MIT project looking for WordPress users to beta test data visualization tools

An MIT research project is looking for beta testers for its  Knight News Challenge proposal for a WordPress data visualization plugin. Sign up on their blog.

As Professor David Karger writes, his team has created a WordPress plugin called Datapress that lets folks  WYSIWYG author interactive visualizations of any data without any programming.  Using the tool, users can drop maps, timelines, tables, charts, lists, thumbnail grids, and graphs into your article the same way images drop in an image.   You can include widgets that let your readers sort and filter the data by the criteria you specify.  The data you’re presenting can be in a file uploaded to your blog or can live in a Google spreadsheet or a wiki where that can be maintained over time—your article will automatically incorporate your changes.     All these pieces are incorporated in the standard WordPress blog-post editor.

Datapress uses the Exhibit framework, which has been used to create several hundred interesting data visualizations on the web, including some by the San Fransisco Chronicle, the Star Tribune, and the St. Petersburg Times.  But Datapress is intended to make it even easier to author these views and incorporate them in blogs.  A couple of brave bloggers at Factory Portland and Quantnet have already used it successfully for music and finance.

You can see examples on the demo site, watch a tutorial on the Datapress blog, or just download the plugin from the WordPress plugins site. And sign up.