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Making Visible the Invisible

LegradyGeorge Legrady, September 14, 2005

Visualizing the Collective Data Space: The Library As Data Exchange   


Center, a public arts commission  for  the Seattle Central Library

“Making Visible the Invisible” is a commission for the Rem Koolhaas designed Seattle Public Library featuring the visualization of the  circulation of books by the hour for the next ten years. The installation consists of 6 large LCD panels located on a glass wall  horizontally behind the librarians’ main information desk in the Mixing Chamber, a large open 19,500 sq ft space dedicated to information retrieval and public accessible computer research. The visualizations consist of real-time animations generated by custom designed software using processed data based on the circulation of  books and media being checked out of the library. The 4 visualizations include “Vital Statistics” which provides circulation statistical data, “Floating Titles” condenses the hourly checked-out items into a linear stream of titles floating by, “Dewey Dot Matrix Rain” separates  Dewey coded items from others into falling or flashing actions, and “Keyword Map Attack” consisting of extruded keywords associated with the checked-out items. These are sequentially animated to be positioned at precise locations based on their associations to the  library’s classification categories. For additional information, visit the project website at:

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