Google Glass just got some cool new glasses frames. This is a nice development, especially for those of us who are visually challenged enough to need prescription lenses.
Beyond the fashion sense (or lack thereof) involved in this, I decided that while the gizmo itself is still a bit on the goofy side, it became something to lust after when combined with a real-world application (read, “sight”). That led me to wonder whether it was being used in libraries. And that led me to to do a bit of searching to find that yes, indeed, libraries are putting the tools to the test:
Library Journal has this report concerning the uses that Colorado’s Arapahoe Library District has put their new equipment to, while OEDb managed to think of 6 things libraries can do with Google Glass. Meanwhile the folks at Claremont Colleges Library haven’t actually begun to use their new equipment but they are gearing up for an exploration of its uses a bit later this spring.
While I’m not a GG developer and the technical facets of developing for this type of tech are beyond me (for now), I do have a list of tings I’d ultimately like to see Google Glass do:
1. Call Number Linking: At the moment we have StackMap installed on our online catalog. It’s helpful, but it’s tough to carry a monitor off to the stacks with you. . Why can’t location maps be projected on a Glass screen that leads you to the correct shelf?
2. RFID Linking: Scan a bar code with your eyes and watch the ILS register a checkout or a discharge.
3. Combine BookMyne with Google Glass: Since BookMyne is a SirsiDynix product (which allows you to search the online catalog from a iOS or Android powered device) you’d have to substitute your own vendor’s equivalent, but I think the application is there. The utility of building a similar type of functionality into Google Glass should be obvious.
4. Metadata Scanning: point Google Glass at a shelf of books that have been tagged with RFID sensors (or, since we’re talking about optical recognition technology, possibly just a call number tag) and watch the title, author, and borrowing history flow past your eyes. There’s no reason to stop there, either. If a book isn’t available you should be able to shoot an e-mail request for it or place it on hold with a spoken command.
5. Inventory Control: Metadata scanning taken to the umpteenth degree. The only difference would be the scale of the project. Except in this case, you’d scan a shelf of books visually and log them as ON SHELF. 30,000 print items in an hour? With a few people and the right tools, why not?
6. HelpDesk: Google Glass can already send e-mail; having the institution help desk on speed dial and a built in metadata cache fill in appropriate data about the nature of the request should be elementary.
7. Self-help instructional videos from the user’s POV: This should be a no-brainer, and it’s one of the uses that OEDb has already described in their blog post.
I’m sure there are other uses, but these are what come to mind as I go over my daily grind in tech services. I comprehend that this is a bucket list; I have no clue what level of attention SirsiDynix or other ILS vendors are planning to unleash on Google Glass, if any. But I think that these are natural things to wish and work for as we progress from handheld devices into handless ones. The vendor that provides these new tools will clean up. It’s that simple.
Something to think about.