Poster session: Visualize Freely: Data Visualization Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult and Expensive

Yarnetsky, J. (2022, November) Visualize freely: Data visualization doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive or… Lessons learned from our data dashboard project. [Poster session] ALAO Annual Conference,  Columbus, Ohio

Our library, like yours, has storehouses of user data. Yet, we find it challenging to analyze data and create visualizations from across departments and data sources. Some apps, such as LibInsights, do a good job handling data from specific products. Other apps, such as Tableau, are expensive or difficult to learn. Our goal was to find a better workflow for analyzing, then publishing our data and visualizations, so our whole staff could reliably use it to better plan our services and communicate our worth with our community. To this end, we discovered a data science app with free academic licensing called Exploratory. It has allowed us to instantly pull data from a wide range of sources from Excel to web analytics. Due to its clear design, even starting with no knowledge of the app, we were able to develop and publish our first online visualizations in an afternoon — mapping our website’s geographic reach and analyzing the hours to staff our chat reference service. This poster will share the lessons learned from our dashboard project, how we publish our interdepartmental data for our staff to access, and offer an introduction to using Exploratory.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the variables to consider when designing an internal data dashboard-data sharing project.
  • Learn about the Exploratory data science software application.