20 November 2011

Re-imagining library catalogue interfaces

We're often aware that students "don't use catalogues".

Take a look at these two images.

And now these ...

Well, aren't library catalogue interfaces just a bit ... dull?

Wouldn't it be good if instead of a plain text box with neatly arranged search options and vital information, the library catalogue page was...

a big creaky door ...?

... which, when you opened it, took you into a vast gothic building (stained glass, swinging lanterns) where a wizard librarian would quickly cast a spell on an old oak desk (fizz, bubble) and give you a leather bound volume which turned out to be an ebook copy of what it was you wanted to read?

If you wanted to find the real print book, you'd have a virtual treasure map which he'd inscribe to show you where it was in the library.

Sorting out fines for overdues would be easy.

OK, maybe the Harry Potter option is a bit stereotypical.  But you could find the physics stuff via the interior of a space station, or medical books through a hospital.  Chemistry would be in a laboratory, French literature would be in a Parisian market, and criminology in Wormwood Scrubs, you get the idea.

Just a thought.

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