Visualizing Cultural Collections

At the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, »Visualizing Cultural Collections« is a cross-disciplinary research theme that started with the reseach 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

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 by Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk 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.


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.

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.

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.

Porcelain collection

Porcelain collection

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

To show both a historical background of the Prussian porcelain collection as well as some royal glamour is the starting point of this project. A narrative strategy and an exploratory approach are developed to share knowledge and yet keep a playful mind.

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

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