Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interactive location maps for libraries

Thinking of creating interactive maps for your library?

Dynamic 2D map at WSU

"Dynamic mapping provides a customized map display in an online public access catalog for library patrons. After the patron has initiated a search and selected a particular book or other library resource, the patron is given an option to view a dynamic (or interactive) map for the chosen resource.

The dynamic map will display directional information to the patron such as the specific library branch which holds the resource, the floor of the library where the resource will be found, the specific department location, the general location of the shelving range, and a moving image display which shows the searcher which direction to turn as they exit the elevator."-- Interactive directions for holding locations in a Library OPAC.

As the video above shows, this is a very innovative system used at the Wichita State University library. It handles items without LC class, multi-level maps, eresources and many other features (see more demos here).

Dynamic 3D map at NUS Libraries

I seldom post about work at my own library, but will make an exception this time. This is a 3D interactive map offered to our users. It has a host of features including

  • Navigation using mouse, keyboard etc.
  • Programmable orientation tours
  • Links to embedded videos - (e.g. How to use the self-check machine)
  • Search by landmark
  • 3d book search by call number and/or linked from OPAC (experimental)

A couple of videos for you (the new version looks a little different)

The system was done for us by PeekSpy, a company started by students and Alumni of our university. They make innovative use of Google Earth technology, and users can visit the map after installing the plugin in their browsers.

One disadvantage of this is that I believe currently smartphones can't handle this though. You can play with our system life here.

Future possibilities

I can think of many other things to enhance library maps, from somehow linking it to our university's SecondLife community.

It's probably too much to convert it to a full blown virtual world, though I wonder if it is possible to use location sharing/aware services to pinpoint yourself on the map. Imagine, a user contacting you via IM saying he can't find a book, and then you say "let me come to you", and his location is pinpointed on the map. Or find a friend who is meeting you on the map.

Another interesting idea would be to take a leaf from lifestreaming and virtual worlds (video below)

Some interesting ideas

1)Have a LCD screen? On the virtual map clicking on it will play our slides on Slideshare or Youtube videos from our Youtube channel!

2) Book cover displays would be linked to our Flickr accounts.

3) Clicking on the icon of the librarian at the desk, would pull up tweets , or maybe the IM/Skype account.

4)Have a account, pipe the music into the map.


So how is your library handling location maps? Please post any interesting examples you are aware of or are working on. For instance there are some campus wide orientation maps that are really innovative.
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