University of Konstanz
Graduiertenkolleg / PhD Program
Computer and Information Science

Graduation Talks


Novel Interaction Techniques for Information Seeking in Physical Libraries


Mathias Heilig, University Konstanz
Konstanz, Germany

date & place

Wednesday, 09.12.2009, 15:15 h
Room C252


Physical libraries were the most important knowledge source in former times. But within the last decades digital libraries and the WWW came up, with a lot of powerful features (everytime and everywhere available, digital search, a lot of metadata, sorting and filtering, visualizations etc.) and threatened the monopoly position of physical libraries as information distributor. However physical libraries are still very important for example as a place for social interaction and offer also implicitly physical knowledge structure. A location of an item in the shelf is not only a storing position, but also an information carrier, which sets the items in different relations and contexts. Users develop unconsciously a "spatial literacy" to find not only the position and neighborhood of an item in the shelf, but rather perceive additional meta-information like the number of other visitors in the proximity or the look and the age of covers and spines. To maintain these characteristics and additionally enhance the work inside of physical library, it is aimed to "blend" the advantages of digital libraries into the physical library.
One important activity in physical libraries is searching. Several theoretical models, based on decades of empirical work in different domains on how users pass through their seeking process showed that this activity is very complex and multifaceted. The social aspect of seeking or switching between browsing and analytical searching modes are only two examples. At the moment however, people have either to browse the shelves or to use the web frontend of a library to find items. This gap of the single-user web frontend on the one side and the physical library on the other side should be bridged through the blending of digital seeking functionalities into the physical space of the library.