Artists in the Archives Week 2: Creating an Archive Vehicle

For this week’s assignment, we were tasked to build an “archive vehicle” for part of the Library of Congress, in order to make exploring the library slightly less daunting.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a vehicle that looked at audio recordings with the word “love” somewhere in the title. There were 890 results available online (though I didn’t have a chance to use all of them—see the end for explanation.)

For my data visualization, I created a “scatterplot” of red dots (keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme!). Hovering over the dots will display the name of the audio recording they represent, and clicking the dot will bring you to that page in on the Library’s website. I was inspired by the Library of Colors project, so this is a very low-fi version of it called Library Love Songs.

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Screengrab of Library Love Songs

Some things I struggled with/ would like to maybe tweak in future iterations:

  • I couldn’t get around the pagination issue. While I could increase the results given to me from 50 to 75, when I tried to break the URL into pieces and iterate through the different pages of results, I got repetitive errors and my sketch wouldn’t load. So, this is unfortunately only the first 75 results of the available “love songs” in the LOC.

  • I wanted to plot the dots as a function of their dates, but I am unfamiliar with charting software or anything that works in tandem with p5, so I didn’t know how to do that.

  • Some of the dots overlap; it would be good to have them in distinct locations

  • It would be cute to have hearts instead of dots. I’m going to keep working on this, actually, so it might be fixed before class.

Overall, it was fun using glitch for the first time and I look forward to building more “vehicles” as the course goes on.

You can see the code here.