Chris Meyns



Publication: Information and the History of Philosophy. London, Routledge, 2021, pp. 177-197 ↗

Summary: Article investigating how information visualization function in one of the earliest scientific journals, the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions

Keywords: Royal Society, information, data, visualization

Information Visualization in the Philosophical Transactions

Royal Society plot

Article abstract

This article considers the nature and function of information visualisation in one of the earliest scientific journals, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, for the period 1665-1886. It begins by giving an overview of the basic characteristics of the Philosophical Transactions corpus and how visualisations occur therein. Next, it identifies and analyses three distinct types of information visualisations: the diagram, the map and the graph. On this basis, it argues that information visualisations in the early centuries of the Philosophical Transactions function not to provide the reader with information of a distinct kind, but to optimise user (reader) performance.

This article is part of the volume Information and the History of Philosophy.