A Philosophical Perspective on Visualization for Digital Humanities
By Hein van den Berg, Arianna Betti, Thom Castermans, Rob Koopman, Bettina Speckmann, Kevin Verbeek, Titia van der Werf, Shenghui Wang, and Michel A. Westenberg
In this position paper, the authors describe a number of methodological and philosophical challenges that arose within their interdisciplinary Digital Humanities project CATVIS, which is a collaboration between applied geometric algorithms and visualization researchers, data scientists working at OCLC, and philosophers who have a strong interest in the methodological foundations of visualization research.
The challenges described concern aspects of one single epistemic need: that of methodologically securing (an increase in) trust in visualizations. The authors discuss the lack of ground truths in the (digital) humanities and argue that trust in visualizations requires that we evaluate visualizations on the basis of ground truths that humanities scholars themselves create. They further argue that trust in visualizations requires that a visualization provides provable guarantees on the faithfulness of the visual representation and that we must clearly communicate to the users which part of the visualization can be trusted and how much. Finally, the authors discuss transparency and accessibility in visualization research and provide measures for securing transparency and accessibility.
van den Berg, Hein, Arianna Betti, Thom Castermans, Rob Koopman, Bettina Speckmann, Kevin Verbeek, Titia van der Werf, Shenghui Wang, and Michel A. Westenberg. 2018. “A Philosophical Perspective on Visualization for Digital Humanities.” In Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities (Vis4DH) at IEEE VIS 2018.