Observations With Interactive Technology

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The device I had chosen was the library catalog at my local library. Long since we are from the rolodex of cards, I had spent my childhood among those old blocky monitors looking for what I needed. Some things still have yet to change– we still have to physically write the call numbers we want instead  of printing them out and some other functions I feel could be improved, but I will  elaborate later. Some changes other than the physical is the change to many of the volumes going to electronic books, or showing  the availability of physical copies at other libraries where you can request they be sent to my library.  There is also a shopping cart element where you can borrow without having to wait on line with a physical check out.

Nowadays the system itself remains relatively unchanged but the monitors, mice, and keyboards have long since been replaced with touchscreens and styli– one of the setup has a large print keyboard for those with visual impairments, but I didn’t notice anything with braile for it.  Nearby is a human reference desk of course in case of  some error. It was a Saturday evening an hour before closing so there was some activity but not as much as I would assume a weeknight might have. The average time used was between three to five minutes and the longest two users was couple looking for what I believe was movies and the other users were two boys doing some sort of research project.

(I will confess I was partially distracted for a few minutes because I found out my library provides 3D printing services with a resin and a filament printer at a reasonable fee!)

As for improvement, it’s less on the technological part, and more on the software part. It is the same system used since the late 1990s, early 2000s, and perhaps in  the wake of  new technologies there could be  some upgrading to the system. It doesn’t particularly work well with the interacting with a touch screen  and there is a some considerable lag and confusion on the program’s part. I am sure given how it has so many features of shopping and reference apps, it could be dragged kicking and screaming into the 2010s.

 

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