Visualizations: Knowledge Management System

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This page is maintained by Dominique Thiebaut and contains various interesting visualization examples or related material found in the media and on the Web, in various forms. The authors of the visualization, or its source is indicated in the Author/Source field of each entry. I try to locate the actual authors as best as I can. I also try to find out what particular software tools were used to generate the visualization. This is reported in the implementation field.

The different visualization systems shown below are organized by application domains, and by type (borrowed and adapted from Viz4All).

The application domains include:


Visu Know.png

Knowledge Management System

The Book of Trees


Category: Art/Knowledge Management Systems/Collections/Surveys
Author/Source:, by Manual Lima
Implementation: NA
Date: Aug. 2014

From Trees are one of the most ubiquitous religious symbols across the world. From ancient Sumer to Christianity, from the Maya civilization to Buddhism, there’s hardly a human society over the ages that hasn’t associated trees with some sort of celestial and religious power.

Due to its expressive quality and natural branching scheme, trees have also become important communication tools, illustrating a variety of topics such as family ties, moral values, systems of law, domains of science, biological species, hard disk drives, database schemas, and online discussions.

The Book of Trees covers over 800 years of human culture through the lens of the tree figure, from its entrenched roots in religious medieval exegesis to its contemporary, secular digital themes. With roughly 200 images the book offers a visual evolutionary history of this universal metaphor, showing us the incremental adoption of a stylized, abstract construct, as well as a recent emergence of new visual models, many employing advanced computer-generated algorithms. Ultimately, this book makes visualization a prism through which to observe the evolution of civilization.

The Visible Archive

Category: Knowledge Management System
Author/Source: Michael Whitelaw
Implementation: NA
Date: 2011

From Over the past twelve months [Michael Whitelaw has] been developing some new approaches to the challenge of providing rich, revealing interfaces to cultural collections. The key idea here is the notion of generous interfaces - an argument that [one] can (and should) show more of these collections than the search box normally allows; and that there's a zone between conventional web design and interactive data visualisation, where generous interfaces might happen.

Notable quote from the TEDx talk by Michael Whitelaw: "Show Everything! Show Relationships! Offer Clues! Kindle Discovery! Let Humans be Smart!"



Category: KMS
Implementation: Flash with AlivePDF
Date: 2006, 2009, 2011

From [1]: MACE (Metadata for Architectural Contents in Europe) is a pan-european initiative to interconnect and disseminate digital information about architecture.
The project connects various repositories of architectural knowledge and enriches their contents with metadata. The result are unique services for searching and browsing architectural contents, for instance, by conceptual connection, geography, language.

Google API Table


Category: KMS/Software
Implementation: NA
Date: 2011

From From the Google Code site, the Periodic Table of Google APIs & Developer Tools is a cool layout of the tools available. It’s actually well designed table, so each element is clickable, and takes you to the information page about that particular API.

iPhone Deconstruction by Ben Millen


Category: Knowledge Management Systems
Implementation: NA
Date: 2009

From In researching the iPhone as a part of Critical Wayfinding, the analysis of the device, the corporation, the vast network of shareholders, technology and the distribution infrastructure that surrounds it yielded an overwhelming amount of information. In an attempt to organize this information into a format that is engaging and reflective of the wayfinding foundations of the project, two large conceptual diagrams in the style of Harry Beck’s London Underground diagram were produced.

These are not maps in any conventional sense, but rather diagramatic representations of the interconnected space of technology, capital, instrumental value, exchange value, social and environmental impact that surround the device. The first diagram focuses primarily on the physical device, and the existence of the device as an object in our world. The second examines the placement of the device with respect to the individual and society.

Sync Lost


Category: Art, Knowledge Management Systems
Author/Source: 3bits Lab
Implementation: NA
Date: 2009

From "SyncLost is a multi-user installation for immersion in the history of electronic music. From a complex timeline, rhythms and sub-rhythms merge to create new sounds.
The project’s objective is to create an interface where users can view all the connections between the main styles of electronic music through visual and audible feedback. The choice is individual and leads to a collective consequence in the spatial visualization of information."

Code Swarm

Knowledge Management System

Author/Source: UC Davis
Implementation: 2D, 3D, network
Date: 2008

Code-Swarm is a visualization technique to show the evolution of a software project under CVS as it is updated, modified, and as it evolves under the influence of many contributors/programmers.

From Slashdot:

“A student at UC Davis has created some stunning visualizations of open source software contributions, including Eclipse, Python, Apache httpd and Postgres. From the website: ‘This visualization, called code_swarm, shows the history of commits in a software project. A commit happens when a developer makes changes to the code or documents and transfers them into the central project repository. Both developers and files are represented as moving elements. When a developer commits a file, it lights up and flies towards that developer. Files are colored according to their purpose, such as whether they are source code or a document. If files or developers have not been active for a while, they will fade away. A histogram at the bottom keeps a reminder of what has come before.’”

Watch the video: code_swarm - Eclipse (short ver.) from Michael Ogawa on Vimeo.

The code is available on Google-Code, and the 6/19/08 version is available here

CCByNc.png You can remix, tweak, and build upon this page non-commercially. Your work must acknowledge Dominique Thiebaut as its author and be non-commercial.