Find us on Google+

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beautiful Evidence by Edward Tufte

I just read the book Beautiful Evidence by professor and author Edward Tufte. He is one of the experts in the world on presenting information in a visual format. I felt way out of my depth.

In one sense, the levels and amounts of information that Tufte is describing really don't come into the realm of a preacher's world, except maybe during a budget presentation. I don't have to think about how to map the comparative gains and losses of a dozen stocks over the course of a month, or to indicate the mass of brains as compared to the mass of bodies in various animals.

On the other hand, the process of working through and looking at ways of presenting information visually is incredibly important. How could we show the outline of Scripture visually in a way that captures detail and provides a big picture all at once.

One example that Tufte uses is that of the French engineer Charles Joseph Minard who graphed the route and losses of the French army during its invasion (brown line) and retreat (black line) from Russia in 1812-1813. The width of the line depicts the number of French troops lost.

At a glance you can see that the once huge army was decimated by the campaign, but then you can perceive more detail, such as the frigid temperatures during the march.

How could we do something similar for biblical information?

(Note: The book link earns me a small commission on any sales.)

No comments: