Students taking the University of Edinburgh’s Data Science for Design course, run by Dr Dave Murray-Rust and Dr Benjamin Bach, have been using Library datasets to learn about, and create, data visualisations.


Visualising Encyclopaedia Britannica

Vaida Plankyte, Haonan Li and Wan Erh Hsieh used text mining techniques to extract and produce frequency counts of topics, and explore changes in time across the first eight editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The group produced a website with data visualisations of the Encyclopaedias over time as well as a game. They also incorporated details from illustrations within the Encyclopaedias into the design, making for a visually-appealing exploration of this dataset.

Vaida Plankyte, Haonan Li and Wan Erh Hsieh’s video of the Encyclopaedia Britannica data visualisation project

Visit the website: Encyclopaedia Britannica data visualisation website

Explore the code: Encyclopaedia Britannica data visualisation GitHub pages


Encyclopaedia Britannica in Minecraft

Yifeng Gao, Bibo Tian and Xue Feng mapped their data analysis of Encyclopaedia Britannica into a Minecraft world, which you can explore on a rollercoaster. The world represents different aspects of the data, including the size of editions over time, prominent topics and author affiliations.

Yifeng Gao, Bibo Tian and Xue Feng’s video of Encyclopaedia Britannica in a Minecraft world

Spiritualist Newspapers and data comics

Ruyuan Zhang, Hang Yang and Xin Jin produced a data comic, presenting elements of the Spiritualist Newspapers collection as a story. This included exploring the frequency of male versus female names over time, and identifying well-known members of the Spiritualist movement in the nineteenth century.

Detail from Ruan Zhang, Hang Yang and Xin Jin's data comic project
Detail from Ruan Zhang, Hang Yang and Xin Jin’s data comic project

Visualising disease in British India

Qiubin Wu and Diwen Yu used the Medical History of British India dataset to explore the spread of disease in Bengal in the late nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century, as described by official government publications.

The project involved exploring the spread of disease and outbreaks of illness in prisons; amongst British troops; and within local communities.

Detail from visualisation of the spread of disease in Bengal by Qiubin Wu and Diwen Yu
Detail from visualisation of the spread of disease in Bengal by Qiubin Wu and Diwen Yu

Find out more

More information about the Data Fair: Data Fair 2019 website


Which datasets did these projects use?

These projects used Encyclopaedia Britannica, Spiritualist Newspapers and A Medical History of British India:

Encyclopaedia Britannica on the Data Foundry website

Spiritualist Newspapers on the Data Foundry website

A Medical History of British India on the Data Foundry website