Standards For Self Documenting Charts

RULE 1. Every chart should stand on its own : be completely self-documenting

Always assume that a chart will be reproduced out of its original context. It should convey the same information ripped from context as it would in its original place on the page. This means

  • Chart title must be descriptive, accurate, and standardized
  • All axes must be properly labeled
  • Dates: as of, when made, last revised
  • Data sources, other references, and any disclaimers or caveats should be integral to the chart.
  • Who made this chart?
  • How can this chart be reproduced (licensing — see Creative Commons)