Humbead’s Map Folk Music Data Viz

more d3.js experiments with humbead’s revised map of the world.

Middlebury student Lambus Li continues to do fascinating digital mapping and data visualization experiments with Humbead’s Revised Map of the World. The latest experiments involve using the javascript library d3.js to explore data visualizations of all the names included around the edges of the map as its “list of population.”

Based on the database that Northwestern student Sarah Bruyere developed with me a few years ago, our digital version now sorts population names by quandrant in which the name appears on the map. It is a simple move, but anyone who works with digital tools knows that no move is simple. This is, more accurately put, a first step toward how we might create a protocol and interface for querying the database of names via the map as an interface and be able to sort them by other means the quadrant, such as an associated “nation” on the map itself, or by instrument played, or by type of career for each name, and many other factors, filters, and categories.

It also has been a helpful step toward thinking more critically about the interface we might use for this map, which plays with scales of density as a print object. Might data visualization allow a user to explore the experiential quality of looking at the artifact—and the type of knowledge that kind of looking potentially produces.

Sometimes a name is not just a name. When repositioned in the digital domain, it becomes a unit of data that allows us to look more deeply into the meanings of the original object—and the original history—that contained it.

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