Fernanda Viégas
Sociable Media Group

Email archives are ubiquitous, cumbersome and vastly voluminous. This project attempts to reflect the massive nature of these archives by visualizing them as a growing mountain over time.

Mountain visualizes a person's email archive in terms of all the people with whom this person has been in touch over the years. Each layer in the Mountain represents a different person. Layers are ordered by time, with the first people in the email archive at the bottom and the most recent people in the archive at the top right portion of the mountain. The thickness of each layer refers to how recently the person has been in contact with ego (the owner of the email archive). Users can highlight specific layers in the Mountain causing the first words of every email exchanged with this person to appear on the screen.

The piece is a commentary on the continuous accumulation of email contacts over time and the large amounts of people we are constantly in touch with over email.

In the mountain above, the owner of the email archive has graduated from one school and moved to a new university for his graduate studies. This is the reason why we see two distinct peaks; the mountain on the right represents the surge of new contacts this person has made in the new school.