A Better Way to Share My Work

I’m always trying to find better ways to show data, better tools to display the results, and better ways to share any insights. Over the last few years it feels like progress has been made to a much greater degree on the first two, and less on the third. There are now so many great techniques and tools available through the open source community to help accomplish many tasks. In some cases, almost too many (not that I’m complaining – I like complexity!) choices are out there for learning more about information display and actually creating some clever output. I’ve written many times about some of the valuable tools such as d3, nvd3, Orange, Protovis, Sparklines for Excel, R, and so on.

The challenge has always been in the best way to share the results of my explorations. Over the past few years, I’ve worked extensively with Omeka, an open source tool geared to museum-oriented displays using items, collections, and potentially, exhibits. Every visualization I create becomes an item, groups of similar items become collections (say, all pennant races), and then items with a similar theme from different collections can be combined to create an exhibit (or exhibition).

This is all well and good from an archival standpoint, but it sometimes falls short of being the best option for users, so I am constantly seeking other options. Omeka is also designed to house existing content created using other apps, but doesn’t have the pure flexibility of (say) HTML5 for creating interactive charts and visualizations that really rock.

Which is all a rather long-winded introduction to my latest toy, which is a menu-driven site that I hope will fill the void, enabling me to deploy more and better interactive visuals built using d3 and other tools. For now, some of the existing work I’ve created is already on board, albeit with some long overdue face lifts. Check out the Batting Explorer, a semantic filtering tool built using Simile Exhibit that lets you explore a decade’s worth of batting information using a baseball-card style layout:

..and with filters…

How about game summaries, also built using Exhibit. These summaries give you a glimpse of every game played in a season, with filters for pitchers, hits, runs, homers, and much more:

..and with filters…

Some more recent work is also available, such as the collection of more than 350 interactive pennant race charts built on d3 and nvd3:

Obviously, there’s much more to do here, as I’m in the beta version at best. Please go ahead and play with it and let me know if you have any thoughts or comments. Just follow the link to Portfolio. Thanks!

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Ken Cherven is the Founder and Curator of the Visual-Baseball.com website. He loves to merge baseball data with all sorts of visualization methods - charts, network graphs, maps, etc. to provide greater insight into underlying data patterns. Ken also authors books about baseball and visualization, and loves to listen to jazz while drinking some wine, craft beer, or bourbon.