State Library of South Australia Unstacked

Data visualisation / Unstacked - Curated by the People

Digital Real-time Stories Told by You

The State Library of South Australia has launched Unstacked, which is informed by real-time browsing and encourages curiosity and unexpected exploration of the library’s vast collection. Every time someone accesses an item online from the collection, no matter where they are, it appears in Unstacked and comes alive not only for that person but for everyone in a real-time visualisation curated by patrons.

With an average of 2,400 searches per day of the State Library’s catalogue, the digital exhibition is constantly evolving, reflecting trends in news, history and current affairs and inspiring users to look deeper into the library’s collection.

State Library of South Australia Director, Geoff Strempel said Unstacked is an entertaining and engaging experience that gives anyone a rich visual insight into the breadth and depth of the collection.


Unstacked represents the stories that make us, told by our users, and has created a completely unique and ever changing visual representation of our content, curated not by intention, but through spontaneity”, he said.

“It allows us to anonymously see what items are being searched for in the library’s catalogue at any given time and inspires others to unearth stories and share their own stories. It is essentially a window into the library’s collection through the eyes of those who use it.”


Coordinator Collection Development, Anthony Laube said Unstacked showcases not only how people are using the collection, but also the treasures it contains, from the weird to the wonderful.


“We have people using the collection for a range of purposes, from recreation to professional research. Users often explore their family history, looking for historical pictures of their home or suburb, and frequently researching significant moments in time.

“We see lots of users search for specific dates as they were reported in The Advertiser, such as the man on the moon front page, or the Queen’s Coronation. One of the quirkiest requests I’ve come across is a user who wanted to know if the department store John Martins was selling a wooden framed camel seat.” 


Unstacked Project Team

Adam Hinshaw – Co-creator and Developer