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Activity Number: 88 - Data Visualization in Practice
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Monday, August 9, 2021 : 10:00 AM to 11:50 AM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Graphics
Abstract #317729
Title: Revisiting Historical Bar Graphics on Epidemics in the Era of R Ggplot2
Author(s): Sami Aldag and Dogukan Topcuoglu and Gul Inan*
Companies: Istanbul Technical University and Istanbul Technical University and Istanbul Technical University
Keywords: Black and white print; data literacy; historical data visualization; infectious diseases; information design; official public health statistics

This study is motivated by a government report published in 1938 which provides official statistics on multiple epidemics such as smallpox, trachoma, and malaria occurred between the years 1923 and 1937 in Turkey. The report uses black and white print column bar graphics, which were drawn by hand, to summarize the official statistics especially on workload of hospitals and then on vaccine administration in the country for informing the society with a low literacy skill during that period. From the lenses of a statistician, we found that information on these column graphics, which are in a form of grouped, side-by-side, or paired, is perceptively and aesthetically designed. In this study, we investigated how graphical elements of these historical graphics such as fill-in colors, data values, titles, axis lines, axis tick marks, tick mark labels, and legend colors are designed and whether it is possible to reproduce the identical of them in a digital platform in our era via R ggplot2. Our study revealed that R ggplot2, with the help of rich layering features such as scale_*() and annotate(), is very successful to mimic these historical graphics.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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