I’m going to give you all a whirlwind tour of a free web application I work on called Viewshare. I am going to tell you a bit about what it does, what it is, and how the workflow works.
Here it is, you can go see it right now at viewshare.org, well don’t go right now because this is going to be rather quick and you should pay attention, but do go latter. Viewshare.org. If this ends up sounding like something you would like to play with go to the website and click the green request an account box and we can get you set up.
So this is it. Viewshare is a free and open platform for creating dynamic interfaces to digital collections. Importantly, it is a ….
Interface building actualy facilitates a deeper understanding of our collections. It helps us come to know more about them. This is a key property of visualization in general.
Here are some of the displays that you get to make with viewshare. Timelines, lists, charts, image galleries, and maps. Each of these become intreprative frames for identifying and exploring emergant patterns in collections.
Thisgalery view probably makes sense, just a display of collection images.
And again we have a map view, in this case of a set of digitized trade cards from brooklyn public. Library. Each of these views are interesting, and the fact that you can go from data to a view like this in a matter of minutes is itself exciting. But beyond that, the fact that you can pivot and shift between these views does some really nice things for seeing and understanding the contents of a given collection.
So along with the different views we have a set of distinct and persistant facets. Lists, histograms, and tag clouds.
Here, in that set of tradecards, you can see a histogram showing the frequency of each of the items by the date they were published. You can pull either of those sliders in and all of the items you are viewing will shift in repsonse to your action. The same for the subject list below. Each click and drag reorganizes what you see to show only the items that fit the given criteria.
As another example, here we have a tag cloud of subects, a list of item names and a histogram of dates with a gallery view. Each subsequent interaction with a facet will shift the images displayed, and I can then pivot to any of the other displays to see how that set of facet choices effects each visualization.So that is what you get, how here is how you get there.
We start by importing data.
Viewshare can import a range of different kinds of data, spreadsheets, mods files, and OAI DC data. The idea here is to take whatever it is you have on hand.
You then augment that data, and that has two layers to it.
First you describe what kinds of data each of your importaed pieces of information represents. So, here I am telling Viewshare that the image URL field is in fact an image and should be wraped in an image tag.
The second part is a real triumph. You can actually add new fields of data derived from other data fields. For example, I tell viewshare to take plain text place names in one of my existing fields and derive lat longs from them by looking them up in geonames and viewshare goes off to find that data. Again, we know people don’t have lat longs so we want to make it as easy as possible to derive them from, for example, plain text data in a coverage field.
Next we build our view.
Here you can see the drag and drop interface. You just add the facet widgets, pick the fields you want, and add the views you want, drag and drop th reorder the actual data fields, pick which fields you want to display in each view, and use the radio buttons to chose which fields you want to use to, say, set the color for the pins on your map. At every moment you can click the show preview button to toggle back and forth and see what your final view will look like.
Here I have toggled to preview my veiw, I can click show builder to go back again,
As I said before, one click copy paste and, just like youtube, I have the simple oneline script I can paste into any HTML document.
Here you can see that view visible in my own personal webpage, in this case a wordpress blog. Notice that the view takes on the styling of my site.
In practice, we have found that this green arrow is really important, seeing our patterns all laid out for us gives some neat insights and sends us back to our data.
As I suggested, interface building facilitates deeper understanding…
That understanding facilitates a need for data remediation. E
That missing s is a lot more obvious here than it would be on item 251 in a list of records.Beyond this…
It is becoming eaiser and eaiser to scoop up a pile of things. Working interface building into an itteritive collection building process means that curators can see what they are actualy doing from a diverse set of perspectives as they go.
So that’s it. Viewshare.org Click the green button for info on how you can get set up with an account to start making and playing with collection data.
CurateGear Viewshare Slides
Trevor Owens Digital Archivist NDIIPPThe Library of Congress @tjowens building interfaces understanding collections
In Visualization,“knowledge is nottransferred, revealedor perceived, but iscreated through adynamic process” Jessop, Visualization as Scholarly Activity, LLC, 2008
a free and open platform forcreating dynamic visual interfaces to digital collections