Visualizing Cultural Collections

At the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, »Visualizing Cultural Collections« is a cross-disciplinary research theme that started with the research project VIKUS (Visualisierung kultureller Sammlungen) in 2014-2017. The aim of this research has been to study new forms of graphical user interfaces to support the exploration of digital cultural heritage. Researchers and students from various fields such as interface design, informatics, media studies and cultural management have been conceiving, prototyping and evaluating novel visualization techniques that are aimed at enabling interactive examination of cultural objects.

Interactive Demos

Visual exploration of two museum collections

Visual exploration of two collections

Christopher Pietsch, Viktoria Brüggemann, Mark-Jan Bludau, Marian Dörk

This experimental visualization provides access to a selection of objects from two collections of the Berlin State Museums (SMB/SPK) juxtaposing fine art paintings with everyday artifacts.

Close-Up Cloud

Close-Up Cloud

Pauline Junginger, Dennis Ostendorf, Anastasia Voloshina, Barbara Avila Vissirini, Timo Hausmann, Christopher Pietsch, Sarah Kreiseler, Marian Dörk

A visualization of glass negatives that challenges the understanding of overview and detail as something inherently opposed.

Fontane's Reading Traces

Fontane's Reading Traces

Mark-Jan Bludau, Viktoria Brüggemann, Marian Dörk

A scalable visualization of Fontane’s marginalia and markings in his personal reference library—from the level of authors to books and individual pages. The prototype was created during a research collaboration with the Theodor Fontane Archive.

VIKUS Viewer

VIKUS Viewer

Christopher Pietsch

An advanced web-based visualization system that arranges thousands of cultural artifacts on a dynamic canvas and supports the exploration of thematic and temporal patterns of large collections, while providing rapid access to high-resolution imagery.

Coins

Coins

Flavio Gortana, Franziska von Tenspolde, Daniela Guhlmann

Dynamic arrangements of a comprehensive numismatic collection provided by the Berliner Münzkabinett blur the boundary between the physical display of coins and the representation of abstract data patterns.

Hausmann

Hausmann

Mark-Jan Bludau

In contrast to high-level overviews from a distance, this interface features perspective-dependent visualizations that arrange the Hausmann collection of the Berlinische Galerie along their rich relationships with artefacts and artists.

Past Visions

Past Visions

Katrin Glinka, Christopher Pietsch, Marian Dörk

A collection of historical drawings by Frederick William IV is visualized in a thematic and temporal arrangement. The interface highlights general trends in the overall collection and gives access to rich details of individual items.

DNBVIS

DNBVIS

Johannes Herseni, Katja Dittrich, Fidel Thomet, Marian Dörk

A cooperative research project with the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) studies the potential of visualizations of a comprehensive bibliographic collection for exploratory search.

GEI-Digital

GEI-Digital

Christopher Pietsch, Gabriel Credico, Marian Dörk

This data dossier provides multi-faceted perspectives on GEI-Digital, a digital library of historical schoolbooks created and maintained by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research.

DDB Visualized

DDB Visualized

Christopher Pietsch, Gabriel Credico, Christian Bernhardt

Four interactive visualizations make the vast extent of the German Digital Library visible and explorable. Periods, places and persons are three of the categories, while keywords provide links to browsable pages of the library itself.

Course projects

Below is an overview of research projects that were carried out by student teams in the project course »Visualizing cultural collections« taught at FH Potsdam since 2014. Students with different disciplinary backgrounds including design, media studies, information science, and cultural management analyzed existing interfaces and developed new approaches for different case studies in collaboration with a broad range of cultural institutions.

2020

Lecturers Viktoria Brüggemann & Mark-Jan Bludau

Guests Marian Dörk, Michael Annoff, Anne Quirynen, Eva Mayr, Florian Windhager, Olivia Vane


Conchylia Collection

Conchylia

Salma Selim, Nina Zeisler — Leopoldina Centre for Science Studies

A graphical interpretation of a historical collection of conchylia, which are reconstructed from a historical register because the original collection is lost. The visual interface allows exploration via three modes: authors, map of origin, and conchylia pattern exploration. Additionally, it's possible to 'create your own collection'.

