Here is an excellent web link plus two great books which address the question which diagram or chart should I use to effectively present information visually. With at least 40 types of diagram and new ones being added daily this is a very hot topic!
The excellent weblink from quickview (a data visualisation tool) takes you through the main data visualisations and gives advice on when each one is appropriate.
The book Information is Beautiful by David McCandless presents all sorts lots of statistics about the world in a visually imaginative way – the ultimate coffee table book! The picture above is taken from the book and summarises 40 different types of “Information Viz”.
Finally the book Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few is probably the definitive reference book on Information Design on the principle “less is more”. Few thoroughly debunks flashy dashboard designs which look like airline and car cockpits which impress on first sight but are a nightmare to use in favour of simple clean minimalistic designs which actually convey the required information effectively.