Summer Picks

18 Jul

I’ve but a short post to share this week. Honestly, it’s just too hot to even think clearly enough to write, BUT not to read. With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few of the informationist-related books that I’m working through this summer. If you have others to contribute or thoughts to share about any of these, I hope you’ll do so in the comments section.

Beginning Database Design, Clare Churcher

Beginning Database Design, Clare Churcher

It’s true that most librarians learn about database design in grad school and it’s surely a skill that we should have expertise in throughout our careers, but a good refresher text is never anything to snuff at. I picked up this one at the MIT bookstore when I was taking the Software Carpentry Bootcamp several weeks back. It’s a keeper for the bookshelf on my desk.

Visualize This, Nathan Yau

Visualize This, Nathan Yau

Data Points: Visualization that Matters, Nathan Yau

Data Points: Visualization that Matters, Nathan Yau

These two books by Nathan Yau, together, are providing me with both a skill set to retrieve data from the Web and a really good understanding of how to present data and/or information so that it makes the most sense to an audience. Yau writes clearly and with a tone that keeps you interested in a topic that, lets face it, could easily slip into the dry and “put you to sleep” mode. As one with an appreciation for design, I also think that the books are treasures to look at. They’re a great starter set for what is my summer reading’s real focus, data visualization.

Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment, Ben Fry

Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment, Ben Fry

More technical and dense than Yau’s books, I had a half-price coupon for an O’Reilly Media ebook and so I picked this one. It’s definitely good for reference and troubleshooting, though I know it’s not one that I’ll read cover-to-cover.

The Functional Art: An introduction to information graphics and visualization (Voices That Matter), Alberto Cairo

The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization, Alberto Cairo

Cairo’s is another really beautiful book to both look at and read. Design is first and foremost. I’m finding Yau’s books more practical for my learning, but I love picking this one up and flipping through its pages every now and then, just because it’s so nice to peruse. But not to sell it short, it’s filled with a lot of good advice for communicating information in a clear and interesting manner. It fits well with the others on my shelf.

Beautiful Visualization: Looking at Data through the Eyes of Experts (Theory in Practice), edited by Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky

Beautiful Visualization: Looking at Data through the Eyes of Experts (Theory in Practice), edited by Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky

As the title suggests, this is a phenomenal collection of works by many of the leading practitioners of data visualization working today. This is the perfect working informationist beach book, offering a bunch of short, quick reads, separate to themselves, that together give you a really high bar to shoot for if you want to go into this field.

A Simple Introduction to Data Science,  Lars Nielsen & Noreen Burlingame

A Simple Introduction to Data Science, Lars Nielsen & Noreen Burlingame

Short and sweet (just 75 pages long), this is a staple on my Kindle. It explains data science in lay terms, yet from the scientist’s (not the librarian’s) point of view. It’s a nice reference to keep handy.

Pretty Good for a Girl

Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass (Music in American Life), Murphy Hicks Henry

And finally, lest you think I’ve completely rearranged all of my life’s priorities, I’m really, (really), enjoying this compilation of women (most forgotten and/or overlooked) from the 1920s to present who have held their own in the male-dominated world of bluegrass music. It’s stellar!

That’s a full beach bag of books for me (and you, if you want to seek some or all of them out) and summer is really only so long. In fact, how many days do I have ’til vacation?!?!

Happy reading and stay cool!

12 Responses to “Summer Picks”

  1. Regina Raboin July 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    This Spring I read “Big data : a revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think” by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=uy4lh-WEhhIC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ViewAPI#v=onepage&q&f=false

    An interesting exploration of how ‘big data’ can be harnessed to assist in solving or better understanding complex social, cultural, economic, health and environmental issues.
    A very fast read with some interesting big data use examples.

  2. janetlc July 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Three favorites on my bookshelf (but a little to big for the beach bag) are Edward R Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983), Envisioning Information (1990) and Visual Explanation (1997). Older titles, but still relevant! Janet Cowen

  3. janetlc July 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Favorites on my bookshelf (but too big for the beach bag) are Edward R. Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983), Envisioning Information (1990) and Visual Explanations (1997). Older titles, and still interesting. Janet Cowen

    • salgore July 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Oh yes, thanks for mentioning Mr. Tufte, Janet. I have all of his books, too. I didn’t include them in this list, but only because I read them years ago. They’re DEFINITELY must-haves for data visualization, though. No doubt!

  4. Lisa Federer July 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Funny, I wrote about my summer reading on my blog today as well! Your list is much more pragmatic than mine. :) Thanks for these great recommendations.

  5. Lisa Carter July 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Well, I have been inspired to the point that I just purchased the Kindle version of Simple Introduction to Data Science for my ipad. I will let you know how it goes. I can handle 75 pages of intellectual stimuli. Thanks for the tips.

  6. nclairoux July 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I bought the book “Information is Beautiful” while in London last year (now that’s a nerdy birthday present), and those interested in data visualization may visit the accompanying website to see some of the amazing graphics from the book. Happy vacation Sally!

  7. lisafederer July 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Funny, I was just blogging about my summer reading today as well. Your list is much more pragmatic than mine. :) Thanks for these great recommendations!

  8. Regina Raboin July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Adding an additional 3 books, not strictly on any type of data topic. Research Methods in Information (2007), Alison Jane Pickard; Communicating Nature (2006), Julia B. Corbett; and Sacred Ecology, 2nd ed. (2008), Fikret Berkes. and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) – just ’cause.

  9. Susan Keller July 19, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Thanks for this list–enjoy reading your blog!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Datenjournalismus im Sommer 2013 | Datenjournalist - August 18, 2013

    […] Hier findet sich eine Liste von Büchern rund um Daten & Visualisierung. […]

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