Information Design Watch
January 30, 2012, 10:49 am
By Henry Woodbury
After 15+ years in the league, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers are changing their logo.
[The identity] has been designed to provide a more aggressive, contemporary look to the logo while making it more three-dimensional for ever-increasing digital use.
I’m not sure how three-dimensionality relates to digital use, other than the fact that all the other kids are doing it.
…this cat’s a little less hairy — the whiskers are significantly reduced from the old version, and the eyebrows (Panthers have eyebrows right?) are reduced as well.
It’s a more streamlined cat and, frankly, a little more ferocious and realistic looking of an animal. The team’s calling it “a tougher, more defined panther” and that’s an accurate assessment.
The Panthers typeface is also different: it’s no longer written in 80′s hair-metal font. Or cat scratch font. Or whatever.
Click through to the Brinson article to see the old logo for comparison.
January 21, 2012, 11:23 am
By Henry Woodbury
Doing a comparative analysis of search functionality, I came across an interesting interactive diagram at the National Archives of Australia. Using simple rollovers the diagram explains the metadata hierarchy used within the Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) System. To see the diagram, start at the Search the Collection page, click “Search as Guest”, then click the “RecordSearch – Advanced search” tab. Here’s a screenshot:
Compare this to the boxes-and-arrows diagram used in the 4700-word CRS Manual.
What gives the interactive chart its punch is the use of verbs to describe the connections between the elements. Verbs like “contain”, “create”, “perform” are contrasted with “are part of”, “are created by”, “are performed by”. These words identify the relationship between subjects and objects in a much more informative way than lines with arrowheads.
January 13, 2012, 12:59 pm
By Henry Woodbury
As the rumble between intellectual property and free speech advances into the ring drawn by SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), Michael B. Eisen draws attention to a fight on the undercard. Eisen, professor of molecular and cell biology, critiques The Research Works Act which, in his words:
…would forbid the N.I.H. [National Institutes of Health] to require, as it now does, that its grantees provide copies of the papers they publish in peer-reviewed journals to the library. If the bill passes, to read the results of federally funded research, most Americans would have to buy access to individual articles at a cost of $15 or $30 apiece. In other words, taxpayers who already paid for the research would have to pay again to read the results.
Supporters of the bill include many traditional publishers of medical research (ironically, one of its sponsors, Darrell Issa, Republican of California, is one of SOPA’s most prominent opponents).
Dynamic Diagrams has a long history of working with scientific publishers going back over 15 years. We worked with major journals like Nature and JAMA to bring them fully online; we’ve also worked with research aggregators such as HighWire and Publishing Technology. We’re well aware of the technology and information management demands required just for online presentation, let alone the physical and specialist costs of creating a print publication. Now consider the editorial investment required to guide content to a publishable state (even if, as Eisen points out, peer review is provided voluntarily, often by researchers at publicly-funded institutions). Just for example, at a tactical level, most journals require an access-controlled transactional web space for authors and editors to exchange drafts.
This is not to take sides in the argument, but to draw attention to the real costs associated with managing and presenting electronic information. These should not be disregarded. At Scientific American, the comments section to Michelle Clement’s call for opposing the bill offers some back-and-forth (hopefully Clement won’t follow through on her threat to delete those comments she doesn’t like), including a link to the Association of American Publisher’s competing point of view.