2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Jen Sterling

University of Iowa
From Xs and Os to 0s and 1s: Tracing data’s visualization in sport

Interactive charts, static graphs, and moving dots are just a few of the countless ways data is visually presented for consumption by players, fans, coaches, and management (among others). The creation of this visual user interface – the translation of the Xs and Os of sport to the 0s and 1s of binary code and their re-presentation - requires a number of human and non-human actors and actions. Hardware, firmware, software, industrial designers, electrical engineers, and software developers (among others) are parts of the processes that enable the collection, storage, sharing, and interpretation of data. Tracing the visualization of sporting data thus provides insight into biases and limitations and disrupts assumptions of objectivity. Utilizing content analysis of patents, research and white papers, and institutional and industry documentation this paper examines the production of data and its visual (i.e. pre-processed) forms and considers their implications for sport and studies of it.