Jenny Cann

I was reading Ben Mayhew’s explanations of his data visualisations on his blog site Experimental 3-6-1.

I came across his modification of Jenny Cann’s table idea. Ben’s description of his visual Cann tables is:

The main feature of the original Cann table is to space the clubs out in proportion to how many points they’ve won, making it easier to see where (and how big) the gaps between teams are.

I’ve taken this idea a step further and arranged teams based on what their final points total would be if they continued to earn them at the same rate …

I really enjoy Ben’s visualisations but I had not looked closely at Cann tables until Ben’s explanation. Nor had I any knowledge of Jenny Cann.

It has been difficult to find out much about Jenny. But my interest in the biographical background of analysts prompted me to learn more. The timeline I have uncovered is:

Jenny maintained a blog site from 1998 to 2003. It was called The Clock End.

Jenny died in 2003. The traces I found  of her were:

Mark Pitt (2004):

Jenny Cann used to maintain this interesting variation on the Premier League table. Her tragic death near the end of the 2002/3 season left the last table with 3 matches to play …

Jenny is mentioned in a tribute to Steve Gleiber (2005). Jenny is referred to as ‘Kampo’ by Kevin Lovegrove.

A Zach Slaton post (2012) (used as the reference on the Wikipedia page) refers to Jenny’s league tables.

Penguin (2013) noted:

In the late 1990s Jenny Cann used to publish a ‘visual’ premier league table showing the spaces between the teams via points rather than position to show the distances between teams. After her death … this became known as the Cann Table.

Brian Dawes (2014)

Jenny was a lovely lady and a serious Arsenal fan who died before her time. Quite rightly she felt that by showing the actual gap between all the teams the actual state of the league could be better conveyed. And she was absolutely right.

There is a Wikipedia page about Cann tables. It was first published in 2014.

By good fortune after I had compiled this timeline, I followed a link on a Danish blog site (Superstats) and discovered a link to a web archive of Jenny’s blog.

This is, I think, Jenny’s first visual league table posted on 10 January 1998:

This , I think, is the last visual table, in the web archive.

There is an archived picture there too:

I am delighted I have been able to find traces of Jenny. This blog post is my first use of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, an open source initiative that aims to provide mobile optimised content that can load instantly everywhere. Hopefully it will help introduce new readers to Jenny.

Photo Credits

The Arsenal Clock

The Clock End (Chris Parry)


I have found a reference to a Jennifer Carol Cann who was born in 1962 and died in May 2003. If this is Jenny she is described as a civil servant.

#UCSIA15 Visualisation Update 150814


Visualisation has been on my mind this week. Four separate alerts have directed my attention.

1. IEEE Call

On Wednesday, the IACSS listserv brought news from Dietmar Saupe about a special issue of IEEE’s Computer Graphics and Applications special issue on sports data visualization. Final submissions are due on 1 January 2016 for a publication date in September/October 2016.

The editors for this special issue are Rahul Basole (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Dietmar Saupe (University of Konstanz). The call invites “submissions that describe and discuss innovative visualization applications applied broadly to the sports and personal fitness domains”. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) visualisation for:

  • Player and team management
  • Sports media and entertainment
  • Operational management
  • Sports medicine applications
  • Personal fitness and sports data
  • Domain studies

2. Ben Mayhew



Ben shared his his visualisation of Championship football matches played in the first wek of the 2015-2016 football season in England. His post plots the cumulative quality of both teams’ shots in each Championship match “expressed in Expected Goals, over the course of each match, to illustrate how it unfolded and whether the result reflected the chances created”.

Ben’s post provides a link to a detailed explanation of how he has visualised the Expected Goals data. I think this is an excellent resource.

Unsurprisingly, given Ben’s commitment to CC licensing, he gives explicit thanks  to Michael Caley, Sander Itjsma and Ben Huxley in connection with his work.

3. Andy Kirk

Yesterday, Andy presented some alternatives to BBC football graphics presented in this post about the Premier League..

His post uses two graphics to illustrate different approaches to the same data.

Andy shows how replacing a radar chart with a connected dot plot (“Radars really only make sense if and when there is some compelling logic for the radial arrangement of values (usually temporal, spatial or, occasionally, intuitive groups)”) helps understanding.

His second example replaces a donut chart with with a stacked bar chart.

Andy observes in his conclusion:

Comparing the before/after versions I suspect that the labelling size and prominence of colour of my redesigns would need fine-tuning. It is interesting to see how faded they look when you shrink the final png file down. In the native Illustrator version they look far more vivid to the naked eye. That’s a good lesson in testing out your prototype designs in the size and setting in which they are likely to exist, to see for yourself how they look. Anyway, I’ve not got time to undertake endless iterations but you get the idea.

