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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hodge podge of various conference and workshop papers, 30 Mar 2001
This review is from: Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
A disappointing purchase. It is not a coherent text but a collection of papers gathered from various IEEE and ACM workshops and conferences which have been thematically grouped. Some of the material is interesting such as the PARC intranet cones, fisheye, and 3D representation. But much of it is living proof that questionable science is alive and well on the information technology planet. In particular some of the material on querying is seriously open to challenge. In one case points of light we are told represent houses, other graphics represent houses and their prices. None of these properties are remotely visually self evident in the studies cited. The results seem to fly in the face of all established useability metrics. In fact the latter point is a flaw in much of the recent revival of data visualisation work (or the visualisation of highly structured data if you want a full affectation). Over twenty years ago I can remember doing multidimensional modelling without a 'data visualisation' band wagon in sight. Now any program with a slider bar is rushing over to the visualisation camp with a vengenace.
The one redeeeming feature of this book is that it has a section on the visualisation of scientific data, which has been largely the meat and potatoes of data visualisation companies for over twenty years.
Trying to mimic 3D in 2D, even with VR, and then claiming that wow! this will turn database access inside out, is just a flight of fancy. But similar flights of fancy, ungrounded in empirical methodologies are all too common in this area. There is too much cognitive work to be addressed on spatial understanding yet (I avoid the phrase 'spatial reasoning')and regrettably this collection doesn't push the boat out sufficiently on this isssue.
Certainly there is much to admire in the volume by way of individual pieces of work (who could not be impressed by Table Lens?), but in this instance, the sum of the glittering parts is less than a whole text ought to be. Get yourself a good old fashioned jaw breaking graphics text.It will serve you better in the long run.
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