Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Practical Applications of 2D and 3D Information Visualization for Information Organizations

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Practical Applications of 2D and 3D Information Visualization for Information Organizations

Article excerpt

Chapter 2 presented a sample of the vast resources available in 2D and 3D information visualization. Librarians also need to examine the practical applications of information visualization. They need to begin the process of exploring, experimenting, and eventually offering up their information to their users in 2D or 3D.

Almost any type of data, whether financial, statistical, desktop, or scientific, just to name a few, can benefit from 2D or 3D presentation. Here is a quick list: (1)

Networks:            Electronic circuits, organizational
                     relationships, computer systems,
                     telecommunications

Classifications:     Desktop data directories, tables of contents,
                     genealogical information, library collections,
                     thesauri and subject headings, animal species

Histories:           Financial information (stocks, economic trends),
                     medical patient histories, sales and employment,
                     project management

Complex documents:   Annual reports, library collections and
                     inventories, contents of information containers
                     (book, video, audio, multimedia, and so on)

Personal services:   MyInfo online (travel, news, favorite websites,
                     and so on), computer desktop, hard disk file
                     folders

Digital libraries:   Presentation and navigation of multiple sources
                     and collections of information, which users can
                     then manipulate, search, and view any way they
                     wish

Statistical data:    Drug and chemical attributes, sales, financial,
                     census, demographic, labor, economic

Information visualization stresses three goals: discovery, decision making, and exploration. (2) In this spirit information organizations should begin to explore offering their content/information to their users in 2D and 3D.

Economics of exploring 2D and 3D applications

2D and 3D applications in information visualization are great because many of them can be explored and experimented with by one person. This person usually does not have to have extensive technical experience, although downloading and opening many of these open-source and trial packages can be tricky. Having some technical expertise is helpful; however, having a systems person or systems department in your organization to assist and troubleshoot problems and questions is even better.

To start experimenting with these technologies, the user needs only have access to a personal computer, albeit one with extensive storage and byte capacity. This computer also should be state-of-the-art, as many 2D and 3D programs require not only storage and display capabilities, but also other programs such as Flash, Realplayer, and other Web plug-ins and programs to be downloaded.

If this computer can be set aside in some type of separate secured room, in which more than one person can be allowed to have access to play with and experiment with these programs, that situation is even better.

Sometimes, however, only one person and one computer is needed to begin the process, and if all that an information organization has is yourself and your current computer, then at least you have the basics needed to begin.

Some information organizations may have a department that focuses on Web, digitization, or digital projects. If so, contact the head of that department to see whether he or she has interest in exploring 2D and 3D information visualization software applications for the organization. This group of people usually has the latest equipment available, as well as the technical expertise necessary to explore and experiment in 2D and 3D technologies.

Whether one person alone or many people in a department begin the process of experimentation, try to identify a few of the 2D and 3D open-source and trial software versions to begin with. …

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