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Mapping the World of Knowledge: Cartograms and the Diffusion of Knowledge ISKO Rome 2010 Lynne C. Howarth Faculty of Information University of Toronto,

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Presentation on theme: "Mapping the World of Knowledge: Cartograms and the Diffusion of Knowledge ISKO Rome 2010 Lynne C. Howarth Faculty of Information University of Toronto,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mapping the World of Knowledge: Cartograms and the Diffusion of Knowledge ISKO Rome 2010 Lynne C. Howarth Faculty of Information University of Toronto, Canada

2 Representative of Woman

3 Who is Barack Obama? -cover story New York Magazine Sept. 28, 2009

4 Cartograms A derivative of the data map Adds dimensionality to geographic positioning of information (Gastner and Newman 2004) Generated based on columns of categorized data Transformed by an algorithm Projected using mapping software

5 Red=Republican Blue=Democrat US Presidential election, 2008

6 Plant hardiness zones (NA)

7 Worldmapper - 1 Software tool for generating cartograms Developed by Barford and Dorling 2004 Began with medicine + epidemiology; extended to demographics + world populations a collection of world maps where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest (2009)

8 Worldmapper countries divided into 12 separate regions, each with assigned colour range; up to 5 shades of colour distinguish countries or territories one from another Data derived from the Human Development Index, other United Nations agencies, FAO, WHO, CIA, World Bank, etc. Diffusion-based algorithms used to generate density-equalizing projections (cartograms)

9 Proportion of scientific papers written in 2001 by researchers living in that country

10 Worldmapper - Impact Re-sized map a multi-level description of a topic in simple, accessible, language- independent, and relative terms for comparison and contrast Contextualizes data relative to place and time –(semantic annotation - Prasad & Guha 2008) Colour and sizing facilitate description; also includes links to poster with verbal summaries, tables, graphs, technical notes, and data files for additional explanation and source information

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12 Potential for KO - 1 Visualizing and contextualizing subject content –Distribution by place – geographic bibliometrics –Diffusion of knowledge – systematic progression of ideas, topics, expertise –Identification of gaps in knowledge migration Linking of temporal (chronology and sequence) to space/place and topic Facilitating associations, serendipitous relationships, unique linkages

13 Potential for KO - 2 Assessing disruptions in diffusion of knowledge –Economic, political, social, cultural Identifying opportunities for scholarly remediation (gaps in knowledge production; areas for future research) Addressing conditions of access and use (policies for redressing distortions, anomalies, restrictions/censorship, etc.)

14 Potential for Managing Subject Content Topic silence Visual warrant Revisions to subject tools

15 How? Data-rich repositories, catalogues, bibliographies, indexes, databases Harvesting metadata for data columns Algorithmic manipulation for production of cartograms Association of textual data with resized representation (metadata to map)

16 Why? Visualizing and interpreting rich stores of textual surrogates Descriptive (storytelling) Analytical (identifying trends, gaps, problems, etc.) Formative (effecting change) Transformative (language-independent; non- verbal expression; different cognitive modalities)

17 Limitations Cartograms as representations Surrogates of representations Imposition of a map of the world – whose map? Assumed agreement on utility of colour, shape, size Knowledge distortion? Opportunities for misrepresentation or deception – What story? Whose story? Limitations of constituent data

18 Nonetheless … Promising visualization approach/tool to –Representing subject/knowledge content –Contextualizing subjects/knowledge –Tracking subject/knowledge activity across time and space –Identifying gaps and barriers to the production and dissemination of subjects/knowledge Potential for enhancing subject/knowledge indexing and retrieval tools

19 Thank-you Questions?


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