UPDATE: this display is totally dumb. to begin with, I need to have a look up table that shows how to draw each letter or charichter to be drawn, like the old monochrome monitors. once I know bit structure of first column of the character, I toogle in 1 bit at a time, clock it to push it into bottom of first 16x8 led array, then next bit, so on and so on; then, when the first column is drawn, then I toggle the row shift 1 bit, then repeat second column of first character. I do this for the first 16x8 until first letter is drawn. now I must pull second letter, so on, so on.
pieces I am looking for; a pre-existing lookup table for each of alphabet and numbers, a buffer frame that will allow me to reload entire panel and scroll back and forth, maybe up and down. essentially, erase entire display and redraw, shifted by 1 bit in horiznato or vertical, over and over.