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New special issue of the bilingual journal Diseña on Visual Methods for Online Images

A new special issue of the bilingual journal Diseña has just been released. The issue, edited by Gabriele Colombo and Sabine Niederer, explores the realm of online images as a site for visual research and design.

While in an image-saturated society, methods for visual analysis gain urgency, this special issue explores visual ways to study online images. The proposition we make is to stay as close to the material as possible. How to approach the visual with the visual? What type of images may one design to make sense of, reshape, and reanimate online image collections? The special issue also touches upon the role that algorithmic tools, including machine vision, can play in such research efforts. Which kinds of collaborations between humans and machines can we envision to better grasp and critically interrogate the dynamics of today’s digital visual culture?

The articles (available both in English and in Spanish) touch on the diversity of formats and uses of online images, focusing on collection and visual interpretation methods. Other themes touched by this issue are image machine co-creation processes and their ethics, participatory actions for image production and analysis, and feminist approaches to digital visual work.

Further information about the issue can be found in our introduction. Following is the complete list of contributions (with links) and authors (some from the Public Data Lab).

Editorial: Against Subject Datafication through Anti-Oppressive Data Practices – Renato Bernasconi

Diseña 19 | Visual Methods for Online Images: Collection, Circulation, and Machine Co-CreationGabriele Colombo, Sabine Niederer

The Potentials of Google Vision API-based Networks to Study Natively Digital ImagesJanna Joceli Omena, Pilipets Elena, Beatrice Gobbo, Chao Jason

Developing Online Images. From Visual Traces to Public VoicesDonato Ricci, Calibro, Duncan Evennou, Benoît Verjat

Google Images, Climate Change, and the Disappearance of Humans – Warren Pearce, Carlo De Gaetano

Data-Driven Curated Video Catalogs: Republishing Video FootageGabriele Colombo, Federica Bardelli

Creating AI Art Responsibly: A Field Guide for Artists – Claire R. Leibowicz, Emily Saltz, Lia Coleman

Feminist Data Practices: Conversations with Catherine D’Ignazio, Lauren Klein, and Maya Livio – Catherine D’Ignazio, Lauren Klein, Maya Livio, Sabine Niederer, Gabriele Colombo

Decolonizing the Imagination in Times of Crisis. Gestures for Speculative Thinking-Feeling: Interview with Martin Savransky – Martin Savransky, Martín Tironi



Investigating infodemic – researchers, students and journalists work together to explore the online circulation of COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracies

Over the past year researchers and students at institutions associated with the Public Data Lab have contributed to a series of collaborative digital investigations into the online circulation of COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracies.

Researchers and students contributed to a series of “engaged research led teaching” projects developed with journalists, media organisations and non-governmental organisations around the world.

These were undertaken in association with the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Infodemic: Combatting COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories, which explores how digital methods grounded in social and cultural research may facilitate understanding of WHO has described as an “infodemic” of misleading, fabricated, conspiratorial and other problematic material related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These projects led to and contributed to a number of stories, investigations and publications including:

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The new Public Data Lab logo

With the launch of the new PDL website, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to freshen up the identity of the laboratory to highlight its craft and convey the spirit that is behind it. We designed the new identity to be flexible and approachable, while maintaining a simple coherence that is reflected in the new colored version of the Public Data Lab logo.

A flexible approach

The core principle of the new aesthetics of the website is to highlight the uniqueness of projects and endeavours and their call to gather different disciplines, approaches and people to explore specific areas of research.

Each project can be represented with a specific color, that belong to a family of warm and rich color palette that is inspired by historical japanese and western prints. These colors come together in the new logo, that showcases three of them along the new “mango yellow” that ties all the colors in the palette together.

All the projects come together in the network that showcases the interconnections between projects, people and affiliations that make the Public Data Lab. In the network, each project retains its color, making it recognizable also from this bird’s eye view.

The same approach is applied also outside of the Public Data Lab website to mini-website related to other activities, like “Infodemic“, a blog that gathers research insights about the current misinformation “infodemic”. The Github template can be used in any PDL project that requires a small website to document collateral research. You can find documentation and a guide on how to use this theme directly on Github.

The new logo

The new Public Data Lab logo builds on the original logo of the laboratory that is already used in many projects. It is consistent in sizing and spacing, but it introduces a new font family designed to be clear and legible: the Inter font superfamily.

Inter is an open source font “specially designed for user interfaces with focus on high legibility of small-to-medium sized text on computer screens” and it is currently an active project on Github.

The new Public Data Lab logotype incorporates the new palette to highlight the 3D shape of the cube.

New edition of Data Journalism Handbook now open access with Amsterdam University Press

This blog is cross-posted from lilianabounegru.org. Further details can be found in this thread.

Today The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Jonathan Gray) is published on Amsterdam University Press. It is published as part of a new book series on Digital Studies which is also being launched today. You can find the book here, including an open access version: http://bit.ly/data-journalism-handbook-2

The book provides a wide-ranging collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world. It is published a decade after the first edition (available in 14 languages) began life as a collaborative draft at the Mozilla Festival 2011 in London.

Book sprint at MozFest 2011 for first edition of Data Journalism Handbook.

The new edition, with 54 chapters from 74 leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, gives a “behind the scenes” look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond.

The book includes chapters by leading researchers around the world and from practitioners at organisations including Al Jazeera, BBC, BuzzFeed News, Der Spiegel, eldiario.es, The Engine Room, Global Witness, Google News Lab, Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), La Nacion, NOS, OjoPúblico, Rappler, United Nations Development Programme and the Washington Post.

An online preview of various chapters from book was launched in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre and the Google News Initiative and can be found here.

The book draws on over a decade of professional and academic experience engaging with the field of data journalism, including through my role as Data Journalism Programme Lead at the European Journalism Centre; my research on data journalism with the Digital Methods Initiative; my PhD research on “news devices” at the universities of Groningen and Ghent; and my research, teaching and collaborations around data journalism at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Further background about the book can be found in our introduction. Following is the full table of contents and some quotes about the book. We’ll be organising various activities around the book in coming months, which you can follow with the #ddjbook hashtag on Twitter.

If you adopt the book for a class we’d love to hear from you so we can keep track of how it is being used (and also update this list of data journalism courses and programmes around the world) and to inform future activities in this area. Hope you enjoy it!

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New website and blog for the Public Data Lab

Welcome to the revamped website and new blog for the Public Data Lab, courtesy of Andrea Benedetti at DensityDesign Lab in Milan. ✨

What’s new?

  • 🛠 In order to enable more people to post more easily about various projects and activities, we’re now using WordPress as the backend for the site (along with static site templates and materials for use by different lab projects).
  • 👩🏻‍💻 We have added a people page so we can highlight a much wider group of people, groups and collaborators who we work with at the Public Data Lab.
  • 🌱 We’ve added an updated projects page which includes more of what we’ve been up to than had been on the previous site, along with a little updating network diagram to show who has been working on what and the different clusters of our activities 🙂
  • 📝 We’ll be using the blog to post short notes and updates on our various projects and activities across the Public Data Lab and its associated research centres, communities and institutions.
  • 🏮 We have lightly revised our mission statement to better reflect what we do (in light of activities over the past few years)

As always you can follow our activities on Twitter at @PublicDataLab and also get in touch if you’re interested in contributing to or collaborating with the lab.

If you spot anything that should be added/amended on the new website, please let us know or leave an issue on Github.