Data Tools

A wide variety of tools are available to analyze and visualize arts data. Below are links to some of the most popular. If have another tool you’d like to recommend, please drop us a line.

Want to dig right into the datasets now? You’ll find them on the Datasets page.


Excel is a spreadsheet program that features calculation, graph tools and pivot tables. It is the industry standard for spreadsheets and is part of the Microsoft Office suite of programs. Excel is great for storing, sorting and calculating descriptive statistics, and its capacity for data visualization is expanding. One advantage of using Excel is that is is so widely distributed and used. It’s probably on your computer now.

Get started now Learn the basics of how to use Excel to calculate descriptive statistics in this video.

Socrata describes itself as “a cloud-based data democratization solution for government.” Its software-as-a-service data platform and cloud applications is used by many city, county, state and federal government organizations, helping them make their data available to the public. Socrata’s web-based tools can be used to view, graph, map and download datasets provided by governments. Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles both make data publicly available through Socrata, as do other cities in the region.

Get started now Explore the data on the Socrata pages for the City of Los Angeles and for Los Angeles County.

Tableau is an online tool that helps you produce interactive data visualizations. They focus on what’s called “business intelligence” but their tools can be used by anyone, to create a variety of types of interactive charts and graphs.

Get started now Check out the many training videos on the Tableau website.

R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R provides a wide variety of statistical such as linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification and clustering as well as graphical tools, and is highly extensible. R is available as Free Software under the terms of the Free Software Foundation’s GNU General Public License in source code form. One of R’s strengths is the ease with which well-designed publication-quality plots can be produced, including mathematical symbols and formulae where needed.

Get started now Try this video about R for Excel users

pandas is an open source, BSD-licensed library providing high-performance, easy-to-use data structures and data analysis tools for the Python programming language. With pandas you can carry out your entire data analysis workflow in Python without having to switch to a more domain specific language like R. It is primarily useful for linear and panel regression modeling.

Get started now This blog links to lots of pandas resources

Something of a hybrid between Excel and Access, but in the cloud. Unlike either of those programs it easily handles images, links and snazzy color coding.

Get started now Watch this video to see the Airtable basics.


Words/Textual Analysis

Nvivo is a qualitative data analysis tool for coding and analyzing text, images, audio, video and other unstructured data, somewhat similar to Dedoose. A free trial version is available.

Get started now This video demonstrates the power of Nvivo.

Dedoose is a web-based application that can be used to code and analyze text, images, audio, videos and spreadsheet data. Otherwise known as a type of qualitative data analysis (QDA) software. A free trial version is available.

Get started now See how Dedoose works and get a quick overview describing “mixed methods research.”

Google Books Ngram Viewer
When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years

Get started now Learn the basics of how to use Ngram in this brief blog.


A wide variety of tools are available online for creating infographics. These are less about analyzing data and more about presenting it in an attractive and human-understandable format. Both of the tools listed below have free versions available.

Get started now This blog compares five Is there any difference between online infographic tools? (including Canva and Piktochart).




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