Further Thoughts on GLASS

November 15, 2013, 7:31 pm

I just gave a campus interview about our GLASS project. Here is the gist of my answers in long form.


Giving a campus interview. I’ll link out once the video is online.

I’m really excited to be involved with GLASS. It’s an interesting technology and wearable computing seems to be one of the next big things.

I love what Virginia Tech is doing by building a cohort of faculty who are using GLASS in different ways and representing different disciplines. Arts, sciences, building construction, public policy, it’s a wide mix.

And it is exciting for me to represent the library in that effort because I get to work hand in hand with faculty on rethinking their teaching and research practices. We want to build new apps together, new software together, new pedagogies, new capabilities. So it is valuable for me to be in on those conversations. I’m learning a lot.

So far using GLASS has been like learning to ride a bike. Figuring out how it all works — what the device can and can’t do, lots of trial and error. There isn’t really a user manual, you just have to live it.

Within the library setting there is some potential to consider:

- Search could become a more verbal experience rather than typing. With wearable computing there isn’t a keyboard. Everything is voice and gesturing. So how does that change our relationship with information?

- The geo-location and augmented reality components are interesting too. I could move through the building and have things pop up. It could lead me to a book that I want and suggest other available titles that are nearby. It could offer a short video clip on how to use the 3D printer (that I’m standing beside) or how to use a database or piece of software when I am looking at it. And it’s cool because I can follow instructions hands-free and keep looping the clip. Big picture, GLASS can enable us to offer assistance depending on the context of where people are located and/or what they are trying to accomplish.

 Some other future possibilities:

 - I could check on the availability of study rooms, reserve one, and then invite my group.
- I could make an appointment with a librarian, a media designer, or the writing center.
- I could get real-time updates on the location of my friends who choose to be discoverable. Is anyone else currently in the library?
- I could connect with a partner or a team member using voice and video, while working on whatever I’m doing—a paper, a PowerPoint, code, or graphics.


VT Glass panel conversation via @shellifowler

Overall GLASS is encouraging me to think differently about the way our services are offered and the interfaces, physical and virtual, that we provide. I’m also reflecting more on the behaviors and interactions that students have online and in our spaces. I’d really like to use GLASS to capture some first-person usability testing —following students and professors through common processes like navigating the stacks, using Summon, finding a study space, and so on: what really happens? I literarily want to see the library through their eyes and words. I also want to see the classroom experience and the homework experience. We still have a lot to learn about users — wearable computing invites new data and new research questions.

Many libraries struggle with wayfinding. Our buildings, collections, and websites can be very confusing and GLASS enables us to think about some new guideposts, interactions, and transactions along the way.

Earlier post: Libraries and GLASS: 7 things to think about as wearable computing emerges

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