Read the Introduction Chapter

“The principal disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with
real­ity,” as writer Alan Watts observes. One can easily get lost in the world
of digital media, making it difficult to imagine information that is not sym-
bolically encoded in words, pixels, or bytes. And yet the material origins and
manifestations of data matter. Without considering them, a fabricated data
set may be indistinguishable from an au­then­tic one. As public discourse is
full of controversies around facts and counterfacts, the gaps between data
and the world become increasingly troubling. ­ These controversies often
revolve around how data ­ were generated and facts ­ were established—something that traditional visualization methods ­ don’t account for. Even in
less contested situations, reconciling a statistical model with personal expe-
rience is difficult. This is where some of the greatest challenges lie.

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Download & read the introduction here.