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Library Engagement Through Open Data

Libraries collect mountains of statistical data, and much of it remains hidden on the library’s internal servers, so it is never used for marketing and other activities.  Oleg Kreymer and Dan Lipcan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York decided to make the data visually available, so that it could be used to justify the library’s existence to management and for other internal public relations uses.

The tools they used were IMA Dashboard from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, IBM’s Many Eyes, and Google Charts.  Many of the visualizations use motion charts.

Some of the lessons learned include:

  • Get support from the administration.
  • Define the target audience and your story.
  • Use Google Documents as a repository, and leverage your colleagues’ efforts.
  • Be prepared to revise your efforts.  Data formatting can be challenging–use plenty of trial and error.

Google Public Data motion maps is a new development and will be worth watching.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2010 Blog Coordinator

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