Cohort Profiles

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NC State University Libraries

NC State was founded with a purpose: to create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and the country. The school is a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels in science, technology, engineering, math, design, the humanities and social sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine. The NC State University Libraries collections reflect the historic strengths of the University as well as its vision for the future. The James B. Hunt Jr. Library, opened in 2013 earned the Libraries an international reputation for intense and sustained focus on how students learn and how faculty create and share knowledge in an age of digital technology and collaboration.

Between their two main buildings, the Libraries' visualization facilities include:

  • 4 Christie MicroTiles video walls integrated into public spaces
  • The Teaching & Visualization Lab, a black-box room that offers 270-degree immersive projection for a total of 94 linear feet of high-definition display surface
  • A Game Lab to support the scholarly study of digital games with a 20.3’ X 5’ Christie MicroTiles® touch-interactive display
  • The Creativity Studio, a highly configurable white-box room with high-definition projectors and moveable walls with dry-erase whiteboard surfaces
  • A Visualization Studio with 12 projectors to display the contents of a single computer 360-degrees across four walls     

NC State University Libraries is the lead institution on the “Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces” grant. In addition to leading a multi-institutional effort to increase the impact of academic visualization environments and the scholarship created within them, as part of the grant, the libraries will host a creative residency program to create open source, data-driven art and visualizations.

Brown University Library

In 2012, the Brown University Library opened its “Digital Scholarship Lab,” featuring two portable 55-inch monitors and a 7 by 16 foot display wall on which up to 12 simultaneous video sources can be displayed in a variety of configurations. This hardware offered great potential, but lacked a general-purpose software framework for easily developing and delivering wall-ready content. 

For the last four years, Brown library has been developing such a content delivery and interaction framework, dubbed Glider, that aims to address the most general needs for utilizing display walls with the simplest, most accessible approaches. 

This framework provides a modular, extensible toolkit for users with a broad range of technical expertise, content, and applications. The goal and emphasis of the framework is flexibility, extensibility, and ease of use, and offers the ability to: easily position elements within the geometry of the wall setup; assign timing to elements to allow for change over time; distribute and update content across arbitrary displays or sets of displays simultaneously; allow for remote user-to-wall control and other interactions. 

With the foundational functions outlined above, the framework allows for multiple use cases, including: interactive digital exhibits, with which viewers interact via a dedicated touch controller or cell phones; digitally enhanced collaborative classes, in which content and shared documents are pushed to students; participatory presentations, in which audiences receive supplemental materials as the lecture is delivered; digital repository viewing interfaces, in which users interactively select and display items on the display wall using their cell phone.

The Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces subaward allow the current prototype to be developed into a production-ready open source project with accompanying documentation. It will also fund outreach to institutions with high resolution displays and support pilot projects that use the framework.

Indiana University Bloomington

The Advanced Visualization Lab

The Advanced Visualization Lab, a unit of the Pervasive Technology Institute, is the main support unit for visualization-related activities at Indiana University. It seeks collaboration with faculty, staff, and students to deliver more engaging and impactful application of advanced visual technologies in research, education, creative activities, and community engagement. The Lab promotes, maintains, and provides open access to: several large-format, ultra-resolution displays; virtual and augmented reality enabled classrooms and labs; interactive table displays; 3D object digitization and media capture devices; and software applications and workflows for all of these hardware resources.

The Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center is a research center within Indiana University’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. It has played a leading role in the field of data visualization, developing open-source tools for the creation of data visualizations, offering the IVMOOC, co-organizing international workshops and conferences, and promoting network science and visualization through international initiatives.

IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab, in collaboration with the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, was awarded a Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces subaward to develop the Multimedia Collectome: an open-source, easy-to-use, online system that allows users to create, share, and display collections of related multimedia objects on large-format, ultra-resolution displays. Objects will be chosen from existing online sources, including repositories, digital collections, social media sites, photo and video galleries, etc. The Collectome will build a community of practice through the sharing and presentation of scholarly, culturally significant, and timely multimedia collections.

University of California, Berkeley

Hearst Museum, Research IT

Visualizing Digital Scholarship at UC Berkeley: Communities, Content, and Services

UC Berkeley has recently embraced visualization in the classroom, in research, and for public engagement. A growing community is using photogrammetry to develop 3D visualizations of objects and places, both as digital documentation and to answer new questions inextricably linked to materiality. In partnership with the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, researchers have taken advantage of the HearstCAVE, a large visualization wall installed in the museum, to display objects from their research, embedded in an immersive environment, as a compelling approach to public engagement. Research IT and the Hearst Museum have developed and trained a student team to work with museum staff to digitize objects that reflect the breadth of the collection. In the Immersive Scholar project, UC Berkeley will build on this foundation by bringing together a broader campus coalition including the library and other campus museums to develop a coordinated community and digitization program that demonstrates and realizes the potential impact of a campus-wide effort. In addition, we will contribute tools and workflows for generating, displaying and preserving 3D visualizations.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Grainger Engineering Library Information Center

In 2015, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library remodeled approximately 9,000 square feet of space in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (GELIC) to create theGrainger Engineering Library IDEA (Innovation, Discovery, DEsign, and DAta) Laboratory, The key IDEA Lab visualization components are: a 13.5’ by 7.5’ visualization wall comprised of a 4x4 array of 46” monitors with an aggregate 7680 x 4320 (33 million pixels) high-definition display at a true 8K; a smaller 2x2 wall comprised of four 55” monitors that also operates at 8K; two informatics laboratories with a total of 10 movable 58” or 65” large screen monitors with attached workstations; two presentation areas with paired 84” monitors; and a Virtual and Augmented Reality Room with HTC VIVE, Oculus, and HoloLens systems.

This proposed project will focus on the development of portable and extensible software tools, learning objects, and templates that can be applied in large-scale library visualization environments to support instruction and research. These open tools, templates, and processes will be developed in collaboration with user groups at Illinois and at other library digital scholarship centers. This project will extend on the development work already completed at Illinois and derive best practices and collaborative frameworks that can be tailored to the needs of individual institutions and shared across institutions. The resulting suite of software applications will support digital scholarship activities, design learning projects, and data analysis applications. Project software will be adaptable to other institutions and scalable to different size walls and immersive environments.

Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries currently boasts a collection of visualization environments consisting of the Cabell Big Screen, a 24’H x 19’W Mediamesh LED display on the outside wall of the library above the main entrance; a lecture/event hall with a large media wall consisting of a 5x5 grid of 55” LED displays and a smaller 2x2 grid; and a 98” ultra-HD (4K) multitouch LCD display.  That last display is found in The Workshop, the library’s multimedia center and makerspace where users can also get access to GIS and data visualization software including ArcGIS and Tableau.  

The staff of the library’s Innovative Media department is in the early stages of expanding and formalizing the visualization services offered at The Workshop, and VCU’s contribution to the Immersive Scholar project and community will consist of a suite of tools for institutions to use who find themselves ready to take that next step into formalizing spaces and services: a best-practices document to assist in performing local needs assessments for visualization services; a similar best-practices document for those conducting external site visits; a detailed database of visualization environments at libraries and other institutions; and a collection of relevant literature—practices at universities and museums, product reviews, research findings, etc.—to provide useful information to those seeking to understand the state of the field.  A cohort of individuals connected to existing immersive visualization environments reflecting a range of sizes, technologies, and service maturity will assist in the development of the framework.