Visualizing Human Rights Data

The second in OSA’s data visualization workshop series, this practice-oriented session focused on innovative exploitation of human rights data in analog and digital archival collections. It strived to explore the application of various contemporary visualization tools in order to enhance access to documents and data, visualize human rights themes and illustrate relational patterns across collections, and reveal hidden values of the records. Participants learned how to strategize, plan and implement such a visualization project, based on communication goals, users’ expected needs, and available metadata and data.

Following an introduction to human rights data management principles and best practices, as well as definitions and methodologies of data visualization (mashups, interactive mapping, and infographics), participants got acquainted with and compared current visualization tools and platforms. They discovered various interface components (navigation, tabs, faceted browsing, map-based browsing, charts, badges, etc.) and explored how to combine them to produce a series of templates that best served their data searchability and representation needs.

While bringing up concrete examples from OSA’s holdings, the archivists, records managers and researchers present discussed strategies of assessing the uniqueness of certain human rights collections or datasets, of prioritizing themes or narratives, and of defining target audiences and ways they would want to access the represented data.

During the workshop, the following sites and projects were examined:

Workshop leader: Daniel D’Esposito, Executive Director, HURIDOCS