Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions


In this insightful book, you'll learn from the best data practitioners in the field just how wide-ranging — and beautiful — working with data can be. Join 39 contributors as they explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video.

With Beautiful Data, you will:

  • Explore the opportunities and challenges ...
See more details below
$38.99 price
(Save 13%)$44.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $4.99   
  • New (10) from $25.46   
  • Used (12) from $4.99   
Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.99 price
(Save 44%)$35.99 List Price


In this insightful book, you'll learn from the best data practitioners in the field just how wide-ranging — and beautiful — working with data can be. Join 39 contributors as they explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video.

With Beautiful Data, you will:

  • Explore the opportunities and challenges involved in working with the vast number of datasets made available by the Web
  • Learn how to visualize trends in urban crime, using maps and data mashups
  • Discover the challenges of designing a data processing system that works within the constraints of space travel
  • Learn how crowdsourcing and transparency have combined to advance the state of drug research
  • Understand how new data can automatically trigger alerts when it matches or overlaps pre-existing data
  • Learn about the massive infrastructure required to create, capture, and process DNA data

That's only small sample of what you'll find in Beautiful Data. For anyone who handles data, this is a truly fascinating book. Contributors include:

  • Nathan Yau
  • Jonathan Follett and Matt Holm
  • J.M. Hughes
  • Raghu Ramakrishnan, Brian Cooper, and Utkarsh Srivastava
  • Jeff Hammerbacher
  • Jason Dykes and Jo Wood
  • Jeff Jonas and Lisa Sokol
  • Jud Valeski
  • Alon Halevy and Jayant Madhavan
  • Aaron Koblin with Valdean Klump
  • Michal Migurski
  • Jeff Heer
  • Coco Krumme
  • Peter Norvig
  • Matt Wood and Ben Blackburne
  • Jean-Claude Bradley, Rajarshi Guha, Andrew Lang, Pierre Lindenbaum, Cameron Neylon, Antony Williams, and Egon Willighagen
  • Lukas Biewald and Brendan O'Connor
  • Hadley Wickham, Deborah Swayne, and David Poole
  • Andrew Gelman, Jonathan P. Kastellec, and Yair Ghitza
  • Toby Segaran
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596157111
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/15/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 364
  • Sales rank: 983,039
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Toby Segaran is the author of Programming Collective Intelligence, a very popular O'Reilly title. He was the founder of Incellico, a biotech software company later acquired by Genstruct. He currently holds the title of Data Magnate at Metaweb Technologies and is a frequent speaker at technology conferences.

Jeff Hammerbacher is the Vice President of Products and Chief Scientist at Cloudera. Jeff was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Partners immediately prior to joining Cloudera. Before Accel, he conceived, built, and led the Data team at Facebook. The Data team was responsible for driving many of the statistics and machine learning applications at Facebook, as well as building out the infrastructure to support these tasks for massive data sets. The team produced several academic papers and two open source projects: Hive, a system for offline analysis built above Hadoop, and Cassandra, a structured storage system on a P2P network. Before joining Facebook, Jeff was a quantitative analyst on Wall Street. Jeff earned his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from Harvard University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

