Lit 80, Fall 2013
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Augmenting Scientific Literature: An Alternative View of Cancer Research

November 8th, 2013 | Posted by Kim Arena in Uncategorized

There is more to cancer research than just raw data. My project is a tumblr compilation of visual representations of scientific literature that depict what would be considered concrete data in an artistic manner—establishing a connection between the research processes, the results, the components of the disease, and the impact it has on people’s lives. Research is not one-dimensional; there is a beauty behind analyzing the building blocks of life—even when they’ve gone wrong—and that can be extracted through manipulation of the text, diagrams, and data of the official paper.

The goal of this project will be to investigate how augmenting the text of figures of scientific literature can alter the reader’s perception and interpretation of both the literature and the data. Interpreting the data in this manner sheds a different light on the subject and makes a connection between the concrete and abstract ideas associated with the disease and subsequently forms a bridge between the molecules, the scientists, and the patients. There will be multiple elements in my project that will collectively augment the scientific literature. The tumblr will have images generated by text analysis tools, manipulations of the data using visualization tools, mapping of certain processes, and other interactive elements that together establish a way of looking at science through an artistic lenses. The literature that I will be using will be a collection of scientific articles found online that all relate to cancer research.

Through the media elements, I will aim to compare and relate different concepts and features from the various articles, augmenting them in a way that will form connections and go beyond the factual data to demonstrate that there is more to scientific research than just charts, numbers, and molecules. Some examples of ways that this will be achieved are through text analysis, such as words clouds, that analyze major concepts in research based on the words used in the discussion of the findings and through manipulating discovered sequences of important molecular components to create an artistic image of what makes up a disease. I think it is important to look deeper into research literature and having a visual and artistic depiction of the components of a disease can expand the range of understanding that can be obtained from the work.

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