Iteration I (2005): The Power of Maps

Four Early World Maps





Six Early Science Maps







The first iteration of this exhibit aims to show the power of maps to help understand, navigate, and manage both physical places and abstract knowledge spaces.

The first maps of our planet were neither complete nor entirely accurate. Yet, they were invaluable for navigation, exploration, and communication. They helped explorers avoid monsters and find promising lands. Maps of science developed today are not perfectly precise either since they are generated based on only a small portion of humanity’s scholarly knowledge. The generation of comprehensive and accurate maps requires the proper interlinkage of multilingual, multidisciplinary, and multimedia scholarly knowledge.

Note that each of the six early maps of science displayed uses a different metaphor. What metaphor is most effective in designing a visual index of humanity’s knowledge and expertise?

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.