I read with interest Liz McGettigan’s CILIP Guest Blog about Augmented Reality.
It’s something I’ve dabbled in a little – I’ve been running a series of drop-in training sessions on things like Twitter, LinkedIn, Prezi and other online tools and services for the staff at the hospital. One of the sessions I ran was on Augmented Reality (AR). It wasn’t the most popular session – I’ve found that the ones with the best turn out were the ones that the staff could see an immediate use for (like the three listed above) but as a part of the AR session I ‘augmented’ our Library cards.
If you scan the card with the correct app (in this case Aurasma, but others are available!) you can see a screenshot of the Library Catalogue with annotations showing you how to log in and renew/reserve books online. It looks like this:
One I would like to do would be to ‘augment’ the Self Issue Machine with a video demonstration of how to use it. Being a hospital library we allow our users to access the library while it is unstaffed – and while our self issue machine does offer instructions, I think a video would be very useful. I haven’t had the time to invest in doing this unfortunately, and it’s not exactly a priority on my ‘To Do’ list!
I think the potential is limitless – especially in libraries. Liz’s example of the ‘Mythical Maze’ app as part of the summer reading program is well chosen: it made the library interactive and fun beyond just the traditional books and reading aspect. AR could even be fun for older library users, I’m sure my limited ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, and librarians are, amongst other things, a creative bunch!
The only downside I find with Augmented Reality is that you – and your users – are tied to a specific app. Unlike QR codes which have an ISO standard – which means that codes created by any program can be read by any scanner – scanning my augmented library cards with a different app won’t find anything. It means that if I did make an instruction video for our self issue machine I can’t just put a sticker on it saying ‘Scan me for a video tutorial'; it would have to read ‘Download and install the Aurasma app to scan me for a video tutorial’. Let’s face it: how many users are going to bother?
Of course with something like ‘Mythical Maze’ downloading the specific app is part of the fun, and to a certain extent part of the branding. Maybe all we need to do is use the same app – or maybe develop one ourselves and name it appropriately?