Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Timelines on the Web - Part II

The Carpetbagger Report � A Reagan legacy - the world's leading jailer

Here's another excellent time series example recently posted on the web by Professor Ed Stephan. For me, Professor Stephan's timeline graph had immediate and visceral impact that fully supported the text portion of the posting.

The immediately obvious shape tells a powerful story about the dramatic changes that have taken place in the U.S. incarceration rate in the past 30 years. I found the red line data on the rate of prisoners per 100,000 population to be especially striking.

One thing that I like about this posting is that it also includes a direct link to the source data in Excel spreadsheet format. This opens the door to anyone interested to delve more deeply into the underlying Census Bureau data at HS-24: Federal and State Prisoners .

Sharing the data so easily in this way makes the possibility of conversation and collaboration between interested parties just so much more likely. Metaphorically, we might think of this as getting the best of two familiar ideas - a picture is worth a thousand words coupled with a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When shared in this way, the data behind the picture can be come the sustenance for a shared journey by two or more parties leading in the end to deeper understanding.

Professor Stephan's regular guest posts at http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/ frequently offer other good examples of the power of timeline graphics to add to the story or to even tell the story all by themselves.

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