International Workshop in conjunction with DL2014, 11-12 September 2014 in London

Exploring Cultural Collections with Visualization

With the progressing digitization of cultural artifacts, there is a growing interest in exploring collections with other means than traditional search interfaces. This workshop brings researchers and practitioners together from art, design, humanities and science to explore the space between information visualization and exploration of digital collections.

On the one hand, cultural institutions are experimenting with new visual interfaces to showcase their collections by visualizing artefacts along diverse dimensions; on the other hand humanities scholars are developing methods for digital scholarship using visualizations for literary analysis, cultural analytics, and digital archaeology. These developments are creating new opportunities for rethinking the way with which digital collections are displayed, analyzed, and explored. While domain-specific considerations may differ substantially when designing interfaces for library catalogues, historical archives, or personal collections, there are recurring themes and challenges that touch on many key aspects of digital libraries, including information seeking, user experience, interaction design, and increasingly information visualization.

Goals and Outcomes

During the workshop we will take stock of current developments in visualizing cultural collections and foster discussion on open research challenges and future directions for this emerging field of practice. We plan to discuss the following aspects, but encourage discussions on related topics.

Information seeking and discovery
Visual interfaces are geared towards more exploratory activities in contrast to goal-oriented search. How can exploratory approaches be complementary to or extensions of search? What is the place for search in exploration?

Design decisions and emerging conventions
With a growing number of visual interfaces for collections, we are interested in capturing participants’ views on the recurring and diverging design decisions for the digital display and interaction with artefacts. Building a taxonomy of these design decisions and conventions can improve understanding of this research area.

Collection and artefacts
When visualizing digital collections, there are two main vantage points: an entire collection and the individual artefact. How do these perspectives come together when designing for particularly large collections?

Visualization for exploration
Visualization research largely focused on analysts. What are key factors to take into account when using visualization to explore cultural collections? What are strategies to enable visual exploration for the masses?

As visualization is introduced to support exploration in diverse application areas, how can we evaluate how successful these visual interfaces are? Related questions deal with the study of effectiveness, usefulness and engagement of such interfaces for exploring digital collections.

Keynote Speakers

Workshop Plan

This workshop will run for 1.5 days and is targeted for 20-30 participants. We are inviting researchers and practitioners from art, design, humanities, and science that are actively engaged with the visual exploration of digital collections. Workshop participants will either submit a research or position paper (4 pages) or a poster abstract (2 pages) to share their experiences with visual interfaces for digital collections, in particular with regard to the topics we have outlined above. Participants will be asked to prepare 10-minute presentations of their papers, or a poster for presentation during the workshop. Accepted submissions will be made available for attendees to get to know each other’s work beforehand.

The workshop will then consist of invited and submitted talks, poster presentations, breakout group discussions, and (if possible) a social event in the evening.

After the workshop is over, presented papers and posters will be archived, together with documentation of the workshop and dinner party. Depending on interest among workshop participants, we will start planning for a workshop report or special issue.


We invite two types of submissions related to the workshop's topics: papers and posters.
Papers should not exceed 4 pages and poster abstracts should not exceed 2 pages.
Both types of submissions should be formatted in the ACM SIG Proceedings style.
Please send in your submission via the EasyChair system.

Accepted submissions will be published on this website and on the conference USB stick.

All workshop participants are encouraged to share research in progress in the form of interactive demos, paper sketches or blue-sky ideas to discuss and develop with other participants.

Workshop participants need to register through the DL2014 website.

Important Dates

21 July, 2014 – Paper and poster submission due

4 August, 2014 – Notification of acceptance

11-12 Sept., 2014 – Workshop at DL2014 in London


Marian Dörk (@nrchtct), Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Mitchell Whitelaw (@mtchl), University of Canberra, Australia
Steven M. Drucker, Microsoft Research, USA
Florian Kräutli (@fkraeutli), Royal College of Art, London, UK

If you have any questions, please email the organizers.

Programme Committee


The Centre for Creative and Cultural Research (CCCR) at University of Canberra information+visualization at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences

Header Images

Photos: Archives by Marino González, The Wet Collections by peterned, Untitled by angela larose.

Screenshots: Australian Prints Bohemian Bookshelf Fluid Views Manly Images Selfiecity Phototrails.