How This Book Is Organized;
Conventions Used in This Book;
Using Code Examples;
How to Contact Us;
Safari® Books Online;
Chapter 1: Seeing Your Life in Data;
1.1 Personal Environmental Impact Report (PEIR);
1.2 your.flowingdata (YFD);
1.3 Personal Data Collection;
1.4 Data Storage;
1.5 Data Processing;
1.6 Data Visualization;
1.7 The Point;
1.8 How to Participate;
Chapter 2: The Beautiful People: Keeping Users in Mind When Designing Data Collection Methods;
2.1 Introduction: User Empathy Is the New Black;
2.2 The Project: Surveying Customers About a New Luxury Product;
2.3 Specific Challenges to Data Collection;
2.4 Designing Our Solution;
2.5 Results and Reflection;
Chapter 3: Embedded Image Data Processing on Mars;
3.1 Abstract;
3.2 Introduction;
3.3 Some Background;
3.4 To Pack or Not to Pack;
3.5 The Three Tasks;
3.6 Slotting the Images;
3.7 Passing the Image: Communication Among the Three Tasks;
3.8 Getting the Picture: Image Download and Processing;
3.9 Image Compression;
3.10 Downlink, or, It's All Downhill from Here;
3.11 Conclusion;
Chapter 4: Cloud Storage Design in a PNUTShell;
4.1 Introduction;
4.2 Updating Data;
4.3 Complex Queries;
4.4 Comparison with Other Systems;
4.5 Conclusion;
4.6 Acknowledgments;
4.7 References;
Chapter 5: Information Platforms and the Rise of the Data Scientist;
5.1 Libraries and Brains;
5.2 Facebook Becomes Self-Aware;
5.3 A Business Intelligence System;
5.4 The Death and Rebirth of a Data Warehouse;
5.5 Beyond the Data Warehouse;
5.6 The Cheetah and the Elephant;
5.7 The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data;
5.8 New Tools and Applied Research;
5.9 MAD Skills and Cosmos;
5.10 Information Platforms As Dataspaces;
5.11 The Data Scientist;
5.12 Conclusion;
Chapter 6: The Geographic Beauty of a Photographic Archive;
6.1 Beauty in Data: Geograph;
6.2 Visualization, Beauty, and Treemaps;
6.3 A Geographic Perspective on Geograph Term Use;
6.4 Beauty in Discovery;
6.5 Reflection and Conclusion;
6.6 Acknowledgments;
6.7 References;
Chapter 7: Data Finds Data;
7.1 Introduction;
7.2 The Benefits of Just-in-Time Discovery;
7.3 Corruption at the Roulette Wheel;
7.4 Enterprise Discoverability;
7.5 Federated Search Ain't All That;
7.6 Directories: Priceless;
7.7 Relevance: What Matters and to Whom?;
7.8 Components and Special Considerations;
7.9 Privacy Considerations;
7.10 Conclusion;
Chapter 8: Portable Data in Real Time;
8.1 Introduction;
8.2 The State of the Art;
8.3 Social Data Normalization;
8.4 Conclusion: Mediation via Gnip;
Chapter 9: Surfacing the Deep Web;
9.1 What Is the Deep Web?;
9.2 Alternatives to Offering Deep-Web Access;
9.3 Conclusion and Future Work;
9.4 References;
Chapter 10: Building Radiohead's House of Cards;
10.1 How It All Started;
10.2 The Data Capture Equipment;
10.3 The Advantages of Two Data Capture Systems;
10.4 The Data;
10.5 Capturing the Data, aka "The Shoot";
10.6 Processing the Data;
10.7 Post-Processing the Data;
10.8 Launching the Video;
10.9 Conclusion;
Chapter 11: Visualizing Urban Data;
11.1 Introduction;
11.2 Background;
11.3 Cracking the Nut;
11.4 Making It Public;
11.5 Revisiting;
11.6 Conclusion;
Chapter 12: The Design of;
12.1 Visualization and Social Data Analysis;
12.2 Data;
12.3 Visualization;
12.4 Collaboration;
12.5 Voyagers and Voyeurs;
12.6 Conclusion;
12.7 References;
Chapter 13: What Data Doesn't Do;
13.1 When Doesn't Data Drive?;
13.2 Conclusion;
13.3 References;
Chapter 14: Natural Language Corpus Data;
14.1 Word Segmentation;
14.2 Secret Codes;
14.3 Spelling Correction;
14.4 Other Tasks;
14.5 Discussion and Conclusion;
14.6 Acknowledgments;
Chapter 15: Life in Data: The Story of DNA;
15.1 DNA As a Data Store;
15.2 DNA As a Data Source;
15.3 Fighting the Data Deluge;
15.4 The Future of DNA;
15.5 Acknowledgments;
Chapter 16: Beautifying Data in the Real World;
16.1 The Problem with Real Data;
16.2 Providing the Raw Data Back to the Notebook;
16.3 Validating Crowdsourced Data;
16.4 Representing the Data Online;
16.5 Closing the Loop: Visualizations to Suggest New Experiments;
16.6 Building a Data Web from Open Data and Free Services;
16.7 Acknowledgments;
16.8 References;
Chapter 17: Superficial Data Analysis: Exploring Millions of Social Stereotypes;
17.1 Introduction;
17.2 Preprocessing the Data;
17.3 Exploring the Data;
17.4 Age, Attractiveness, and Gender;
17.5 Looking at Tags;
17.6 Which Words Are Gendered?;
17.7 Clustering;
17.8 Conclusion;
17.9 Acknowledgments;
17.10 References;
Chapter 18: Bay Area Blues: The Effect of the Housing Crisis;
18.1 Introduction;
18.2 How Did We Get the Data?;
18.3 Geocoding;
18.4 Data Checking;
18.5 Analysis;
18.6 The Influence of Inflation;
18.7 The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer;
18.8 Geographic Differences;
18.9 Census Information;
18.10 Exploring San Francisco;
18.11 Conclusion;
18.12 References;
Chapter 19: Beautiful Political Data;
19.1 Example 1: Redistricting and Partisan Bias;
19.2 Example 2: Time Series of Estimates;
19.3 Example 3: Age and Voting;
19.4 Example 4: Public Opinion and Senate Voting on Supreme Court Nominees;
19.5 Example 5: Localized Partisanship in Pennsylvania;
19.6 Conclusion;
19.7 References;
Chapter 20: Connecting Data;
20.1 What Public Data Is There, Really?;
20.2 The Possibilities of Connected Data;
20.3 Within Companies;
20.4 Impediments to Connecting Data;
20.5 Possible Solutions;
20.6 Conclusion;

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)