Feist's Color Slides

Feist's color slides

Myriam Hofmaier, Maryna Honcharenko, Giacomo Marinsalta, Leon Wolff — IKB – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Visualization project on the color-slide collection of Peter H. Feist. It allows the user to visit the collection over two layers: A cloud-immersive visualization with filter possibilities based on time, location, and color analysis and a detailed screen, reproducing the typical slide show of projected slides.

Nietzsche

Nietzsche iconography and cult

Corinna Allwang — Klassik Stiftung Weimar/Forschungsverbund MWW

The interface visualy combines timeline and network elements to make the collection and Nietzsches way towards a cult figure digitally explorable. The general objective is to add cross-media references and to digitally map them in order to generate new opportunities for research.

Piano Rolls

Piano rolls

Maoqi Liu, Henning Oskamp, Yan Peng — Deutsches Museum

Piano rolls are a medium that can be loaded in a specially prepared player piano that can play piano-performances stored on the roll. This interface combines exploration in filterable geographic- and time-based visualization, with a manipulatable player-visualization that shows the mechanics and sound of the medium.

2017/18

Lecturer Marian Dörk

Guests Sarah Kreiseler, Adelheid Heftberger and Michael Annoff


Book people portraits 1

Book people portraits 1

Hannah Schwan, Charlene Faustin, Marie Dietze, Sophie Warmbrunn — DBSM/DNB

A portrait collection of historic people involved in publishing and printing is made available in three modes of engagement: playful exploration of the collection, analytical overview of its main dimensions, and participatory curation of personal topics.

Book people portraits 2

Book people portraits 2

Sofia Saprykina, Ronja Tammenpää, Timo Hausmann — DBSM/DNB

A visual analysis of the portraits of booksellers, publishers and printers examines the development over the span of 400 years. The interface features a temporal overview and multiple sub-collections for specific topics.

CES-AR Map

CES-AR Map

Nikita Jerschov, Leena Megumi Tsuchiya, Daura Polonskytė — Hush city

This visualization represents city sounds in an augmented reality (AR) environment, which allows for a continuous emotional sound walk from one sound to the next.

Wilhelm Weimar's Glass Negatives

Wilhelm Weimar's Glass Negatives

Pauline Junginger, Sofia Fantuzzi, Dennis Ostendorf, Anastasia Voloshina, Barbara Avila — MKG Hamburg

This interface concept designed for glass negatives of arts & crafts objects proposes a new approach to represent photographic collections in a way that blends high-level overviews with detailed close-ups.

Fontane’s Reference Library

Fontane’s Reference Library

Mohamed Saleh, Nicolò Davide Fricano, Felix Harle, Sarah Rettig — Theodor Fontane Archive

This visual interface for searching through the reference library of Theodor Fontane offers three distinct views of the book collection and the author's traces with varying granularity.

2016/17

Lecturer Marian Dörk

Guests Katrin Glinka, Stephanie Neumann, Jan Distelmeyer and Nicola Lepp


Coin cabinet

Coin cabinet

Daniela Guhlmann, Flavio Gortana, Franziska von Tenspolde — Münzkabinett Berlin

How can a vast collection of small objects like coins be visualized? This project brings coins alive in a very tangible way to gain an overview. Users can explore a small amount of the overall collection and learn new insights through sorting it.

Mapping Paris

Mapping Paris

Lars Kreuzmann, Sabine Lehm, Krista Nupponen, Carmen Schwietzer — DFK Paris

During the French Revolution, a lot of artworks in Paris were decontextualized. The project aims at reconstructing a historical urban landscape of the city as well as using the power of crowdsourcing to obtain a bigger picture of the movement of artworks.

Oaxacan Pottery

Oaxacan Pottery

Jose Ernesto Rodriguez, Liqiong Wang, Andrea Wieloch — innovando la tradición

Envisioning a personal collection of tangible objects and their intangible meanings through pottery from Oaxaca/Mexico. The prototype also enables illiterates to use the collection through a mainly visual approach.

Sound Maps

Sound Maps

Stephane Flesch, Anne-Sophie Gutsche, Daniel Paschen — Firenze Sound Map

This project deals with a collective collection of the Florentine soundscape. Through an immersive 3D-environment, the collected material is not only browseable but users also get the ability to upload new material and to compare and rate the sound clips.

