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Information Visualization for the Future Generation Catalog

The mass availability of large digital collections offered by libraries is partly forcing the online library catalog to become an information exploration and analysis tool. Over the past decade, the continuing transition towards discovery catalogs has provided a number of opportunities to develop novel library data exploration tools and services. One promising avenue is Information Visualization (IV), which refers to a range of techniques that aim to facilitate users’ interaction with large data-sets. How can IV help libraries and their users? What has IV done for libraries so far? Based on scholarly and professional literature this presentation describes the context driving this interest and the current state and future of visualization tools for libraries. Attendees will be able to better assess if and how IV might be useful in their organizations, what are the barriers to using IV, and how to potentially overcome them.


Prof. Charles-Antoine Julien teaches information technology (i.e., databases, Web systems, programming) at McGill’s School of Information Studies, where his research concerns the design and testing of novel online tools for organized collection exploration and searching. His expertise was first developed during a prior career as a database application developer and trainer, followed by graduate and post-graduate work in the information sciences, more specifically, using technology to interact with large organized collections in novel ways.
His doctoral research developed a 3D information visualization topic exploration tool, during which he established an expertise in library catalogues. This expertise was recognized in the province of Quebec throughout 2008-09 when he was invited to give 5 presentations or workshops, and in 2012 he published a Library Trends article describing his novel topical browsing tool for library collections. He now revisits library catalogue evolution after almost a decade of growth in library’s digital collections, and evolution of its public access tools.