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List of Influences: Jarke "Jack" van Wijk

A colleague of mine describes Jarke van Wijk as "somebody who has not just worked in several areas of visualization, but also written the landmark papers in each of them." His contributions include spot noise and image-based flow visualization, cushion treemaps (with Huub van de Wetering), optimal zooming and panning (with Wim A. A. Nuij), as well as reflections on the value of visualization. His sense of humor is also notable, and his talks are always very enjoyable. Reason enough, therefore, to consider him influential enough to ask him for a list of things that influenced him.

Here is a list of books that have influenced me. Visualization is a strongly interdisciplinary field, and with my selection I try to bring this forward. Also, this is a very personal list. I do not claim that each book mentioned is the best in its category, some of them I just ran into. But on the other hand, each of them had important lessons and insights for me. The order is more or less chronological, that is, in the order that I read them.

  • N.J.M. Roozenburg and J. Eekels, Product Design: Fundamentals and Methods, Wiley, 1995 As a student in Industrial Design, I have been brainwashed with product design methodology. Most of it is obvious, but also extremely useful and true.
  • William Newman and Robert L. Sproull, Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics, McGraw-Hill, 1973 I learned graphics from Newman and Sproull. Compact, well-written, and now and then I still copy algorithms from it.
  • Jon Louis Bentley, Writing Efficient Programs, Prentice Hall, 1982 Premature optimization is the root of all evil. If you understand that, then you are already halfway to becoming a productive programmer.
  • Martin M. Lipschutz, Schaum's Outline of Differential Geometry, McGraw-Hill, 1962 Math is classic, essential, and beautiful. Especially when you can use it to make interesting pictures. This book keeps on returning to my bedside table, differential geometry is very interesting and useful. And one day I hope to understand it all.
  • Ernst H. Gombrich, The Story of Art, Phaidon Press, 1995 Art is inspiring, and after reading this introduction, you will look at it with different eyes. The 'modern' approach used, in the sense that the work of each artist is presented as an improvement over previous work, works very well and makes it an exciting story. Now, what is The Story of InfoVis?
  • Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press, 2001 Beautiful book, for its design and the compelling cases and examples.
  • Colin Ware, Information Visualization: Perception for Design, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004 The explanations given are directly useful for practitioners, but also, I find it highly inspirational in its aim to provide a solid scientific foundation for our field.
  • Robert L. Harris, Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference, Oxford University Press, 2000 A truly amazing book, known too little in our community. An encyclopedic overview of all kinds of information graphics is given, with an incredible number of examples. I use this often as a check to see what has been done in the world outside our community.
  • Dorling Kindersley Publishing The books of this publisher excel in their graphical quality. The mix of short articles with rich illustrations works very well, and I already have had much fun and pleasure with their travel guides, but also for instance with their books on geology. Their formula should work very well for explaining graphics or visualization ...
  • Terry A. Slocum et al., Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization, Prentice Hall, 2003 InfoVis and SciVis are just two kinds of Vis, there is much more Vis around. Cartography has a history of 2000 years, and in several senses this field is much further than our field. At least, Slocum et al. clearly point out how to make a clear and useful map.

Posted by Robert Kosara on March 3, 2007. Filed under influences.