"Pictures and words have been combined together in documents since the invention of written language and especially in ancient Egyptian. But it is my claim that the full integration of words, images and shapes into a single unified communication unit is just now emerging as a distinct language." R.E. Horn

As the quantity of data we are asked to make sense of has grown, so have new ways of representing and communicating that data.

As the recent IKM workshop on open linked data participants discussed how visual languages may vary between cultures and contexts, and how visual presentation of content can lead to data being trusted, without the underlying numbers being critically assessed.

In this section you can find a video from Hans Rosling, explaining how visualising data allowed him to communicate surprising facts about international development, and you can see a wide range of visual languages put into use in the Guardian Visualisation Gallery.

As part of our Young Lives Linked Data Demonstrator, we also explored how well structured linked data could be simply visualised, building a flexible 'data cube explorer' for reading in statistics from different datasets and allowing them to be compared.

Quote from: Horn, R.E. Visual Language: global communication for the 21st century, Xplane Press 1998; Image Credit: taken from Visualising Information for Advocacy, Tactical Tech