ALA Member
Item Number
ALA TechSource
8 12"

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

Since the 1990s, libraries have invested in developing digital collections and online services to provide access to historical sources. One way to inspire users to actively engage with these materials is by creating visual contexts for the materials. These visuals provide an overview of a collection’s content and inspire users to experiment with the collection’s data for various purposes, including research. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 57, no. 1) presents an approach that views digital collections as data that can be mined, analyzed, and visualized by means of the R programming language. R is open source, relatively easy to learn, and supported by an established community of coders. The selection of plots presented in the report includes R scripts, fragments of data tables, and some explanation of the R code used to create the plots.

Chapter 1—Visualization and Digital Collections 

  • Why Visualize a Digital Collection’s Data 
  • A Process for Getting to Know Data 
  • Acknowledgments 
  • Notes 

Chapter 2—Getting Started with R 

  • Installing R 
  • Introducing RStudio 
  • Installing RStudio 
  • Getting Familiar with RStudio IDE 
  • Learning R at DataCamp 
  • General Workflow of Visualization 
  • Essential R Packages for Visualizations 
  • Choosing Plot Types 
  • What to Visualize 
  • Notes 

Chapter 3—Visualizations of a Digital Collection’s Data 

  • About Clyde W. Tombaugh 
  • Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers Archival Collection 
  • Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers Digital Collection 
  • Selected Visualizations Created for the Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers
  • Digital Collection 
  • Notes 

Chapter 4—Conclusion and Resources 

  • Resources

Library Technology Reports

Published by ALA TechSource, Library Technology Reports helps librarians make informed decisions about technology products and projects. Library Technology Reports publishes eight issues annually and provides thorough overviews of current technology. Reports are authored by experts in the field and may address the application of technology to library services, offer evaluative descriptions of specific products or product classes, or cover emerging technology. Find out more information on this publication here.

Monika Glowacka-Musial

Monika Glowacka-Musial is a metadata librarian at New Mexico State University Library. She earned an MA in Polish literature and language from the University of Warsaw, Poland, a PhD in anthropology from Temple University, and an MA in library and information science from the University of Arizona. She also received a certificate in digital information management from the University of Arizona. One important aspect of her current position is exploring ways in which digital content can be enriched, shared, and engaged with creatively. She has taken several courses in coding, including Python and R, and she has found R especially manageable for noncoders and applicable to data visualization.