O'Reilly logo

Beautiful Visualization by Julie Steele, Noah Iliinsky

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 14. Revealing Matrices

Maximilian Schich

THIS CHAPTER UNCOVERS SOME NONINTUITIVE STRUCTURES in curated databases arising from local activity by the curators as well as from the heterogeneity of the source data. Our example is taken from the fields of art history and archaeology, as these are my trained areas of expertise. However, the findings I present here—namely, that it is possible to visualize the complex structures of databases—can also be demonstrated for many other structured data collections, including biological research databases and massive collaborative efforts such as DBpedia, Freebase, or the Semantic Web. All these data collections share a number of properties, which are not straightforward but are important if we want to make use of the recorded data or if we have to decide where and how our energies and funds should be spent in improving them.

Curated databases in art history and archaeology come in a number of flavors, such as library catalogs and bibliographies, image archives, museum inventories, and more general research databases. All of them can be built on extremely complicated data models, and given enough data, even the most boring examples—however simple they may appear on the surface—can be confusingly complex in any single link relation. The thematic coverage potentially includes all man-made objects: the Library of Congress Classification System, for example, deals with everything from artists and cookbooks to treatises in physics.

As our example, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required