Thursday, March 31, 2011

New App for Shelfreading

Shelfreading is like dusting--no one wants to do it, but it has to be done. Now, however, a new Android app may make shelfreading a breeze. The brainchild of the Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group, the app "'reads' a bookshelf, and with an AR overlay, quickly flags those books that are misplaced. It will also point to the correct place on the bookshelf so the book can easily be re-shelved correctly." This description comes from Audrey Watters' post on the ReadWriteWeb blog. The post includes a video of Professor William "Bo" Brinkman demonstrating how shelfreading would work using the app. Professor Brinkman makes the point that the app won't work well for thin books as they would be difficult to tag. In addition, at the moment the "prototype only uses 16 bits on the tag, but Brinkman says the group is working on a version that would allow them to put around 72 bits on a tag, allowing the system to scale up to work with any library collection." Professor Brinkman says the app would also facilitate doing inventories of library collections. The app will be demonstrated at the ACRL conference on Saturday, April 2.


Mrs. Scarborough said...

Wouldn't it take longer to use the app and account for thin or oversized, side-lying books than it would to just shelf-read manually? The idea is neat, but I'm thinking visual identification with apps for shelf-reading in a university library is not going to ever be easy. I am interested in seeing RFID tagging evolve to the point where each book has a designated place on the bookshelf and by waving RFID reading wands over shelves it will indicate when a book is mis-shelved according to its electronic location. Easier than an app and would be less about visual mistakes and more about RFID tagging mistakes.

Marie S. Newman said...

I agree with you about RFID and its potential. In the meantime, I think this app might be worth a try. It's hard to know until we try it in our own collection.