"Royal approval" of a SciFi Touch Table Application
How can touch tables be used in a library setting? Well, for example to present a part of the library's collection. In the Visual Navigation Project, and in collaboration with the Department of Informatics, we are exploring potential uses of touch tables.
Photo: Marina Tofting
During her visit to the Science Library, our enchanting Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway had the opportunity to get a demonstration of the touch table SciFi application developed by students on Informatics. The SciFi application explores a part of the library's Science Fiction literature collection through visually navigating between information resources (see also our previous news article).
Exploring Science Fiction
For instance, it is possible to choose Star Wars or Doctor Who as a focal point, and then explore different materials related to these themes. Screenshot 1 below shows the initial selection screen for Star Wars content, which presents books, videos, game information, as well as links to related social media accounts. Moreover, a user can get information about different characters from Star Wars, such as Darth Vader, Han Solo or Princess Leia. This way, users can explore Science Fiction content via different modalities.
The second screenshot shows a specific book information screen for the Doctor Who theme of the touch table application. Here, a library user can examine basic details about a book, but also explore related books and the science behind Doctor Who via informative videos. The application also shows where to find the actual book in the library, making the connection with the library's physical collections. Arrows on the left and right of the screen allow for browsing other books in the SciFi collection related to Doctor Who.
Another feature, which could not be implemented yet in the prototype, involves the possibility to scan a book and receive more information about it (made possible by the book's RFID tag). We are currently investigating the inclusion of these types of interaction with our touch table. The informatics students, Anniken, Betsy and Tina, have extensively documented their project in a report, which can be found on their project page (pdf). It provides more insights into the design process, the performed user studies and the learned lessons.
Of course, the SciFi application is only one of a variety of ways to use a touch table in a library setting. In the Visual Navigation Project, and with Informatics Master student Yaron Okun, we are exploring further avenues to use touch tables in the library, on which we will elaborate in coming news articles.