by Shaun Ellis & Tom Engelhardt
Rutgers Graduate School of Communication & Information
Masters in Library & Information Science Program
17:610:554:85 - Information Visualization with Anselm Spoerri
Can visualizing 50-years worth of hit U.S. pop song characteristics help us discover trends worthy of further investigation?
Updated 7/2/2011 in response to misinterpretation
This website presents a project that Shaun and Tom worked on between September and December of 2010. This is not peer-reviewed research work, nor is it a study. It displays the results of an information visualization project that asked students to identify a large, abstract dataset, to visualize it, and to identify interesting trends that would have been impossible to detect without the use of visual aids. A further requirement of the project was to determine whether any spotted trends warranted further investigation through formal research. This is, in fact, one of the great things about visualizing data: It helps individuals initiate and work through a data-discovery process, not by reading thousands of rows of spreadsheet data, but by using graphs and charts and even more sophisticated visual tools as cognitive aids so that overall characteristics and trends become immediately apparent.
What follows in the rest of the website is a detailed explanation of the data domain, the data compilation methodology, the visualization tools and techniques employed, and the results of observations made on the visualizations. The authors do not offer any definitive prescriptive judgments on the production of a "hit" song.
The authors have identified some valid and interesting trends which do warrant further investigation, and are in the process of conducting this follow-up work. They encourage others to download the compiled data and contribute to the discovery process.
This project analyzes some large music data APIs in order to look for
Sacks, O. (2006). Musicophilia: tales of music and the brain. New York: Vintage Books.