Browser’s Delight: The Curated Library
Why is it so much fun to look at private book collections? Why are course syllabus’ so valuable? Like a good mix tape, syllabus is a carefully curated collection of knowledge around specific themes, which introduces users to new relevant ideas.
When confronted with such an expansive catalogue, the library can be a difficult resource for optimized browsing. When I go to a new restaurant I often can’t even decide which meal to order, and refer to the resident expert (the waiter) for advice. How can we employ this technique of recommendations that extends beyond the returned books trolley?
The Curated Library re conceptualizes the Library, not as an exhaustive index of knowledge, but like the university itself, as a set of subjective curated collections of knowledge. Book collections of various sizes, an individual shelf, to a stack, to a small room, becomes a curated “exhibition of knowledge” by a librarian, scholar, professor, or student. Like their size, collections can be “exhibited” for various lengths of time, depending and popularity of the curator, as well as number of curators waiting for exhibition. After they are exhibited, the collections are memorialized within the library database, and can be accessed via the books’ metadata.
A book’s call number would be pointed to the collection of which the book has been assigned. Because collections must be complete at all times, books cannot be checked out of the library.
Users may be more inclined to check out a book if they are provided with a map, through which they can visualize the path they will take, from where they are to the library all the way to the book.
The project is to create a section maker, which can cut sections of virtual models by tilting, rotating, and moving the iPad screen in real time. The plane defined by the screen becomes the cut plane, and if a model is loaded of the building one is in, it can become a powerful tool for building analysis, exploration, and wayfinding.
This interface can easily be transformed into a many types of games, including scavenger hunt.
Beyond projection lines can be toggled on or off. When toggled on, projection lines offer a parallel perspective or “god view”, but from a first person viewpoint.
In my recent visits to libraries, I’ve found librarians incredibly accessible and willing to help. However while browsing the lower stacks of Loeb, I’ve often wanted to ask the librarian something, but been reluctant to go upstairs and request that they come downstairs to help me. I’m sure that in larger libraries, such as Widener, this problem is magnified. In order to best make use of librarians’ time is the ability for visitors to communicate with the from various parts of the library.
1) Intercoms (with connected headsets so as not disturb the quiet) allotted at 20 meter intervals throughout the library plan allow visitors to speak directly with librarians. If intercoms are routed through a computer system, librarians may see where the visitors are calling from, and are more able to direct them to where they need to go.
2) Voice messaging, a relatively new technology application similar to two way radio, affords the advantage of ease of communication and relatively quick response time, without necessarily hijacking a busy librarian. Voice messaging is available to visitors with smart phones. Advantages of voice messaging are that it allows librarians to complete a task before answering, and allows users to circulate while speaking.
3) Text messaging, already available communication with your server at establishments such as Charlies Kitchen, could also be easily applicable to help requests in the library context.