Tag dc public library

circulation data visualized

There’s some interesting data hiding inside of our Integrated Library Systems! Here are four days worth of search terms, about 17,000, that were entered into DCPL’s OPAC earlier in the month.

I’m convinced that there’s more useful data inside of ILSs than generally gets used, and that there are more appealing way to use it than bar graphs. I’m not even close to being an expert about data visualization, but my little video above tells more of a story than a number in a spreadsheet. I used Wordle, ScreenFlow and some zooming tricks to make it so it wasn’t difficult but having the ILS spit out data an and automating the process would be great.

And of course, having to sit here and be passive while watching this is a drag. It would be great to be able to interact with this data and do stuff like compare it to items checked out or where the searches came from. We’ll see what comes of this experimentation.

Here’s the first video I made today which presents pretty much the same data in a slightly different way. I don’t like it quite as much, but I should include it to prove to you that I know about more colors than my beloved grey.

The most interesting stuff going on with circulation data exposure I’ve seen recently is from Dave Pattern who just helped the University of Huddersfield release 13 (!) years of circulation data under a CC0 (again !) protocol. That would make one heck of a word cloud. He spoke about it during the last Talk with Talis that I have yet to listen to but will soon.

my new job is great and i want to tell you about it

In late October I wrote a semi-cryptic Facebook status update telling people that I gave notice at my job. Then a few weeks later a few people emailed me when they saw my job at the NPPL listed on the PNLA Jobs website. Sorry that I haven’t been able to say anything until now, but Ts were getting crossed and all of that.

I’m super excited to let interested parties know that I’m now the Digital Initiatives Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library. Not quite sure what a Digital Initiatives Librarian does? Well, it is vague on purpose but I can tell you that I’m going to be doing website visioning, usability testing, web presence development and planning all sorts of fun projects. Much of this stuff is going to fall under a subdivision of the DCPL Information Technology Services department that we’re calling DCPL Labs (still in beta so expect to find some lorem ipsum). You can visit the DCPL Labs Projects page for some details of what we’ll be starting with, but I’m most excited about:

  • Our iPhone application. This is probably the simplest way I’ve seen to search for and place holds on library items. It is built and is in the process of being submitted to Apple for inclusion in the iTunes application store. The current version is about .8 and we have an exciting roadmap for future functionality.
  • Content Creation Stations. We’re giving DCPL Neighborhood Libraries some great hardware and training to help people produce digital content and put it online. We’re going to aggregate this content somewhere on the DCPL site.
  • We’ve got a nice looking and usable design for a new library website that is in the process of being built.
  • DCPL staff education. I’m going to be helping write modules for a learning program, hosting a Library 2.0 interest group for DCPL employees, and writing a tech awareness blog called The Dish. Writing a different style blog, something much more general and link-bloggy than walking paper should be fun and challenging.

Another aspect of the job that is fun and challenging is that I’m not moving to DC. I’ll be telecommuting from Portland and visiting DC as needed. In our estimation this might be for a few days monthly or every other month. I’ll be working from home (which probably means I’ll get back to posting more pics of Mao on the green couch to flickr) and my local haunt, Red Square Cafe. This flexibility also means that I’ll still be doing some traveling for neat presentation and workshop opportunities.

The DCPL is implementing a big transition, including some major construction projects. It is encouraging that the library is considering their digital presence in this transition, and I’m honored to help with the task.