Mattapoisett Data Stories draws upon open data to communicate the story of the town. The project combines whaling and crew data from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Mystic Seaport and the New Bedford Free Public Library with highly structured shipbuilding information that was transcribed for this project, and census, geographic and economic information. Reflecting the nature of the content-microdata-the information was primarily conveyed visually via programming, rather than through texts. The mode (most common value) is used narratively.
The whaling, crew, shipbuilding, and census data provides context for the museum objects and enables visitors to arrive at the works through various lines of inquiry. For example, accessing images of shipbuilding tools by clicking on “ship carpenter” in the occupations pie chart creates a direct link between the town’s economic profile and the objects. Supporting the fluid movement between context and object is a vital step in communicating the import of our objects.
In order to be maintainable by a small staff, the visualizations pull data from Google Drive spreadsheets which effectively serve as the content management system.