A small working group of library staff and others around campus including representatives from Westphal, CCI, IRT/Procurement, CoAS, Lindy Institute, Engineering, and the English Language Center, developed a plan to create a data visualization zone within the WW Hagerty Bookmark Café to support student exploration of data retrieval and visualization, principles of geographic information systems (GIS), and the use of gesture to manipulate images. The Zone is a place for students to explore this area of data literacy alone, in a group or with assistance and includes a large scale interactive display space to experiment with innovative technologies/media and data relationships, easy access to visual technologies and staff with relevant expertise. Students will experience learning in an environment without disciplinary boundaries and where they can take ownership of their own learning experience.
Highly visible within the Café space, the Zone provides a place for students from any discipline to view sample data visualization projects, as well as visualize and interact with their own class or research data during hours the Library is open, deepening their data literacy skills. Students will be to use a new 80 inch flat panel monitor as well as gesture interaction capability through a Microsoft Kinect and Ubi interface via projector and screen installation. Students will be able to engage in data visualization through preinstalled statistical software and data sets as well as 3D and interactive mapping with GIS. For example, if Census data were stored in a spreadsheet or database, the data would be valuable, but would be difficult for the average user to understand or use in any meaningful way. Using GIS, the data can be displayed on a map, showcasing neighborhood demographics and presenting data in a very dynamic and engaging way.