5 Projects from Future Facing Libraries

Last week Trinity College Library hosted the Library Futures Symposium in the Science Gallery. If you missed it you can read a brilliant article in libfocus written by Marie O’Neill (Head of Library Services & Information Services, DBS Library) and check our storify of the #futurelibrary tweets here. Hugh Linehan interviewed Richard Ovendon and Helen Shenton for the Irish Times Off Topic, listen here.

There were so many fantastic projects introduced to us at the symposium, so we’ve rounded up our favourite five to share with you.

“Librarians are the most future-facing community I have ever encountered” – Roly Keating

Roly Keating (Chief Executive of the British Library) spoke about the British Library Sound Archive, which makes available 50,000 of the 3.5 million sounds held in the British Library. The collection is diverse and extensive, ranging from popular and classical music, to accents and sound maps. Here’s a calming recording of the dawn chorus with light rainfall.The project to make these sounds available ran from 2004 -2009 and was funded by JISC.

If you’re interested in getting involved in A/V archiving, have a look at the Archiving Tomorrow conference, which is taking place in the Royal Irish Academy on June 1st & 2nd.

Image of Yewno search for Humanties in a circle showing related concepts connected by lines, including Aristotle, alchemy and Aquinas.

Mike Keller (University Librarian, Stanford University) introduced Yewno a “discovery environment”, a conceptual search engine that provides visualisation or related concepts. Let Mr. Keller himself explain it to you in this video.

Continuing with the theme of data visualisation, Stanford were also involved in ORBIS which is a geosptial network model of the Roman world. Users can reconstruct the time and cost of journeys across the Roman Empire form the slowest mule carts to the fastest horse relays or even the full force of an army on the march.

Image of map from ORBIS showing the trip duration difference for travel from Rome versus travel to Rome.

Orbis has obvious uses for historians and researchers but it would be interesting to see less conventional use of this phenomenal tool. There is possible use with primary school kids or authors of historical fiction (accuracy ftw).

Richard Ovendon (Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) spoke about the gargantuan task of renovating the Weston library, a multi-million pound project that recived no govenment funding. The renovation was funded entirely through philanthropic donations and partnerships with industry. An inspiring project indeed!

The Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Weston Library was opened in 2015 and in December they held a mini-hackathon for kids celebrating Ada Lovelace. This sold-out event shows the importance and popularity of libraries reaching out into their communities. The library as space was a recurring theme of the Library of the Future symposium.

Three images showing parts of computers.

Jeffrey Schnapp (Founder/faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard) introduced revolutionary projects on the theme of library-as-space, including the Labrary.

Scnapp’s presentation was jam-packed full of innovation. One of the upcoming projects that really stood out was Book a Nook, a digital toolkit enabling the public to book a space in their public library.

Take a look at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab if you want to get inspired and let us know what projects you would like to see in your libraries! How about the Awesome Box? It’s an alternative returns box, if you think the book you just read is awesome then return it via the Awesome Box. The barcode is scanned and the library can share the items tagged as awesome.

So, would you use the Awesome Box? How do you think you incorporate innovation into Irish libraries? Let us know in the comments below or using #slipireland on facebook and twitter.

Image credits: http://corp.yewno.com/   http://orbis.stanford.edu/ and http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/news/2016/feb-05

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Philosophically inclined librarian.

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