Mapping what we read

keywordsThe artwork called “Making Visible the Invisible: What the Community is Reading” is composed of six LCD screens that run above the reference desk on the fifth floor of the Seattle Public Library.

George Legrady, a professor of interactive media at the University of California, Santa Barbara, created the artwork. It’s powered by three computers that use library data of material checked out within the past hour. The installation interprets the data and displays it in four visualizations:

  • VITAL STATISTICS: running totals from various categories of materials checked out
  • FLOATING TITLES: the titles of materials checked out (book titles are red; titles of other materials are green), with the position on the screen determined by the Dewey Decimal number
  • DEWEY DOT MATRIX RAIN: titles appear on the screen at their Dewey location or float down the screen like rain
  • KEYWORD MAP ATTACK: keywords of checked-out titles, as in the photo of one of the screens, above. Colour and positioning are determined by their Dewey number.
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