Visualization of French Book Covers from the Liberation Collection (1944-1946) at Cambridge University Library


  • Irene Fabry-Tehranchi Cambridge University Library, UK
  • Wooseob Jeong Emporia State University, Kansas, USA


ImagePlot is a software that analyzes the brightness, hue, and saturation of each image in a data set, and uses it as a basis for the visualization of a whole book collection as an organized display. In this paper, we examine what insights it can give into Cambridge University Library Liberation Collection’s digitized book covers. This collection consists of more than 3000 books and pamphlets in French on the Second World War, the Occupation of France, and the Liberation, published between August 1944 and the end of 1946. This article discusses some of the findings and research questions resulting from the use of ImagePlot on this specific set of digitized historical book covers provided with rich metadata. The visualization of the ‘brightness’ of covers from groups of books written by the same authors show how cover illustrations contribute to the visual identity of some juvenile literature series and magazines, even when they are not all produced by the same artist. The visualization of the ‘saturation’ and ‘hue’ of some of these book covers leads into the field of color symbolism and of the aesthetics chosen by some publishers. With our corpus, the ImagePlot visualizations of books covers by year are less easy to interpret in terms of general trends and evolution.

Author Biographies

Irene Fabry-Tehranchi, Cambridge University Library, UK

Irene Fabry-Tehranchi is a librarian in charge of the French collections at Cambridge University Library, UK. Her research interests include French literature, the history of the book, visual studies  and the use of digital humanities tools. Email:

Wooseob Jeong, Emporia State University, Kansas, USA

Wooseob Jeong is Dean of the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University in Kansas, USA. His research areas include human-computer interaction, digital libraries, and multilingual information systems. Email:



2022-05-01 — Updated on 2022-05-04