Ruecker and Radzikowska at BU on April 8

The Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering
and the
Boston University Center for the Humanities

Interactive Text Visualization for Humanists

Stan Ruecker, Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design
Milena Radzikowska, Faculty of Communication Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary

Monday, April 8th, 1-3 pm
Hariri Institute for Computing
111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180
Boston, MA 02215

Milena Radzikowska and Stan Ruecker, pioneers in the development of interactive digital systems, will present a range of their recent and ongoing research projects. While interactive data visualizations are becoming more common in many areas of academia, humanities disciplines offer special challenges since their “data” largely comprise texts and images, rather than scientific or numeric information. Static modes of data presentation, such as pie charts and graphs, are well known, but these modes simply display information and thereby provide a single, specific perspective. Interactive visualizations, on the other hand, provide the means by which users can themselves explore, manipulate, and experiment with information, and so develop their own ideas as well as share them with others.

Milena and Stan will briefly discuss the theoretical background for these kinds of interactive visualization tools, with reference to ideas by researchers such as Ramsay, Unsworth, Moretti, and Manovich. They will then move to detailed descriptions of their own research projects. These include speculative timelines, a comparative search visualization, an enhanced reading environment, a theatre simulation system, and a number of different rich-prospect browsers, where some meaningful representation of every item in a collection is combined with tools to manipulate the display.


Professors Ruecker and Radzikowska are authors, along with Stéfan Sinclair (McGill University, Montréal) of The Monk Project, a digital environment designed to help humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in texts, as well as Information Visualization for Humanities Scholars, an open source article distributed on MLA Commons, and Visual Interface Design for Digital Cultural Heritage, London: Ashgate Press, 2011.

Milena Radzikowska is a visual communication and interface designer, as well as an Associate Professor in Information Design, Faculty of Communication Studies, Mount Royal University. In 2000, she graduated from NSCAD University (BDes Hon.) and, in 2003, from the University of Alberta, with a terminal masters (MDes) degree in visual communication design. Her active research interests are in the areas of decision support systems, visual communication, interface and information design, and text visualization.

Stan Ruecker is an Associate Professor of Design at the Institute of Design in the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Stan holds advanced degrees in English, Humanities Computing, and Design, and has expertise in the design of experimental interfaces to support online browsing tasks. He was the principal investigator of the Humanities Visualization project, and is leading the interface design team of Implementing New Knowledge Environments. His current research interests are in the areas of computer-human interfaces, humanities visualization, and information design.