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Babel: A data browser by Simon Biggs

This Website is a site-specific work of art commissioned by a group of UK libraries, Focal Point Gallery, and the Arts Council of England. The work takes as its jumping off place the vision of libraries as information spaces organized by a "taxonomy of knowledge." Simon Biggs uses a common classification tool, the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC), to confront the viewer with a 3D visualization of an abstract data space mapped as arrays and grids. Anyone familiar with the DDC will quickly begin pondering the subjects represented by the numbers and URLs as they ebb, flow, and overlap in a hypnotic rhythm. Each URL is linked, and viewers are encouraged to explore by creating a personal path to knowledge through this work of art. Babel is part of a growing body of contemporary artistic work concerned with the information organization necessary to render any collection of data useable, a need clearly expressed by users of today's World Wide Web. This is fun indeed for those interested in contemporary art and/or for information professionals. A useful essay by Walker Art Center curator Steve Dietz accompanies the work. The Website does require Shockwave, which is not supported by Netscape 6.0.
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Date Issued c2001
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2001-08-10
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2001/0810

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