Lit is a tool for location-based literary research that enables users to explore books by locations contained in them on a multi-touch table. The system displays all the locations in any given book by little points on the map. Curved lines connect these to a scrollable ring, which represents the book.
Catalogues in today's libraries only offer a search that is based on "describing" metadata like title, author, publishing date and so on. In the future more and more books will be available as digital texts. This offers completely new possibilities in searching these texts for data. We believed that it could be very interesting especially for scientists to be able to have a different perspective on books by making the locations mentioned in a book searchable for the user. Since the topic of my Master Thesis I'm working on at the moment is about developing new search interfaces for libraries, I'm quite familiar already with library catalogues and other search interfaces. It was exciting to finally produce something after having researched for a long time.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
Our project is featured in the current issue of WEAVE magazine, a German magazine for interaction design.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
We had a hard time designing the lines in the prototype that connect locations on the map with the book object. We wanted them to appear in an aesthetically pleasing way while at the same time not cluttering the display, so they wouldn't be hard to differentiate from each other. It wasn't easy to find just the right amount of curvature. As it seemed to us, the right amount we could be satisfied with was only a tiny spot in a huge range of possibilities we had for designing the curves. Finally we built a little extra prototype, another processing sketch, to be able to play around with all different kinds of curvature that helped us to find the right kind of curve.