Using Combined Metadata Sources to Visualize a Small Library (OBL's English Language Books)

Peter Hook , Amanda Gantchev


Data from multiple knowledge organization systems are combined to provide a global overview of the content holdings of a small personal library. Subject headings and classification data are used to effectively map the combined book and topic space of the library. While harvested and manipulated by hand, the work reveals issues and potential solutions when using automated techniques to produce topic maps of much larger libraries. The small library visualized consists of the thirty-nine, digital, English language books found in the Osama Bin Laden (OBL) compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan upon his death. As this list of books has garnered considerable media attention, it is worth providing a visual overview of the subject content of these books—some of which is not readily apparent from the titles. Metadata from subject headings and classification numbers was combined to create book-subject maps. Tree maps of the classification data were also produced. The books contain 328 subject headings. In order to enhance the base map with meaningful thematic overlay, library holding count data was also harvested (and aggregated from duplicates). This additional data revealed the relative scarcity or popularity of individual books.

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