Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Information Visualization vs Knowledge Visualization

To turn information into proto-knowledge and then into knowledge, various forms of visualizations can be helpful.

I distinguish between information visualizations and knowledge visualizations.
  • Information visualization: Information visualizations are visual representations of patterns (concepts, perceived regularities), e.g. bar graph, line graph, pie chart, or word clouds. These isolated patterns do not make sense without contextual knowledge.
This pie chart shows a pattern without context.
  • Knowledge visualization: Knowledge visualizations are visual representations of the connections (or context) between concepts. Knowledge visualizations show concepts in context, while information visualizations show isolated concepts.
    • Knowledge visualizations can show meaningfully grouped concepts, for example in Venn diagrams, grouped lists, tables, matrixes. 
    • Knowledge visualizations can make the connections between concepts explicit, for example concept maps, or semantic maps.
This concept map shown connections between concepts.
Concepts can be understood by seeing them in context to other concepts.

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