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Digital Humanities: Data visualisation

An introduction to digital humanities

What is data visualisation?

Data visualisation is used to discover and explore the trends, relationships and patterns present within a body of information, and to communicate these insights to others. In digital humanities, online exhibitions of digital collections often use some of these techniques to visualise and communicate research outcomes.

Data visualisation can refer to many different activities, including the creation of:

  • Graphs
    • Plotting numeric data on a graph is a common form of data visualisation.
  • Diagrams
    • Diagrams can be used to visually represent concepts or models. They can show the relationships and connections between ideas and concepts.
  • Networks
    • A network is a dataset with interconnected components. When a network is visualised, its components appear as nodes, and connections are meaningful links between these nodes.
  • Maps
    • Location-based data can be visualised using a map to draw clear connections between place and data.
  • Timelines
    • Timelines can be a good way to visualise events or sequential progressions.

Tools and techniques used in data visualisation



There are many different ways to visualise data. Resources to help you find a technique that will suit your needs include:

Relevant guidelines and standards

Examples of data visualisation

  • Text Visualization Browser
    • An interactive, visual overview of a lot of different visualisation techniques that have been used by people analysing and visualising texts. You can filter by many different aspects, including the type of analysis performed, the type of data being visualised and the domain the data relate to, helping you find techniques that are relevant to you.
  • Kindred Britain
    • A network visualisation of nearly 30,000 individuals from British history connected through family relationships of blood, marriage, or affiliation.
  • Vectis Scenery
    • A cartographic journey featuring 41 copperplate engravings depicting scenic landscapes and buildings on the Isle of Wight.

Available support

Consultations and training

The University's Sydney Informatics Hub provides support and training for researchers, including data visualisation support. They also run a monthly drop-in Hacky Hour.

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