An App for Librarians?

Have you ever lost a library book inside the library? I don’t recommend it; it makes the librarians crabby. But now, technology might prevent all that–check this out!

Awesome Augmented Reality App Could Save Librarians Hours
By Audrey Watters / March 27, 2011 6:30 PM / 14 Comments

If you’ve ever worked in a library, you’re familiar with the drudgery of shelf reading. That’s the process of verifying that all the books on a shelf are in the right order, based on their call numbers. Books get out of order fairly easily, when they’re taken off the shelf and examined, for example, or when they’re just stuck in the wrong place.

Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG! – that exclamation point, I confess, is my addition), led by Professor Bo Brinkman, has developed an Android app that could save librarians a lot of time and hassle. Using the Android’s camera, 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.

→Click here to read the rest of the short article:  Awesome Augmented Reality App Could Save Librarians Hours. (There’s also a brief video, because showing is better than telling.)

I found this fascinating. An app that reads the book spines for you?  Nothing technological should surprise me anymore, because clearly computers are about to become conscious and take over the world, but I’m still amazed by the beautiful, useful things people create.

The Black Hole: Where lost library books go.

Now the next step is to put a tracking device on all the books in the library. I’ve always thought that librarians should be able to track books with a GPS-like button. They could look on their little screen and trace the blinking dot right to Mrs. Pemble’s house, who stole that library book 37 years ago and never gave it back, the scum. Wouldn’t that be useful?

For that matter, I think these homing devices should be readily available to the average homeowner, billpayer, and otherwise contributing citizen, inasmuch as I voted last semester. I would promptly catalog and locate all the lost things in my life (such as textbooks, my wallet, and ALL the spoons). Of course, then I’d lose the device, or the app would self-destruct, or it’d get stuck in a blender for a YouTube video…(“Don’t try this at home.” Oh, but people do. They really do.)

If you’ve worked in a library (or ever lost anything whatsoever) do you see any usefulness in this app?


5 thoughts on “An App for Librarians?

  1. Elena,

    This is a brilliant idea!! I think your GPS idea might be even better. Although, I would feel sorry for poor Mrs. Premble, who is probably more forgetful than she is scum. 😉

    • Okay, Megan, you’re probably right (sorry Mrs. P.)…
      The most egregious offenders seem to be people who REALLY DO like books, they just…misplace them…


  2. Elena,
    This library app is brilliant! The youtube kids…not so much. And if you ever invent that gps gadget, I’ll be the first in line! 🙂

  3. That’s just crazy… how would it really know? What if certain books were checked out? Wouldn’t that throw it off? Or what if new ones were added? I don’t understand how a machine could keep track. I prefer your lost items tracker idea. 😉

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