An Ethnographic Study of Information Visualization
Speaker: Esra Ozkan. Moderator: Madeleine Clare Elish. Abstract: Information visualization could be largely defined as graphical representation of complex information. It comprises a set of tools and techniques that transforms sophisticated data such as scientific findings, human experience, social relations, and political patterns to visuals. With masses of data turned into visual displays, information visualization has become integrated in the everyday practices of the media, and social, cultural and institutional structures. This paper would provide a research outline for the study of the field of information visualization. Using ethnographic methods, the research would explore the assumptions, political ideologies, professional debates, and technical, aesthetic, and ethical choices shaping visuality and visibility in the contemporary United States. It would examine how the configuration of training and technologies shapes what information is visualized, how it is visualized, and what is left invisible. The presentation would introduce the research framework, questions, and methods and elaborate on the ways in which it could contribute to the scholarly studies of the emerging field of information visualization as well as to the public debates over information age.