In the very beginning of my Rudai23 journey, as I was scanning through the Things, Augmented Reality (AR) sounded like something from sci-fi movies or a term used in some technology summit or the launch of… Google glasses? I only hope I was not the only one who that felt this way. I just was not sure what libraries and this term had in common.
So now, having read a bit about AR and its potential in libraries, it does not look so mystical anymore and its educational potential is obvious.
I still remember when I got my first smart phone and downloaded Google Goggles, I had so much fun at the beginning – I took a photo of a giant jigsaw puzzle I put together of some ancient map and found more information online about it – pretty cool, wasn’t it? Although, apart from this example, I do not think I ever used it again.
Anyway, it was very interesting to see how AR can be applied in the library world. The article here shows how it can, for example, be used to navigate the library user to find a book. Of course, it goes far beyond just leading you to the book. In my opinion, this might not even be the best use of AR. I might sound a bit old-fashioned, but part of the experience of looking for a physical book in the library is… browsing! In general, AR sounds as a good way of linking physical library world with the digital one and providing enhanced experience of both.
I gave Aurasma and Layar a go. Aurasma was my first choice. Downloading was quick and easy. Although, it did not run smoothly on my tablet. So, after multiple installations and un-installations this app still crashes as it fails to open the camera on my tablet. Then I tried out Layar. I created an account and created a VERY basic campaign with just one page. I do not know if it works properly, but I added here a cover page of Joseph Heller’s book Catch-22. If you have Layar app, scan it and there should appear a link for more info to Wikipedia page and a little carousel of other Heller’s books covers. As I said, it is a very VERY basic test of Layar platform, but it gave me an idea how those things are done.
I also downloaded Anatomy 4D from Daqri (available on Google Play). This is a really nice example of how AR can be utilized for educational purposes. Overall, I think there is a lot of scope for AR in the libraries. With some of imagination and enthusiasm even small AR campaigns can raise the profile of the library and engage the users in a new and exciting way.