This project examines graphical user interfaces to large bibliographic collections in order to support exploratory information access. In cooperation with the German National Library, scenarios, concepts, and prototypes are developed with the aim to support visual search and exploration of semantic information spaces. Among collecting institutions, libraries are the most advanced with regard to their digitization efforts. Especially, the German National Library, whose main mission is to collect, register, and make available all German works since 1913, has a special role to play here.
Together with library networks and other institutions, the German National Library is responsible for the standardization, integration, and maintenance of various authority files in the context of the “Gemeinsame Normdatei” (GND), which can be considered the lingua franca for metadata on German works. Based on rich data relations and interactive and graphical capabilities of modern browsers, new possibilities emerge for the visual exploration of comprehensive collections. However, so far most search interfaces lack any inviting access revealing the relationships among resources and entities.
In cooperation with users and developers of library databases, the visualization researchers working on this project examine the potential of visual interfaces for exploration of large data collections. The aim is to devise viable concepts for overview visualizations of entire collections and specific context visualizations of individual resources. Users should be enabled to grasp the term and topic spaces of specific subject areas and across their boundaries. Particular attention is paid to the integration of search and visualization as well as the development of attractive entry points to support thematic search queries.