Exploring library loan data for modelling the reading culture: Project libDat

Mats Neovius, Kati Launis, Olli Nurmi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a proceedings journalScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Reading is evidently a part of the cultural heritage. With respect to nourishing this, Finland is exceptional in the sense that it has a unique library system, used regularly by 80% of the population. The Finnish library system is publicly funded and free-of-charge. On this, the consortium "LibDat: Towards a More Advanced Loaning and Reading Culture and its Information Service" (2017-2021, Academy of Finland) sets out to explore the loaning and reading culture and its information service to the end that this project's results would help officials to elaborate upon Finnish public library services. The project, as well as the data-Analysis, has just started, so the paper contains more hypotheses than final results. The project is part of the constantly growing field of Digital Humanities, and its most important scientific benefit is to show how large "born digital " material, new computational methods and literary-sociological research questions can be integrated into the study of contemporary literary culture. The project's collaborator, Vantaa City Library, has collected daily loan data since July 27, 2016. This loan data is objective, crisp, and big. In this position paper, the main contribution is a discussion on the limitations that the data poses and the literary questions that may be explored by computational means. For this, we describe the data structure of a loan event and outline the dimensions of how to interpret the data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)386-393
    JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    Event3rd Conference on Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries, DHN 2018 - Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 7 Mar 20189 Mar 2018


    • Finnish loaning and reading habits
    • Library loan data
    • Sociology of literature


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