Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation, will host its inaugural lecture, ‘Information is Beautiful: A Data-Driven Tour of the Universe’, on 18 April.

Data journalist and information designer David McCandless will use visualisation to tell stories about modern life, exhibit some examples of enhanced journalism, reveal unseen patterns, and challenge the audience’s way of seeing the world.

The lecture will open the first digital exhibition of QNL, using its innovative digital technology to display visual data in both English and Arabic on 11 interactive digital totems. Visitors will be able to engage with unique visualisations and infographics, and compare and contrast interesting facts and figures on subjects such as reading in the Arabian Gulf, social media in the Middle East, Qatar, world empires, and many more.

QNL Executive Director Dr Sohair Wastawy said that for those of us navigating an age of info-overload, visualized information has incredible potential to help us find meaning in a complicated world.

Whether it’s military budgets, bird flu outbreaks, time travel in sci-fi films, or the contradictory scientific evidence for superfoods, infographics bring to life information and data that is too complex or abstract to grasp any way but visually.’

McCandless’ blog and best-selling design-books Information Is Beautiful and Knowledge is Beautiful are dedicated to visualising ideas, issues, knowledge and data,  and in discovering novel patterns and stories among an ocean of data. His work has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate Britain. McCandless, who curated the exhibition, will introduce its visualisations before his lecture.

It’s very exciting to share my first digital exhibition in such an auspicious and beautiful building full of information and knowledge. It’s been a delight to explore Middle Eastern and Qatari culture through the medium of data and design. I’ve learned a lot and I hope visitors will too. Visualisations look particularly elegant in Arabic. I hope it will inspire others in the region and beyond to express their ideas, data, and understanding in visual form.’

The lecture and exhibition are part of a series of special events celebrating the grand opening of QNL. For a full list of activities and events at QNL this April, visit You can also check out this link for more information.