« General statistical education is an utter failure | Main | Another day, another misuse of averages »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Robert Kosara

There is at least one good reason to have the text be text, rather than part of the image: Google can find it. Also, it renders better on high-res displays.

I don't disagree with the issue, though this particular example is fairly simple. In many cases, when the data is rendered in the browser, there isn't even an image to save. The solution is to take screenshots (when you're doing it manually) or use a browser testing tool that can interpret the JavaScript (e.g., Selenium). Yet another option when something is rendered as SVG (i.e., using D3) is to use a tool like the clever SVGCrowBar to save the resulting SVG.


Since the NYT’s charts are made with with D3, which was created by Mike Bostock (@mbostock), who himself works at the paper and oversees the interactive work, maybe you could try voicing your concerns to him directly?

Although he’s a busy guy, he’s taken kindly to the feedback I’ve given him, the times I have talked with him on Twitter.


I agree with Robert---there's a good reason to have text separate from images. Accessibility for screen readers is another point to consider (though I don't know how accessible the charts NYT uses are). How many people are going through and saving the images anyway?


Akiva/Robert: I think you are missing my point. Newspapers, printed matter, and now blogs form a record of human history. Yes, few people need to save these images but few people need to save the articles either. My point is that we save all the text but we take a nonchalant attitude towards saving the images and the data graphics. Screenshots are sufficient for my blogging use but unless there is a non-manual, systematic way of saving them and linking them to the articles, they are not really an archiving tool.

Pessimism: I don't think it's Mike's problem to solve although if he can develop tools to help the archivists. This is more the archivist's or historian's job.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Get new posts by email:
Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
Visit my website. Follow my Twitter. See my articles at Daily Beast, 538, HBR, Wired.

See my Youtube and Flickr.


  • only in Big Data
Numbers Rule Your World:
Amazon - Barnes&Noble

Amazon - Barnes&Noble

Junk Charts Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

Next Events

Jan: 10 NYPL Data Science Careers Talk, New York, NY

Past Events

Aug: 15 NYPL Analytics Resume Review Workshop, New York, NY

Apr: 2 Data Visualization Seminar, Pasadena, CA

Mar: 30 ASA DataFest, New York, NY

See more here

Principal Analytics Prep

Link to Principal Analytics Prep