The Shipwrecks Silk contains information on 824 major maritime disasters from Roman times up to 2014. Beautiful images and accurate descriptions and tags make it a very interesting Silk to explore. Below are a few interesting discoveries. We used Kimono Labs to pull in the data and ImportXML in Google Sheets for additional details.
The Tour de France Silk brings together key data on all teams, riders, stages, sponsors and previous editions of the Tour de France. Explore and analyze away - compare average speeds for all editions for instance:
Or access the data collections and analyses:
And check out this map of stage winners:
This is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you are interested in cycling or sport statistics in general, head over to tour-de-france-2014.silk.co. And keep an eye on the site: Caspar (creator of the Silk) will update it regularly. Send him a message if you have feedback or questions.
We are excited to announce inline filters to Silk visualizations. This feature lets Silk editors place a filter on top of any of their visualizations. In our tests this small addition made a big difference: people are much more inclined to play around with visualizations that have an inline filter added to them.
Here is an embed from world.silk.co showing population growth. Use the inline region filter to look at population growth per region. Click on the filter, and type in a region, like ‘America’ or ‘Africa’.
As you can see inline filters also work with embedded visualizations, so you can easily use them on your blog or website. We use them ourselves for our home page with examples of cool Silks.
To add an inline filter, click on the ‘Add inline filter’ link when editing or exploring a Silk visualization. Select a tag to filter for, and it will be displayed on top of the visualization. You can click the dropdown and enter a default filter value.
We had great fun testing it out, and we think it adds to the experience of browsing a Silk or interacting with a Silk embed. Let us know if you need any help adding an inline filter, and please send us a link if you find a nice use case for this new feature!
British Blind Sport (BBS) is a national charity in the UK aiming to help blind and partially sighted people play sports. Part of their work involves sharing the data they have amassed with sports governing bodies to improve sports opportunities for people with a visual impairment.
The Silk British Blink Sport Statistics provides clear insights on how many people with visual impairments live in different regions in Britain. BBS also uses private Silks to collect and explore information on specific regions, schools and sports.
Thomas Davies is the Information & Database Coordinator at BBS. We asked him to tell us a bit more about how he uses Silk, and he kindly allowed us to publish this on our blog. Here are our questions and edited excerpts of Thomas’s answers:
What is your goal for using Silk?
Over the next 3 years, our aim is to share research and data with sporting National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to ensure all their visually impaired (VI) participation programmes are based on solid evidence. As a charity, we are tasked to increase sporting participation amongst visually impaired people. Therefore, it’s important to understand the spread of visually impaired people across the country and focus participation programmes in areas where there is a large number of VI people and a demand for sports opportunities.
How will Silk help you meet these goals?
Silk allows us to quickly display data on a map. I struggled to find a decent mapping service that was actually user-friendly. Also, we hope to produce different reports for specific NGBs and for specific regions in the UK. I would much rather create a report on Silk instead of producing a printed booklet for NGBs. I want to encourage NGBs to interrogate the data and Silk should allow us to do that. Also, Silk allows us to continually update the information and have NGBs receive subscription digests.
How do you create your Silks?
We store all of our data in Podio and then generate Excel spreadsheets which I convert into a .CSV file. I can import CSV files easily into Silk. I wouldn’t have the patience to manually add all our data! As I haven’t delved too much into Silk yet, I often use your example projects to learn how I can layout my data in an attractive and effective ways.
On a personal note, at Silk we are proud to help NGOs (like Human Rights Watch) move their data online and visualize that date in beautiful and interesting ways. If you work at an NGO and are reading this, contact us and we can help you build a Silk for your organization to replace paper reports or help your team communicate its message with data (or words, images, video and audio - all work well on Silk). If you have any questions for Thomas or us, please let us know at email@example.com. Cheers!
Alex made a video in which he explains how to create a Silk from a spreadsheet in great detail. He shows how to take data about endangered species from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, and import it into Silk to create a simple Silk site. He did this in only a few minutes with no coding skill. In fact, anyone can do this.
Alex made this video for teachers and students. Schools are emphasizing data in the classroom and the ability to add local relevance to a class project (which also includes cute animals) is a great plus. While the post was aimed as a classroom project, it’s also quite useful for anyone who wants a narrated walkthrough of the steps involved in downloading data from a public database and then creating a Silk with many pages very quickly by importing a spreadsheet. Alex also shows how to create an interesting home page with nice pictures and visualizations after importing the data from the spreadsheet.
If you want more help with creating a Silk, check out the tutorials and support pages, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have more suggestions for tutorials, we are always open to ideas. Thanks for reading.
