Monday, July 9, 2007

Visualizing Data - a community task?

A while back I came across this site called Many Eyes - from the people at the Collaborative User Experience (CUE) Research group a the IBM research center. I think it's a great site. Anyone can register, upload a data set and then choose a visualization - a way to display the data.

While I love the site and what it allows users to do, I'm not 100% sold on the idea of a community built around data visualization. Recent efforts in this space by a company called Business Objects, with their Insight website take the idea further - they are actually trying to get a community to write a book on business intelligence and data! Good luck with that.

The tricky thing with information is that the devil is all in the details. Collaborating with other experts in a field who understand nuances (and pitfalls) and have a grasp on the actual problems being addressed is invaluable community collaboration. Asking a bunch of random people on the web to talk about your graph - not as useful.

At least IBM is approaching it in the right way - truly open, pure visualization research. When it's obviously a tactic dreamed up by over zealous marketers hoping to hop on the 'social networking' bandwagon (as Business Object's play looks to be), I'd give it a miss.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a [bad] marketing site pretending to be a community site. All the postings (and there are not many) have been done by BOBJ employees. The content has not changed since June.

Jonah said...

Agreed - an example of what gives marketing (and marketers) a bad name