closer look as a tool for your or your students to upload and share data and explore information in new ways.

At the site, you can choose from many pre-existing visualizations and data sets uploaded by users.  Each visualization at the site has a discussion forum and a ratings system so that users can post further information or comments about the data and visualization.

If you register at the site, you can upload your own data – it’s a simple as assembling the information in a spreadsheet, then pasting the data into a form at the site.  There’s a ten minute tutorial video that shows you how to prepare your own data set for use at the site.

After preparing and uploading your data, then choosing options for displaying the information as a visualization, you can embed and interactive version of the visualization in your website or Blackboard course website.  You can interact with the visualization “live” on your site – clicking on data points for more information, sorting the data, or exploring different ways of visualizing the information.

Below are three examples that show the types of visualizations you can find at the site and innovative ways to display information.

The first uses textual information to explore Co-Occurrences of Names in the New Testament.

Another uses a word cloud to explore Shakespeare’s Favorite Words.

The site includes many datasets and visualizations using governmental data on health, politics and population. Here’s an example that explores Distribution of US Foreign Aid from 1946-2005.

If you would like to explore ideas for using Many Eyes and other data visualization tools in your courses and other ways that you can share student work and research in public forums, contact the CIT to talk with a consultant.

Randy Riddle

Author: Randy Riddle

Randy Riddle is a Senior Consultant in Duke Learning Innovation and consults with faculty in the Social Sciences on pedagogy, learning, student assessment, and integrating technology into teaching practices. His professional interests include active learning, “flipped” classroom methods, inclusive classroom strategies, and integration of e-learning tools, social networking, video and multimedia, and data visualization into the daily work of teaching.