Introduction + Thoughts on this week’s readings

For this first post, I believe we agreed to just introduce ourselves and our research interests, so here I go:

I’m Agnes and I’m in my second year of the MI program in the LIS stream. I have worked in the non-profit sector for the past 10 years, on the research side of business (prospect research). My interests are in the area of information visualization (IV) and how IV tools can be used to analyze large sets of data. I would specifically like to research how dynamic visualizations can be used to support executive decision making.

Let me also throw in a few thoughts on this week’s readings:

Knight’s idea of “writing-to-think” resonated with me but what really sparked my interest was his list of alternatives to a conventional journal-keeping method as a means of private writing (pg. 3.), and especially his inclusion of mind mapping as one of them. I’ve always enjoyed working with visuals, such as graphs, flowcharts, conceptual diagrams, and maps of all kinds, and found dynamic visualizations particularly useful. For example, I regularly use MindJet’s mapping software to brainstorm ideas, prioritize things and plan. MindJet lets me organize and re-organize concepts, filter things in and out, zero in on a particular aspect of the project I might be working on, and combine several maps into one. TouchGraph, another popular dynamic visualization software I’ve worked with in the past, is terrific for representing and navigating relationships. But what I’ve noticed is that people tend to gravitate towards more traditional means of representing data and do not take full advantage of the new technologies that are now available. So given how complex the world we live in is, I wonder why these techniques have not gained wider acceptance.

Till next time …

– AP

One thought on “Introduction + Thoughts on this week’s readings

  1. Hi there! I’m Katherine Laite! I am a first year Museum Studies student here at the iSchool. My research interests are mostly in the area of difficult histories (particularly slavery and the slave trade) and how we choose to display and/or represent them. My undergraduate degrees are in history and archaeology.

    Luker’s ideas about writing to think also struck me as very useful. This is something I have sort of always done without really realizing it. I used to study by mapping my notes into graphic form (usually some sort of bubble thought map or flow chart) and I’d also do this when researching for papers.

    For me personally, I find that I think best when I touch pen/pencil to paper. I’m not sure why. I even seem to process class readings better when I see them in print as opposed to on a screen. Maybe other people feel the same way and might have trouble working with newer thought mapping technology because they feel it interferes with their thinking process, as it sometimes seems to for me! Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I’m definitely open to learning more of those new technologies that Agnes mentions.

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