As my final project for a fantastic Digital Scholarship seminar this semester, I created a spreadsheet with bibliographic data from the artists' books collection at the Frick Fine Arts Library, University of Pittsburgh, and sought out various entry-level tools for visualizing this data. My goal was to identify some ways for a (non-programmer) humanities librarian to better understand a collection through visualization. My slides are available to view online.
I ran into a variety of hiccups and frustrations along the way, and although the semester is over, my interest in this question is not. I thought perhaps the HASTAC community could help me brainstorm some other tools or workarounds for the challenges I encountered, including:
- inability to easily export bibliographic data from an OPAC to a spreadsheet
- visualization templates that weren't equipped to handle the number of items in the collection, or became unwieldy
- lack of programs that can easily import data from Excel or Google spreadsheets/ programs that required data to be reformatted or marked up
- inability to treat dates like dates and not raw numbers/quantities
I would also be interested to know of any literature related to this topic. The articles I turned up were all geared toward a computer science audience and dealt with visualizing academic citation data, rather than library collections.
Thanks in advance for your feedback and comments, as I would love to pursue this further!