Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chişinău (Moldova) - National Library

With all the innovation we're working on, it's hard to remember that the library world has many facets. This is a blast from the past. Not just the picture; check out the description of the bureaucracy around obtaining a book in the flickr page. Library 1.0, it seems so long ago.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A virtual library in Urbino, Italy

I've been having some wonderful time off in Italy with my wife (flickr set) and, as a sign that I am to return to my working life, the television news today made a big deal of a new Virtual Library in Urbino. I've looked for a web site but found none, the library may very well have one but my italian is still pretty rudimentary. But luckily, this blog posting has some pictures.

There was a big event in the village, the ciaspolada, and the family made sure to not miss a single bit of coverage, hence I saw an unusual amount of tv news (of dubious quality) today. They all made a big deal of the interface, which is indeed interesting: fully gesture-based. You either sit or stand in front of a wall, on which an image of an ancient library (leather bound volumes) is projected, and by gesturing wildly with your arms, you can take a book from a shelf, and the flip through it. I didn't see any library staff interviewed, apart from the interaction designer, whose name I sadly can't recall now.

All old manuscripts of course, at least for the demo. As a library professional I would be interested in the approach to the digitization to these works, as from this coverage I have the impression that they were scanned cover to cover. We know that costs an arm and a leg, so which selection criteria were applied? Also, no mention of how to find a book in this library apart from the pretty but pretty useless picture of the bookshelves, or the amount of calories browsing takes with the many wide arm movements.

But still, way to go, Urbino! And if someone could point me to a website I'd be most grateful.