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It has been difficult to pick up a scientific or computing joumal in the last few years, without seeing an article about "scientific visualization" or "Visualization in Scientific Computing" or (still in a scientific context) simply "visualization". From these one might gain the impression that: visualization can produce stunning pictures; it needs powerful computers; all the contact addresses are in the USA; visualization can help to solve earth shattering problems, but is unsuitable for my own research.

A number of books describe the current state of the art. [Friedhoff91], [Brodlie92] and [Earnshaw 92] are good examples and each has a distinctive contribution. All repay further study.

What has not been available is a handy publication:

The Visualization Community Club of the UK Science and Engineering Research Council saw this deficiency and recommended that such a publication be produced - this booklet being the result. Useful information has also been provided by the Visualization Support Officer for the UK Advisory Group on Computer Graphics (Steve Larkin of the University of Manchester).

The information in this booklet will be updated 2-3 times a year and so the opportunity to make improvements exists. Keeping the information up to date will rely on readers noticing. If you can suggest improvements or provide updated information, please communicate this to:

This document will also be kept online.

For those who care about the spelling ... visualisation or visualization

Much debate appears to take place, whether 's' or 'z' should be used: visualise or visualize. Common usage of this word in the UK (outside the computing context) favours 's' and there is a danger of setting up false distinctions in the reader's mind - using 'z' for the technology, and 's' for the human activity. However the Oxford English Dictionary - not noted for being American uses 'z', with 's' as an allowed alternative, and therefore the 'z' spelling will be used here. Whatever the spelling, the technology is intended to assist, broaden and stimulate the human investigator to visualize the phenomena under investigation more deeply.

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