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Radial visualization, or the practice of displaying data in a circular or elliptical pattern, is an increasingly common technique in information visualization research. In spite of its prevalence, little work has been done to study this visualization paradigm as a methodology in its own right. We provide a historical review of radial visualization, tracing it to its roots in centuries-old statistical graphics. We then identify the types of problem domains to which modern radial visualization techniques have been applied. A taxonomy for radial visualization is proposed in the form of seven design patterns encompassing nearly all recent works in this area. From an analysis of these patterns, we distill a series of design considerations that system builders can use to create new visualizations that address aspects of the design space that have not yet been explored. It is hoped that our taxonomy will provide a framework for facilitating discourse among researchers and stimulate the development of additional theories and systems involving radial visualization as a distinct design metaphor.