Revealing Matrices
Go to Figure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Select figure

Read summary

See credits

Buy the book

Open access pdf

Visit author's website

Tweet about this

Share on Facebook

Revealing Matrices by Maximilian Schich

This website is a supplement to chapter fourteen in
Beautiful Visualization. Looking at Data through the Eyes of Experts. Edited by Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. April 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4493-7986-5

The purpose of this site is to enable zooming into the chapter's figures.
In order to do so, go back to the figures.

Chapter Summary:
This chapter illustrates the usefulness of enriched and refined data model matrices for database project evaluation, exposing many nonintuitive data properties that are hard to uncover by simply using a database or looking at the commonly used indicators of quality. As data becomes more accessible in the form of Linked Data, RDF graphs, or open dumps of relational tables, the presented methods can be applied by funders or the projects themselves, within a very short time frame in a mostly automated process.

The visualizations in this chapter present the first comprehensive big picture of an entire example database – the Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance – where we can see the initial data model definition as well as the emerging complex structure in the collected data. I chose to visualize a state of the database at a point just before it was transferred from a graph-based database system (CENSUS 2005) to a more traditional relational database format (CENSUS BBAW) in 2006, allowing for comparison of the historic state with current and future achievements.

By looking at the visualizations, we find out that many of the numbers given in project descriptions are incomplete or even misleading. Some of the new numbers may be smaller than the initially presented ones, but as we learn from our analysis, sometimes a little less is more—and more is different (Anderson 1972).
April 15, 2010 version
Creative Commons License
All visualizations on the Revealing Matrices website by Maximilian Schich
are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at