- learn about the conceptual framework Hodges' model. A tool that can help integrate HEALTH and SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model is situated, facilitates person-centredness, integrated - holistic care and reflective practice. A new site using Drupal is an ongoing aim - the creation of a reflective workbench. Email: h2cmng @ yahoo.co.uk Welcome

Saturday, July 21, 2007

SPT 2007 InfoVis / Infoaesthetics & history

I missed out the initial plenary at the conference the other day on The Moral Significance of Technical Artifacts. Reading Michel Serres introduced me to Latour, and the speaker Peter Kroes linked Latour and Verbeek - "What Things Do". There's lots of reading as discussed on design and technology blogs.

Peter Kroes' plenary included a slide with a PHYSICAL domain and an INTENTIONAL domain. Once I swapped these around (INTERPERSONAL - SCIENCES) something (at least) made sense to me. Like the other plenaries this was totally engaging.

This session on Tuesday 10 July 9:00-11:00
Session J: Aesthetic Computing (Laurens Room)
Michael Kelly (UNC Charlotte)
Robert Kosara (UNC Charlotte)

- resulted in 6+ pages of notes. Michael Kelly presented the paper and then Robert Kosara displayed and discussed examples of information visualization - which included:

  • Sick leave in Germany (striking approach)
  • Titanic visualization
  • Map of the Market
  • Parallel Sets (could see Public mental Health here)
  • Dumpster
  • Bus times - Sweden (Art or Data)
I found a web resource produced by Robert Kosara which displays the above. The discussion covered criteria for visualization, recognition and the readability of forms. (The use of basic colour within data tables can work wonders: see Tidwell, Designing Interfaces, chap. 6). Kosara has other examples of glyphs for data display in intensive care units.

In addition I found two blogs, the first I believe related to Lev Manovich - Language of New Media mentioned by the speakers:

information aesthetics


Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media

I'm no mathematician as will be revealed in future posts, but for some reason (!?) visualization and Hodges' model have me in their grip.

This interest started in the late 1980s, which was good timing since the 1990s saw a major UK initiative on visualization in the social sciences. To be clear I wasn't involved beyond managing to attend some really fascinating events:

1996 'Thinking with Diagrams' Colloquium, IEE, Savoy Place, London. 18 Jan BCS-SGES et al. Professional Group C4: Digest No: 96/010

9-11 Sept 1998, Visualization and Virtual Reality in the Social Sciences Workshop: Weetwood Hall, Leeds, UK, Advisory Group on Computer Graphics [Archive: website no longer maintained since 1999] Attended by Brian Hodges and PJ. Poster 'Show & Tell' session on Hodges' model. Event reported in Information Technology in Nursing (1999) 11,1,14-15

So after the presentation I had to ask about the possible need to review existing visualization techniques, to do a stock-take - a lessons learned if you will. The session was excellent especially the mix of philosophy and visuals.

Sometimes maybe there's a risk that if a picture paints a thousand words - "well let's go home then and read Harry Potter...."

The old Advisory Group on Computer Graphics produced some excellent work and reports:

Review of Visualization in the Social Sciences: A State of the Art Survey and Report
Scott Orford, Daniel Dorling, Richard Harris
School of Geographical Sciences
University of Bristol

From my limited perspective I still have a sense that the real revolution is yet to happen - for health and the social sciences. The fact that Michael Kelly and Robert Kosara are not only displaying the slides, but with the Society for Philosophy and Technology and others they are asking the tough philosophical questions could be a sign; a resurgence of interest in the transdisciplinary connection of art TO computing (TO social sciences) - with a dusting of philosophy across all.

We talk about a web year, the vis year may turn slower but is an up-to-date review pending, perhaps it's under way somewhere...?

One for your diary: Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering

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