Showcasing Dana-Farber’s growing online collection of publications and papers, the Research Explorer dramatically illustrates the breadth and interconnectedness of the institute’s textual corpus across twenty screens suspended on the street- facing wall in the main lobby of the institute’s research building.
Against the backdrop of a gently undulating typographical “sea” representing DFCI’s expansive body of knowledge, the Research Explorer selects and presents short excerpts of the institute’s publications. Once an excerpt is displayed, the Research Explorer visibly analyzes the text, identifies important words, and correlates these words across other articles as well as researcher biographies, related imagery, and glossary terms.
In front of the display, along the windows, there are six iPads, mounted in pairs on three tables. These iPads display a smaller version of the visualization on the wall screens. They are attached with an articulated arm, allowing visitors to pull the devices away from the surface of the table and into a position of interaction. A curious visitor can read the full versions of any of the article excerpts presented on the iPad screen by tapping them. The large display subtly reflects the explorations of the iPad user in two ways: by increasing the likelihood that an article being viewed on an iPad will appear on the large display and by interpreting the kinetic movement of the user’s scrolling through an article.