My introduction to visualization of careers

During my work on the ACUMEN project, I became interested in visualization of research data after a visit of Katy Börner to DANS and the e-Humanities Group. It turned out that for the past decade major developments had occurred of which I had been totally oblivious. The Atlas of Science quickly brought me up to date and I started visualizing my research theme of academic careers. Here are some images I drew on the whiteboard (see at the bottom) and in Keynote to organize my own thoughts and for presentations.


Dr. X’s career depicted as a ladder going down

Dr. X’s career timeline in 3D

In the course of the project, Clifford Tatum and I developed another handmade image for a leaflet.

Dr. X’s career and publication profile

Clearly for my research purposes I wanted to have such images automatically generated based on career data, but I lacked the time. After the ACUMEN project finished, I did have some time to build a demonstration database, which by May 2014 could generate images like the one below.

Academic-career visualiser

The white boxes indicate different jobs or functions and the red graph shows the number of publications of the fictive researcher. It is just one simple way to visualize only two aspects, and I hope to further develop it and create different forms as well. Better yet, to allow the user of the database to determine as much as possible what the graph should show and how.

If you are interested in trying this yourself or using the database, then please see the following pages:

  • Download the database from this page. It can be run as a FileMaker Pro file (available for Windows and Mac ) but is also available as stand-alone solution on Mac OS
  • The manual

Please do let me know what you think and don’t hesitate to provide me with suggestions for improvements or ideas about what you would like to be able to do with career visualizations.