Visualising digital collections

Colored plate - fractal mosaic by QThomas Bower. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Colored plate – fractal mosaic by QThomas Bower. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0

How do we represent our digital collections?

Traditional print collections are easy enough to display creatively and in a way that encourages discovery over search if you have the room.  There are also many suppliers of cool shelving and funky display alternatives if you have the budget for it.

Displaying (and making discoverable) digital collections is quite a bit harder. Digitisation has meant access to many previously locked away collections and it does seem a shame to confine discovery of these collections to a results page on a library or museum catalogue. Fortunately, there are quite a few individuals and organisations doing really interesting things in this space, here’s just a few to get you started:

Working at the intersection between collections and art is Mitchell Whitelaw from the University of Canberra here in Australia. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mitchell’s work – he has done some really interesting things with representing digital collections and is a sought after keynote speaker for his engaging manner and way of explaining difficult concepts with ease. I first heard Mitchell speak at a TEDx event in 2010, where he explored the tension between search and discovery and leave you with the video from that presentation as some further food for thought.


– Clare

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