One role libraries play for their communities is a place to browse new publications. When you come to Bertrand Library, for example, just in front of the central stairs on the main level you will see some low book cases displaying new books. These are meant to give some sense of what is coming in new to our collection and is a popular shelf for people to browse and sometimes take a title home with them.
Today the library is buying an increasing number of eBooks. These books are fairly invisible to our community of users. We cannot sit them on the display shelf, you won’t see them in the stacks. Beyond discovering them when you are searching, they are fairly invisible. While we could print out cover art or some other physical representation of the book as a pointer, it doesn’t adequately recreate that moment when you see a physical book, pick it up, and possibly read a review or summary on the back and possibly browse the Table of Contents to find out a little something about the title.
We would like to maintain browsing and display of new books, regardless of format, as a feature of our library. Particularly as a merged Library & IT organization, we also like to experiment with interesting technology as it relates to our library, so this seems a perfect ‘high profile’ project to undertake.
To work for the library, we would need a solution that was fairly platform and hardware independent. We would want to set up our display on readily available commercial hardware, perhaps a larger LCD or smaller tablet, and have it work equally well. Because we would want to display this in our main lobby area where on average we see a gate count of 12k each week, it needs to be quite attractive and ‘finished’ feeling, both the hardware as pect and the application itself.
We would like to leverage one of the OCLC APIs available to gather required data for display so no manual input or extraction is required, possibly enhancing the data from other relevant feed sources. Ideally we might be able to share the final product on the OCLC Developer network so other libraries could have a similar display, and possibly build on the development work done here at Bucknell.
Because our eBook deliveries vary depending on time of year, we’d like to consider how it might be possible to define what qualifies as ‘new’. Sometimes new might be the last month…but in the summer, for example, when we buy fewer books generally, new might be the last 3 months. Just like our physical shelf, we don’t like for it to ever be bare.
We would like an appealing display that provides at least some interaction without the user engaging with the device—so scrolling, or changing in one form or another with no clicking or touching by the user. Ideally they might be able to ‘interact’ with a title by somehow selecting it and then seeing the sort of typical browsing information mentioned above—a review, a summary, a table of contents, for example. Perhaps even a means to send the link of the eBook to an email address for later viewing?
Points of Contact
- Carrie Rampp, Director of Library Services, Bucknell University