Digital Library Seminar Series: 2012-12-12

This event is sponsored by the Digital Humanities Center and the Libraries Digital Program Division.

It is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.



The Ethics of Visualization


Chris Alen Sula


Assistant Professor and Digital Humanities Coordinator, School of Information & Library Science, Pratt Institute


Visualization and infographics are widely discussed today, both inside of the academy and in the public at large. Academic departments as diverse as digital arts and humanities, cognitive science, and molecular chemistry have taken up the topic, and journalists like Geoff McGhee even claim that our future is one "in which data becomes a medium." But despite its popularity and potential impact, "infovis" has rarely been considered in an ethical light. While there has been recent development on the philosophy of information, there is still little corresponding to an applied ethics of visualization and even less guidance available for information professionals. This talk examines the groundwork of infovis ethics and considers several ways in which visualization could give rise to obligations to/for certain groups. The conclusion will situate infovis within a techno-historical context, which raises broader issues of access, representation, and power with respect to visualization.


December, 12, 2012




Noon - 1:30 PM


203 Butler Library, Morningside Heights Campus, Columbia University