2015/16

Lecturer Marian Dörk

Guests Katrin Glinka, Stephanie Neumann, Sandra Rendgen, Anne Quirynen, Hermann Voesgen and Steffen Laue


Porcelain collection

East Asian porcelain collection

Mark-Jan Bludau, Constantin Eichstaedt, Jana Klausberger, Swann Nowak — SPSG

The interface features a Prussian porcelain collection with east-asian porcelain and combines a narrative and an exploratory approach in order to share knowledge and yet keep a playful mind.

Documentaries

Documentaries

I Hong Cheng, Dan Bauernfreund — Documentary Heaven

How do scenario time and production time relate in documentary movies? This project visualizes the interrelation and thus shows an overview over recurring themes and different interest in themes over time.

Intangible heritage

Intangible heritage

Endi Tupja, Phong Cao, Max Tillich, Kevin Zellner — UNESCO

In all cultures, there are practices, rituals and cultural objects, that belong to the intangible heritage. This project considers how the intangible cultural heritage that has so far been defined can be enclosed in a digital collection to build a virtual environment.

Mosaic Syria

Mosaic Syria

Ariane Marilyn Ecker, Magda Lammert, Carolin Keller, Oliver Mohr, Steffen Gabel — Syrian Heritage Archive Project

The visualization of a database about sights and monuments in Syria aims to ensure that Syrian cultural heritage is not forgotten. Thanks to the digitisation of databases, it may act as a basis for any prospective reconstruction.

User as Curator

User as Curator

Florian de Beus, Susann Massute, Jens Rauenbusch, Lisa Steingräber — V&A

How can user involvement be brought into the cultural field? With the possibilities of digital collections, the established relationship between curators and visitors can be overcome. Through a prototype, both amateur and expert users can process digitalised artworks from the Victoria and Albert Museum London.

2014/15

Lecturer Marian Dörk

Guests Katrin Glinka, Stephanie Neumann, Florian Kräutli, Hans-Christoph Hobohm, Hermann Voesgen and Frank Heidmann


Berliner Klassik

Berliner Klassik

Sebastian Schuth, Tatjana Tšernõhh, Andreas Waleczek, Alexander Zöller — BBAW

Visualizing the lives and contemporaries of Berlin's intellectuals around 1800. In a macro perspective, all persons and basic connections can be seen, while zooming enables the visitor to follow one individual and its relationships and works.

Collections of the SPSG

Collections of the SPSG

Christoph Eichler, Natalie Lepach, Oxana Baerbach, Vitan Vitanov — SPSG

A visualization of the various collections of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg. Once a castle is selected from the map, the user can explore its artworks and surrounding landscape.

Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e

Cécile Zahorka, Jennifer Hicks, Patrizia Turkowski, Sandra Balck — ukiyo-e.org

This project rethinks a search-oriented database that collects Japanese woodblock prints from all over the world. A general overview as well as focus points aim at reaching both casual and professional visitors.

Reverse Wireframing

Reverse Wireframing

Viktoria Brüggemann, Sarah Kreiseler

This project aimed at researching an actual state of digital collections of museums. It utilized a new method called reverse wireframing to analyze the content and function of existing digital collections.

Publications

The Close-up Cloud: Visualizing Details of Image Collections in Dynamic Overviews

Pauline Junginger, Dennis Ostendorf, Barbara Avila Vissirini, Anastasia Voloshina, Timo Hausmann, Sarah Kreiseler, Marian Dörk
International Journal for Digital Art History, no. 5, 6.2-6.13, Dec 2020


Zwischen Distanz und Nähe. Formen der Betrachtung und Bewegung in (digitalen) Sammlungen

Viktoria Brüggemann, Mark-Jan Bludau, Marian Dörk
Das digitale Objekt – Zwischen Depot und Internet, Seiten 115-123, Deutsches Museum Studies, Band 7, Okt 2020


Reading Traces: Scalable Exploration in Elastic Visualizations of Cultural Heritage Data

Mark-Jan Bludau, Viktoria Brüggemann, Anna Busch, Marian Dörk
Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. EuroVis). 39(3), 2020


Close-Up Cloud: Gaining A Sense Of Overview From Many Details

Pauline Junginger, Dennis Ostendorf, Barbara Avila Vissirini, Anastasia Voloshina, Sarah Kreiseler, Marian Dörk
DH 2019 Utrecht – Complexities, July 2019


