This is a collaborative project between Stefanie Posavec and Greg McInerny of Microsoft Research. We have seen Stefanie's work before on her beautiful Writing Without Words. Using a similar visual method, Stefanie has worked with Greg in a set of visualizations that map the insertions/deletions of text through the six editions of The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin.
Each diagram represents an edition of The Origin of Species, and is modelled on the literary organism structure used for On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. Within the diagram, chapters are divided into subchapters as in Darwin's original text, and these subchapters are divided into paragraph 'leaves'. The small wedge-shaped 'leaflets' represent sentences. Each sentence is coloured according to whether the sentence will survive to the next edition (blue) or whether it will be deleted and not be within the next edition (orange).
The first image shows the outcome of the fourth edition, while the second image shows the first and last edition of The Origin of Species side-by-side.