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Viewshare Meet JSON, JSON Meet Viewshare

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This is a guest post by Bill Amberg, a contract software developer and Camille Salas, an intern with the Library of Congress, who are both working on Viewshare. Trevor Owens also contributed to the post. 

We are pleased to announce a fifth option for importing data into Viewshare – JSON. Users now have the ability to import data files in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format that are available on the Web via a public URL. Cultural heritage institutions are increasingly sharing their data in JSON format to enhance discovery and scholarship for researchers and other users. Two recent blog posts (here and here) about Viewshare described the power of using linked open data for visualizations. The JSON import option serves to further make connections across data sources. For optimal Viewshare results, the new import feature works best with simple JSON data that has non-nested property values. Below are examples of data sets that work well in Viewshare. (Editor’s note: the Viewshare program was retired in 2018.)

Library Holdings

A Library of Congress search for Marie Curie formatted as a JSON URL returns multiple options for visualizations when uploaded in Viewshare.

Upload Display for JSON Import Option in Viewshare

After selecting and refining the data after import, the following table was created to show the title, description, location, and type of objects related to Marie Curie.

Table Display of Marie Curie at the Library of Congress


A second example is a view created with a Twitter API search for the most recent tweets from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). The table view created shows the message, the number of times the message was favorited, retweeted, and the source of the tweet.

@NDIIPP Tweets Table Display
@NDIIPP Tweets Table Display

Government Data

In addition to using library collections and twitter metadata, government data offers the ability to create interesting visualizations. This JSON feed URL from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was loaded into Viewshare and provides information about ultraviolet (UV) values for zip codes that could be used to create a scatter plot view.

Scatter Plot View of Library of Congress UV Values on April 15, 2013
Scatter Plot View of Library of Congress UV Values on April 15, 2013

We look forward to seeing many more examples of how JSON URLs will be used in Viewshare. If you know of any JSON data sets that could be used to create visualizations, let us know in the comments!

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