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For Beyond the Black Box, University of Edinburgh, February 2017
As the datasets used by humanists become ever larger and more readily accessible, the ability to render and interpret overwhelmingly large amounts of information in graphically literate ways has become an increasingly important part of the researcher’s skillset. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the core principles of scholarly data visualisation and shown how to use a variety of visualisation tools.
Visualisations may sound like the opposite of a black box, as they display the data provided. However, aside from 'truthiness' of things on a screen, lots of invisible algorithmic decisions affect what appears on the screen. Data used in visualisations is increasingly generated algorithmically rather than manually. What choices is software making for you, and whose world view do they reflect? Algorithms are choices - if you can't read the source code or access the learned model, how can you understand them?