2.0: April 2011 Archives

Put down that mouse and keyboard!  Twenty-first century, Web-based libray management services now means finding a whole new way to interact with library data and customers.  As the team at OCLC working on Web-scale Management Services has been hammering out new functional requirements, we've had a lot of leeway in breaking new ground.  But we've really been looking for a way to take the service beyond the obvious trends of electronic content management and mobile interfaces.  That's when one of our developers hooked up his XBox Kinect sensor to our development environment and the ideas started flying faster than we could implement them.

Web-scale Gesture-based Circulation.


I recently asked one of the developers how they got started.  "The easiest thing for us to do was introduce 'gesture-based' searching in the staff interface," said Kannan Seshadri, Release Manager for the product.  Usability testers had a blast finding titles on peace, prayer, and The Fonz.  Rock, paper, and scissors also became popular search terms, but nothing surpassed the number of searches for "birds" in WorldCat that day.

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Gesture search results for "birds."

"No one wants to stop at just searching," comments Product Manager, Jeff Schilling.  "Early adopters of the software have been flooding us with development ideas with gestures for 'angry patrons', circulation staff body movements for 'claims returned', and some of the most hilarious hand and body gestures for managing subject-based fund codes."


Directors and system administrators are loving this too.  We're looking to see if we can extend the functionality to not only recognize faces for the purpose of identity management, but also a way to accurately read facial expressions of the system administrators themselves so that they can rate library personnel as they are authorized to use the system.

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A clever library director stretches her budget with Web-scale Management Services.

We've identified a lot of green pasture in the development of these new web-based services, but nothing has been as exciting as defining a whole new way to interact with library data.  Be sure to send your ideas and gestures to pacea@oclc.org.

About the Author

Andrew K. Pace

I am Executive Director for Networked Library Services at OCLC. I am also a past President of LITA. On occasion, I am known for pontificating "on stage, in writing, and via the web" on a variety of issues important to libraries.

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