MAT 259 - 2009W

Josh Dickinson | "Culture Map"


Using circulation data from the Seattle Public Library, I created an interactive map of the 11 most frequently referenced countries and the words most often associated with each from January - December 2010. I did this by collecting the first three subject headings for every item circulated with a title referencing a country in either noun or adjective form (for example, "china" or "chinese"). This created a large text file which I simply parsed in terms of word frequency.

The result reveals interesting patterns: "war" was the word most often associated with Germany, "cooking" and "food" were important categories for every country except England and Ireland (proving the fact that no one likes British food), "women" was one of the most words most associated with France, etc.

To add another level of cultural information, I also included a function that dynamically searches Google Images for each of these word pairs (e.g. "Italian Food") as the user explores the data. Conceptually, I feel like it's an interesting way of showing a pop-cultural interpretation of what makes countries/cultures unique.

Technically speaking, data manipulation and filtering was done through MySQL in conjunction with some fancy BASH scripts, and all of the visualization was done in Processing. Google Images were pulled without actually using the Google API, because of which the application is unable to connect while embedded on a webpage. If you want to see the "real" version including images, just download the code and run it on your machine. Also, there's a chance Google will change its formatting in the future, in which case my code probably won't work right, but I'm sure I'll have a new solution by then, so if you're interested in pulling images for your own project and you'd like some help, drop me a line: jdd2114 { AT&T }

This project was realized using Processing.

source code


Source code: cultureMap Fetcher Google TheItem TheMapModel

Built with Processing