Visualising European Newspapers for Digital Humanities researchers
This work was part of my PhD back in 2015-2016. Thanks to the eCloud project, funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme by the European Community (grant agreement no. 325091) and the ABLE project, funded under the Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships, of the European Union (grant agreement no. 2015-1-UK01-KA203-013767).
Through The European Library website, Digital Humanities researchers are now given access to 10 million European digitised newspaper pages. While the availability and accessibility of this rich material are a great addition to the researcher corpus, the large amount of data can make it hard to find the specifics a researcher is looking for. Therefore we developed a faceted search environment, an interactive visualisation that provides both an overview to allow researchers to find patterns in the data and gain insights across time and space, while also giving access to each individual newspaper image.
Created using Processing.js for the visualisations and Socket.IO for live communication with a Node.js server, any interaction with a single module updates all other modules, e.g. selecting a country adjusts the timeline to overlay the results of the selected country, selecting a specific time frame shows only the countries and newspapers that are relevant to that time selection. The whole application can run across multiple devices at the same time, enabling set-ups from a single tabletop device to multiple displays on mobile devices. All updates happen cross-device, wherever the devices are located.
Layouts can be adjusted depending on the devices. We had too much fun trying different devices and different approaches. I explored multi-device (tablets) vs single-device (large tabletop) user experience which was eventually presented at the EICS '16 conference and published in the Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems.