Data visualization cheap and easy(-ish) — Or, lessons learned from a data dashboard project

Our departments hold storehouses full of operations data. However, challenges frequently arise when trying to analyze this data from across frequently siloed and proprietary data sources in a timely manner. Available toolsets, meanwhile, leave us wishing for more — many apps handle data from specific products or only harvest specific types of data. Other apps are extremely expensive and/or require steep learning curves. For our university libraries, our goal was to find a sustainable workflow for analyzing, then publishing our data and visualizations in a data dashboard so our entire staff and administration could reliably use the data to better plan our services and communicate our worth with our community.

In this session, we will share the lessons learned from our data dashboard project and how they could be applied to organizations of any size. These lessons include doing an environmental scan of all the data used, and methods of harvesting, analysis and publishing our interdepartmental data for easy access and comprehension. Finally, we will offer demonstrations of the data applications we use in our workflow with pros and cons of their use.


  • Jerry Yarnetsky — Miami University Libraries
  • Rob O’Brien Withers — Miami University
  • Rich Wisneski — Miami University

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