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I'm working with a student who is interested in creating some sort of interactive display of library information for a 'mediatecture' class. We've been talking about showing some checkout/checkin data (not real time) or doing something with popular or lost items.

The student has been inspired by information visualization, augmented reality projects and displays like those found at the Seattle Public Library's Making Visible the Invisible project http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/~g.legrady/glWeb/Projects/spl/spl.html

The student is still in the brainstorming stage and is looking for inspiration and feedback. So I ask you, what do you think is the most interesting part/pieces of library data? Have you heard of similar interesting projects? What would you do with library data?

asked Feb 14 '12 at 12:46

lagina's gravatar image


Thought some of you might be interested in an update. The student I've been working with has mashed up some library circ data with bookcovers and dewey numbers correlated to color values from the color wheel. He'll be projecting a display outside of the library that will animate every time the library front door is opened. Book covers for books that were checked in will appear on the exterior entrance wall along with related books (based on color wheel relationships).

There is perhaps little practical utility to the display, but it will be eye-catching. We had a great response when we started to promote our 'new books' by cover so I suspect the display will be intriguing to our students. It is unfortunate that we could not do this with real-time checkin data.

If the student posts any video/photos online, I'll be sure to share them here. Thanks again for the feedback and support!


answered Mar 26 '12 at 16:29

lagina's gravatar image


I'll mark this as the answer since this will close the question. Thanks for posting all the interesting examples :cD

(Mar 26 '12 at 20:50) yo_bj ♦♦

What about circulation stats over time? Like the number of time something was checked out in relation to publication year. Or the number of times it was checked out in relation to when it was purchased/added.

You could focus on specific books...like the impact a review on NPR or being one of Oprah's books has on circulation.

Circulation numbers, basic citation information, dates of publication, and dates something was added to the system are generally easy to identify and pull from the system and shouldn't have any privacy implications.


answered Feb 14 '12 at 13:04

slmcdanold's gravatar image


Thanks! We're definitely being mindful of privacy concerns. The student is not interested in any patron data whatsoever.

(Feb 14 '12 at 15:14) lagina

Circulation figures are certainly interesting but libraries have tons of interesting data that could be visualized in demonstrative ways. I've done some work with reference statistics, for instance, which can be split up a number of different ways depending on what data points a library collects: patron type, READ scale, question topic, location, time of day, mode of communication...you can combine any 2 or 3 of these for a pointed cross-section of reference activity. Here are some random viz projects of library data (the weak first two are by me): - Referrals between two libraries - LIS Journals by for-profit vs. university presses - Brown Libraries Dashboard - Dentographs of call numbers the recent Code4Lib article

Those cover reference, bibliographic, and circulation data.


answered Feb 14 '12 at 14:30

phette23's gravatar image


Thanks for the examples! We started with circ data because I think one fascinating but intangible part of what is happening in libraries is how patrons are using the materials. I would love to see some sort of visualization/display of the connections between library materials and our students' projects. We have a citation analysis for our masters theses, but because our students are artists and designers there is not always such an explicit listing of sources. Thanks for raising the issue of reference and bib data as well!

(Feb 14 '12 at 15:21) lagina

For inspiration, you might look at StackView http://librarylab.law.harvard.edu/projects/stackview/index.php -- this uses size, pages and a measure of popularity (could be check outs, could be rankings from something outside the catalog). Also an article in the most recent Code4Lib might be over interest: "On Dentographs, A New Method of Visualizing Library Collections" http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/6300


answered Feb 14 '12 at 14:34

wendyrlibrarian's gravatar image


Thanks -- I hadn't seen StackView before, I appreciate the link!

(Feb 14 '12 at 15:23) lagina

The Dashboard of Indianapolis Museum of Art is also a nice example how to collect and display various library statistics: http://dashboard.imamuseum.org/

We use it in our library, but no-real time data. If takes quite some data mining to get the correct numbers for a large institution.

As a tongue-in-cheek example we created a music application based on real-time circulation data at Ghent University Library: http://search.ugent.be/%7Ephochste/music3/ (http://www.slideshare.net/hochstenbach/20100618-datasalon5-vooruit-gent)


answered Feb 15 '12 at 10:48

hochstenbach's gravatar image


Thanks for posting this! I loved the musical 'interpretation' :)

(Mar 26 '12 at 16:18) lagina

Book Galaxy was the winner of a competition to do stuff with library activity data which might be of interest - it provides a visual interface for exploring the items and how they are connected through use. http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ajp3g08/mosaicbookgalaxy/ (it's a java applet)


answered Feb 26 '12 at 07:05

ostephens's gravatar image


Thanks you for posting, love the visual energy of the interface.

(Mar 26 '12 at 16:19) lagina
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Asked: Feb 14 '12 at 12:46

Seen: 123,856 times

Last updated: Mar 26 '12 at 20:50

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