As I’ve begun settling into Providence after my move from New York, I’m finally having some time to catch up on my library news. I had heard about NYPL’s recent release of more than 180,000 public domain items from their digital collections, including the first known photography by a woman and more than 40,000 stereoscopic views of the U.S., but as I delved deeper, I discovered all of the exciting tools and initiatives that they’ve integrated into the collections to encourage discovery, interaction, sharing, research, and reuse. In particular, I’ve been musing on the fantastic visual browsing tool. Data visualization is still often thought of simply as a graphic, sometimes interactive, representation of statistics and other data, but it also clearly has so much potential as a tool for discovery, by helping users to better understand the scope of the information that they’re searching or exploring.
Beyond content visualization, NYPL is championing active user/content engagement with the Digital Collections API, a Remix Residency program and other tools from the creative folks at NYPL Labs, like The Green Book trip planner, which uses “locations extracted from mid-20th century motor guides that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, and other destinations where Black travelers would be welcome.”
For those of us who spend most of our days in the weeds of content management, NYPL’s Digital Collections initiatives are a great reminder to think innovatively about how we can better connect and engage users with digital collections.
For some Friday fun, check out their Stereogranimator and create some 3D images!