Some Like it Quiet

Using a Heatmap to Study Space Use in a Health Sciences Library


  • Will Dean Temple University



heatmap, space use, health sciences library


This article is a description of using a heatmap technique to study how patrons use different spaces in a health sciences library at a large, urban research university.

Objective: This method is used to identify preferred seating locations within the library.

Approach: This method involves counting where patrons are situated in the library at different times of the day, at different times of the year, and using that data to generate heat maps.

Data type(s) used: The data consisted of locations and counts of patrons around the library at different time points.

Strengths: Provides a granular look at space use in the library.

Limitations: It is difficult to know why patrons prefer different sections of the library.


Khoo M, Rozaklis L, Hall CE, Kusunoki D, Rehrig M. Heat Map Visualizations of Seating Patterns in an Academic Library. IConference 2014 Proceedings, Jan. 2014. DOI:

Gullikson, S, Meyer, K. Collecting space use data to improve the UX of library space. Weave, Journal of Library User Experience. 2016;1(5). doi:

Khoo MJ, Rozaklis L, Hall C, Kusunoki D. (2016). “A really nice spot”: Evaluating place, space and technology in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries. 2016;77(1):51-70.

Adobe. Adobe Photoshop User Guide [Internet]. Create data-driven graphics. [Cited 27 Apr 2021].

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How to Cite

Dean, W. (2023). Some Like it Quiet: Using a Heatmap to Study Space Use in a Health Sciences Library. Hypothesis: Research Journal for Health Information Professionals, 35(1).



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