De Krook - An innovative library experience

In 2017, the library De Krook opened in the new building De Krook in Ghent. De Krook is an initiative of Stad Gent, Ghent University and imec to melt entrepreneurship and innovation. It's the cultural place to be for every ghentian. A beacon of citizen participation and research. This inspiring spot in the heart of the city is the home for the new library. No doubt the Library De Krook is ready for the 21st century.

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The library De Krook and partner Digipolis were looking for a creative data application for the new library. That's why they launched the De Krook Visualization Contest. We sent our ideas for innovative data visualizations, and after an exciting contest, our proposal won. De Krook had a lot of confidence in Bits of Love: in our strong expertise in data visualization and data storytelling, in our approach and clear process, and in our creativity.

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We dived into the borrower data of the books, and invented an innovative concept that is very different from the usual search applications in libraries. Visitors explore the app (integrated in the bookcases) like an interesting discovery through the books. With our technical expertise, an outstanding user experience was assured. The icing on the cake: the creative screensaver is a piece of digital art.

Bits of creative data lovers

The idea behind the app is to show the book collection in another light. Instead of searching by author or genre, we made a whole new discovery possible. It created a totally different experience. Every book is combined with the data of its borrower. Which non-fiction books do women between 30 and 35 read in winter? Did you know that James Joyce's 'Ulysses' gets borrowed mostly by men in their twenties in autumn? Another search, another discovery.

We also used our creativity for the screensaver. The faces of 5 important authors are generated by sentences in their books. Word and image meet in this digital art.

Bits of technical expertise

We handled technical challenges. Like working with about 200.000 books and their borrowing data from the last decade. To ensure the best user experience, we developed our own super fast API. Availability of all books is shown real-time. When a user chooses a filter, the other filters adjust in no time. The search results - the book covers - load fast as the past, and you can keep scrolling through the covers. There is no time for ad hoc calculations. Everything is prepared. The user does not have to wait for the data, the data waits for the user.

De Krook proudly presented the application on multiple events, like 'Generation Code'. At this event in the European Parliament, different countries showcase their new digital applications for libraries.

Carole Gheysen from De Krook calls it a unique application: "Ondanks onze moeilijke en niet afgelijnde opdracht, is de toepassing een zeer verfrissende en unieke applicatie geworden waar elke bezoeker zijn gading in kan vinden. Binnen het Vlaamse bibliotheeklandschap behoort het eveneens tot een innovatieve aanvulling op de huidige catalogus."

Our expertise
  • Interface design
  • Data analysis