Pulse is a module in the Welcome Center in the Johnson Building of the Boston Public Library that visualizes data about activity in the library and its branches in near real-time.
Each event is represented by an icon that moves across the screen from its origin at a box representing a part of the library. When taken together, the movement of these points—checkouts and check-ins, fines, acquisitions, website visits, social media posts, programs such as classes held by the library, and more—reveal the amount and patterns of activity in the library at a given time.
Visitors can stand in front of it and watch the events pulse by, or scrub backward in time and see how the pattern of events changes throughout the day, from early-morning auto-renewals to the flurry of circulation activity at closing. Whether in the past or in the current moment, they can freeze the whole thing and see the details of each of the events.