In June 2014 UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee announced the new inscriptions for the World Heritage List. This year 26 new sites made it into the list, making the current number of World Heritage Sites 1007, with two sites delisted.
To celebrate this event, we built the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Silk, which anyone can use to quickly visualize facts and stats about UNESCO’s World Heritage database.
Here at Silk we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make building Silks more efficient. Building Silks manually is fun and easy to do. But building larger Silks with hundreds or thousands of pages is much easier using our CSV import capability. So we regularly try out tools that make it easier to convert data from the Internet into the CSV format. This includes pulling in links to images; we automatically convert those links into images on Silk pages. Here is a list of some of our favorite tools.
OpenRefine - This piece of powerful desktop open source software allows easy refinement and normalization of data. For example, in a single column of data taken from a government website we might see multiple formats of the same thing. Los Angeles might be referred to as Los Angeles, LA, and L.A. For Silk to properly count and visualize Los Angeles, we need all mentions to be in the same format. OpenRefine does this and many other things very smartly across large data sets.
Kimono Labs, Import.io – These are two amazing tools for capturing data from public Internet sites. They both have visual menus so you don’t need to code to learn them. In other words, with a mouse or touchpad you can simply highlight and then click on parts of websites you want to collect data from. You can then set up pagination to extract the data from multiple similar pages. Kimono runs entirely in the browser. Import.io requires a software download but has some power user features that Kimono Labs lacks. Both are great and we use them both often.
Tabula – This is another Open Source tool. It converts tables in PDFs and other number grids into CSV format. This is very handy with PDFs that are either locked or very messy to extract data from. We use it often to pull data out of PDFs quickly and convert that data into a Silk.
Creative Commons Image Search – Adding images to Silks makes them far more interesting to look at. We use this site to find images that do not have copyright restrictions and are free for use on any website without requiring royalties. Many of these images come from the Wikimedia site, a part of the Wikipedia foundation.
What tools do you use to build Silks? We are always looking for new ideas and would love to hear from you. And if you have questions about how to use these tools with Silk, we are very happy to show you how.
You may have noticed a slight change on our home page a week or so ago. The Silks we placed there used to be static images linked to individual Silk sites. It took a lot of work to maintain and update the images and the grid. So we replaced the old grid with an actual Silk embed from gallery.silk.co. By clicking or tapping on the Explore button you arrive at the search and filter mode. There you’ll be able to create your own gallery based on whatever you want: sports or food, to name two. You can also filter by use case, such as portfolio.
This gallery of Silks is curated by our team and is a definitive repository of featured sites. Some of the sites are created by Silk’s internal data journalism team. An increasing number of Silks are built by our fast growing community. If you want ideas of how to make Silks, this is a great resource. We update the gallery once or twice per week. You can also search through the gallery to find examples of Silks for specific categories (e.g. Business, Personal, Education). So dive into our gallery, browse and check back regularly for fresh inspiration.
If you want to use this capability in Silk to embed a gallery (or product grid) on your own blog or website, check out the embedding tutorial or ask us how. We’d be happy to show you. You can always reach us @silkdotco on Twitter or via email email@example.com.
If you follow us on social media, you would have noticed a high volume of tweets and posts about the ongoing World Cup. That’s because a week ago we launched our World Cup Database and are very proud of this comprehensive Silk. It contains historical data for all teams and editions going back to the inception of the tournament in 1930. Additionally, you can find more stats on the players of the last two World Cups, as well as data on stadiums and matches for Brazil 2014.
Our World Cup Silk Database is an excellent tool for researching facts about the event such as stadium construction cost (a hot topic in Brazil) or detailed data about every player. It’s all in there.
The Silk World Cup Database was built by Alice Corona, our data journalist and resident data expert. (She is also the brains behind our Transparency Reports Database). There are other soccer statistics sites out there but we believe Alice has built one of (if not the most) comprehensive soccer data sites for the World Cup ever. To build it she pulled in data from official soccer sites and guides (FIFA), Stadium Guide), from community efforts (Wikipedia) and from news sources (The Guardian, Fox Sports). She used tools such as Google Sheets (with its ImportXML function and XPath), Open Refine, and Kimono Labs.
If you would like us to build a data-driven sports site for your media organization or school, drop us a line on Twitter @silkdotco and we’ll get Alice to help you out. Thanks for reading and happy World Cup matches! Gooooooooooal!
A Silk all about billionaires - where they live, how much money they have, what industry they are in, and how old they are. There are only 39 billionaires under 40 years of age. Surprisingly, the highest concentration is in fashion. The data was collected from Forbes.com.