Relational Perspectives as Situated Visualizations of Art Collections

Mark-Jan Bludau, Marian Dörk, Frank Heidmann
DH 2019 Utrecht – Complexities, July 2019


Scalable Exploration. Prototype Study For The Visualization Of An Author’s Library On The Example Of 'Theodor Fontane’s Library'

Anna Busch, Mark-Jan Bludau, Viktoria Brüggemann, Kristina Genzel, Sabine Seifert, Peer Trilcke
DH 2019 Utrecht – Complexities, July 2019


Off the Grid: Visualizing a Numismatic Collection as Dynamic Piles and Streams

Flavio Gortana, Franziska von Tenspolde, Daniela Guhlmann, Marian Dörk
Open Library of Humanities (Remaking Collections), 4(2), Oct 2018


Zwischen Repräsentation und Rezeption – Visualisierung als Facette von Analyse und Argumentation in der Kunstgeschichte

Katrin Glinka, Marian Dörk
Computing Art Reader. Einführung in die digitale Kunstgeschichte. arthistoricum.net, 2018


Visualization of Cultural Heritage Collection Data: State of the Art and Future Challenges

Florian Windhager, Paolo Federico, Günther Schreder, Katrin Glinka, Marian Dörk, Silvia Miksch, Eva Mayr
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 2018


Der Sammlung gerecht werden: Kritisch-generative Methoden zur Konzeption experimenteller Visualisierungen

Marian Dörk, Katrin Glinka
Konferenzband zur DHd 2018 Köln - Kritik der digitalen Vernunft 2018


Zur Weiterentwicklung des “cognition support”: Sammlungsvisualisierungen als Austragungsort kritisch-kulturwissenschaftlicher Forschung

Florian Windhager, Katrin Glinka, Eva Mayr, Günther Schreder, Marian Dörk
Konferenzband zur DHd 2018 Köln - Kritik der digitalen Vernunft 2018


One view is not enough: High-level visualizations of a large cultural collection

Marian Dörk, Christopher Pietsch, Gabriel Credico
Information Design Journal. 23:1, July 2017


Memory Dialogue: Exploring Artefact-Based Memory Sharing

Stefanie Neumann, Marian Dörk, Richard Banks
alt.chi 2017: Extended Abstracts of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, May 2017


Tracing exploratory modes in digital collections of museum websites using reverse information architecture

Sarah Kreiseler, Viktoria Brüggemann, Marian Dörk
First Monday, 22:4 2017


Past Visions and reconciling views: Visualizing time, texture and themes in cultural collections

Katrin Glinka, Christopher Pietsch, Marian Dörk
DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. 11:2 2017


Von sammlungsspezifischen Visualisierungen zu nachnutzbaren Werkzeugen

Katrin Glinka, Christopher Pietsch, Marian Dörk
Konferenzband zur DHd 2017 Bern - Digitale Nachhaltigkeit 2017


Museale Bestände im Web: Eine Untersuchung von acht digitalen Sammlungen

Viktoria Brüggemann, Sarah Kreiseler, Marian Dörk
Konferenzband zur 23. Berliner Veranstaltung der internationalen EVA-Serie: Electronic Media and Visual Arts 2016


Linking Structure, Texture and Context in a Visualization of Historical Drawings by Frederick William IV (1795-1861)

Katrin Glinka, Christopher Piesch, Carsten Dilba, Marian Dörk
International Journal for Digital Art History; No 2 2016


Museum im Display. Visualisierung Kultureller Sammlungen

Katrin Glinka, Marian Dörk
Konferenzband zur 22. Berliner Veranstaltung der internationalen EVA-Serie: Electronic Media and Visual Arts 2015


Visualising the »Un-seen«: Towards Critical Approaches and Strategies of Inclusion in Digital Cultural Heritage Interfaces

Katrin Glinka, Sebastian Maier, Marian Dörk
KuI (Kultur und Informatik) Cross Media. Busch et al. (Hrsg.) Berlin 2015


Visualisierung Kultureller Sammlungen

Marian Dörk
Poster at 3rd Einstein-Zirkel Digital Humanities Workshop, Berlin 2014