Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Where does the internet end and the library begin? #ub13

The first afternoon session at CILIP Umbrella conference #ub13 in Manchester, UK is called Where does the internet end and the library begin? There is a panel led by Chris Dymond, an Independent Digital Producer: panel members are Ben Lewis (filmmaker, author and art critic); Rebecca Bartlett, Innovation Manager, Library of Birmingham; Shay Moradi, Creative Director, Running in the Halls (RITH).
It started with a presentation from Shay Moradi (right), who explained that RITH makes games and apps, working with a variety of organisastions e.g. universities or the auction house Christies. He also said that "we love libraries" and he talked about how this started when he was studying at Huddersfield University, making little apps and then after graduating using library data. Shay went on to say something about gamification - using a gaming approach in "non game" contexts. He was interested in "subtle gamification" like the British Gas app that shows a smiley face when you are using energy efficiently. However library interfaces tend to be pretty ugly, and they found that librarians were very welcoming to the idea of introducing more playfulness and user interaction.
So they have developed Lemon Tree for academic libraries (implemented at the University of Huddersfield), where you hook up your library card to the system and get points for things like borrowing books, or coming in at certain times of day. You get little badges for these different types of activity and you can see what your friends have been doing too. They've found that people like personal analytics too and have visual metaphors e.g. a tree that grows over time. There is a link to Facebook and they have also tried physical badges etc. but those are not so popular. As well as working with other universities they have also developed a public library version, Orangetree.

Ben Lewis started by talking about his attachment to libraries as places to find knowledge. He played a clip from his film Google and the world brain, which highlighted the issue of what Google is able to do with the digital version of books from various important libraries that it has digitised. As noted in the earlier talk from Roly Keating, libraries may welcome the opportunity to get collections digitised, when the libraries can't afford to do the digitisation themselves. There is the issue of intellectual property and of what could be done with the immense knowledge base that Google is amassing. Ben also talked about his concerns about the lack of criticality about the internet, and concerns about intellectual property. He noted how Google and major publishers were not willing to talk to him about the film. Ben finished by talking through the issues to do with out of copyright, in copright and out of print books. Ben risked pelting with conference handbooks, by suggesting that libraries are shy out of the way places, but countered by saying that he now realised they could be forces in society ;-)
Finally Rebecca Bartlett talked about the new Library of Birmingham: 1,000 book crates a day are currently being moved to the new library. She talked about rethinking the library, and thinking about the relationship between the physical, the digital and the staff with their expertise.In particular she picked out three new systems/interfaces, to do with gaming ("Information overlord" - curently prototyping a game in which you run your own library), search (concerning metadata generation, including crowdsourcing) and mobile (showcasing the collections).
The session is finishing with a discussion session, but this post is already long, so I'll finish here and do another post if I blog the discussion

No comments: