Visualizations can add value to raw library data. Tools that programmatically make such visualizations interactive can further increase the value of this data, by giving librarians visual tools to analyze their data sets. To demonstrate these benefits, Kingsborough Community College Library built SeeCollections (http://b7jl.org/seecollections), a web application that visualizes our libraries’ collections of books and ebooks.
This article discusses the how SeeCollections gathers data from Kingsborough’s discovery layer API (Application Programming Interface), and transforms this data to create visualizations for the web. SeeCollections is a lightweight, proof-of-concept data application based on a vendor API. API data is often accessible in academic libraries, but is frequently underutilized. SeeCollections was built to demonstrate the immediate value of these API data sources to Kingsborough librarians, by providing a visual interface to discovery layer data. Keeping in mind the broader literature on data visualization, this article will explore how SeeCollections was built.