4. Applications

This morning, I received an alert from the Report App. In it there were links to some visualisation applications I had not used previously. These included:

Connecting 131016


I saw a Frances Bell tweet a couple of days ago.

She linked to a post by Martin Hall at Salford University.

In his post, Martin shared the impact of a presentation made by Helen Keegan:

# changes everything by serving as a readily available aggregator across the massive, dynamic database that is connected together through Twitter.

I enjoyed learning about a collaborative program, Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen (ELVSS12). I noted Michael’s observation:

Look for ELVSS12 with a conventional search engine and you wont find very much.  But use #ELVSS12 in Twitter and a wealth of live links comes together, with comment, critique and direct links to the films that can, in turn, be shared with anyone else across a global network.

This reminded me of a presentation I made to a Computer Science in Sport Conference in 2009. I used #IACSS09 as the title. My hope then was to encourage discussion about how we create and share resources. I thought (and do think) that # gives enormous scope for the development of a folksonomy to support open access.

In preparation for the 2009 presentation, I was delighted to find the elegance of Thomas Vander Wal’s writing about Folksonomy in his 2007 document (“a static permanent web document … written to provide a place to cite the coinage of folksonomy … (it) pulls together bits of conversations and ideas I wrote regarding folksonomy on listserves, e-mail, in my blogs and in blog comments on other’s sites in 2004”).

Thomas suggests:

  • “Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one’s own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information.”
  • “The value in this external tagging is derived from people using their own vocabulary and adding explicit meaning, which may come from inferred understanding of the information/object. People are not so much categorizing, as providing a means to connect items (placing hooks) to provide their meaning in their own understanding.”

I think my presentation had very little impact with my computer science colleagues but I have persisted. Like Helen and Michael, I see immense benefits in using tags. One of the maxims of the digital age is “capture once, use infinitely”. Tagging at the point of production helps us create, share, aggregate and curate with a small investment in #.

Serendipitously, Zach Steward has posted this week about the first ever hashtag, @-reply and retweet, as twitter users invented them. Hashtags became an official Twitter feature in July 2009, just two months before my presentation.

Earlier this week, in another Connecting post, I mentioned Tom Standage’s discussion of Cicero. When I visited Tom’s blog, I was delighted to see his use of a London underground tube map to illustrate the diffusion of a shared book. I think it is a great way to share a journey.


Last year, my son Sam redesigned Clyde Street with a transport map theme. He wrote about this process earlier this year. He came up with the following ideas:

  • Simple – Clyde Street is a place where people come to read. The articles vary in length and complexity so we needed to make the layout uncluttered and the reading experience as nice as possible.
  • Modern – As an “educational technologist”, Keith’s blog needed to utilise current web standards (such as html 5 and css 3) as well as embrace open source tools.
  • Reflect – I have often heard people say that this blog was a “journey of discovery”. Prior to the redesign it had very little personality in terms of branding to reflect this. Without going overboard we wanted to change that.

I welcomed his observation that “In the end, a blog is driven by its content, people do not keep coming back to see a fancy design, they keep coming back to read new ideas. My aim was to make it is as easy as possible for people to get to those ideas”.

I have been wondering of late if the impetus for my writing is to be a cartographer of the changing landscape of connecting and sharing. I do think I need to have some disciplined approach to curation to make this mapping possible.

Steve Rosenbaum has written this week about the Curation Economy. He postulates five laws of this economy:

1. People don’t want more content, they want less. We’re overwhelmed in raw, unfiltered, context-free data. Humans want it to stop.

2. Curators come in three shapes.

  • Experts — people whose background and depth of understanding makes their curatorial choices valid.
  • Editors, who manage the voice and the collections of the publications and sites they organize.
  • Passion-Driven who love their particular area of focus and attention and bring that single-minded focus to every piece of content they touch.

3. Curation isn’t a hobby, it’s both a profession and a calling.

Curation requires technology and tools to find, filter, and validate content at the speed of the real-time web.

5. Curation within narrow, focused, high-quality categories will emerge to compete with the mass-media copycats who are filling the curation space with lists, cat videos, and meme links.

With regard to the Fourth Law, I do use aggregation tools. I enjoy the alerts I receive too through Stephen Downes’ OLDaily. Today I was linked to Stian Håklev’s post on R.

I have started following Ben Mayhew’s visualisations of football performance through my aggregator. I thought that he and Stian might have some fascinating conversations about outliers in data sets.

I am mindful that my Connecting posts are very personal curations. I remain intrigued that much of what I can access is triggered by someone’s willingness to use a symbol (#) to help share their insights or to do so openly in blog posts.

Photo Credit

Crossroads (Joseph, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Book Journey (Tom Standage)