Lernort Bibliothek - Bibliotheksservice digital und real


20.12.2012 - 19.12.2014


Simon Butscher, Jens Müller, Harald Reiterer


The project "Lernort Bibliothek: Bibliotheksservice digital und real" (Library as a place of learning: digital and real library services) investigates novel approaches to interaction for exploring library holdings with the additional use of information sources external to the library. The project is funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is carried out in cooperation with the state's public libraries. In terms of the learning and research scenarios taking place in libraries, the content of the project ties in with the Blended Library project, which investigates "the use, influence and added value of new types of information and communication technology (ICT) in the field of knowledge work."


The digitization of library collections and the increasing shift of knowledge work to the World Wide Web (WWW) have changed the way today's library sees itself. Today, the physical library no longer sees itself solely as a place for supplying and storing literature, but increasingly as an information service provider and a place for communication and work. Even though digitization has shifted central tasks of librarianship from the real to the virtual world, elaborate new buildings (e.g., the planned new building of the Central and Regional Library in Berlin) show the central importance attached to the modern library as a physical and social place of work and encounter. In open access libraries, not only the working space but also the physical knowledge order is of particular importance. Here, a location does not simply mean a place and space for storage, but also stands for an information carrier that places works in context with one another in a variety of ways. Users unconsciously develop a so-called "spatial literacy" [1, p.37] for this purpose, not only to quickly locate the position and neighborhood of a work in the library and shelf, but also to evaluate the location of a shelf in relation to typical walkways or central locations, the number of other users in the vicinity of a shelf, or the design and age of bindings and spines as content meta-information. Although the advantages of the real world (e.g., naturalness of interaction with paper, pen, books, and other people) coexist in today's library with the advantages of the virtual world (e.g., PC workstations for rapid searching of digital catalogs, arbitrary dispatch and duplication of electronic documents), both worlds remain separated by media discontinuities and by the lack of integrative operating concepts for the information technology used.

In the future, comprehensive open access libraries will continue to be of great importance for access to a variety of digital and analog media as well as for the availability of good working and recreational spaces. As before, many interesting titles are not available in digital form, and the importance of the library as a physical and social place to meet and learn together should not be underestimated. The aim of the project "Lernort Bibliothek: Bibliotheksservice Digital und Real" is therefore to create new interaction opportunities for library customers (with each other as well as with the library's collection and new technologies). . An important aspect of this is that the library's collection is not viewed in isolation from the vast information offered by the World Wide Web, but that an integration of these two worlds is promoted. This is achieved through the use of new interactive terminals and forward-looking visualizations that bring together the library's real and virtual offerings and functions. In addition to traditional research workstations based on terminal computers or laptops, entirely new forms of interaction will be available for browsing and research. This new form of interaction will be enabled, for example, by interactive tables, walls or mobile devices with multi-touch operation. The introduction of these technologies into the everyday life of the library is not an end in itself, but rather to support the user in exploring and developing the comprehensive media stock and the information space located around it in an efficient and natural way.

In view of the rapidly developing possibilities in recent years for bridging the gap between the real and virtual worlds (e.g., miniaturization of computer and display technology, mobile devices, digital pens and paper, "intelligent" tables and walls with touch controls, gesture control of displays, RFID, etc.), there is now an opportunity for direct integration of user- and task-oriented information technology into the physical and social location of the "library.


The goal is the fusion ("conceptual blending" [2]) of selected aspects of the real and virtual worlds in the "library as a place of learning". The coexistence of "digital" and "analog" (or "real"), which is characterized by media discontinuities and barriers to entry, is to be replaced here by mutual complementation and cooperation that achieves decisive added value for the efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction of the user. The information and communication technology (ICT) used here moves outside the boundaries of the traditional PC workstation and the Web OPACS and, in the sense of ubiquitous and pervasive computing, enables the physical and social space of the "library" to be enriched with digital and physical tools, for example, for research or knowledge work (for example, with interactive walls or tables). The ultimate goal is, on the one hand, to integrate concepts in the sense of ubiquitous computing, which particularly takes into account mobility in a public building like the library, and, on the other hand, to embed the functionality and interaction of ICT as naturally and seamlessly as possible in the physical and social work space of the library.

During the project, concepts for this will be developed, implemented in a prototype and evaluated in the context of realistic scenarios. For this purpose, the real test application within Living Labs in the project libraries serves in particular. On the one hand, this allows us to identify possible applications in future libraries, and on the other hand, to explore the viability of the ideas and concepts developed. The possible added value shown by the feasibility studies will be empirically tested in the Living Labs of the University of Konstanz as well as in one of the project libraries (the public library of the city of Cologne is planned), whereby two perspectives are of interest here: on the one hand from the point of view of the research and browsing process and on the other hand from the point of view of usability.


In February 2014, a first expansion stage of the Source Diver system was set up at the Cologne Public Library. The first expansion stage of the Source Diver aims to integrate the digital information world of the World Wide Web into the library. For this purpose, news about current world events are presented on a large multitouch display and enriched with information from other sources such as Wikipedia, Munzinger, WDR Digit, Twitter and Bing Maps (see Figure 1).

[Translate to Englisch:] Abbildung 1: Datenquellen des Quellentauchers

In July 2014, the second expansion stage followed, which creates a keyword-based link between current world events and the library's holdings. For this purpose, news reports are analyzed with the help of Natural Language Processing methods and matching media from the library collection are identified.


[1] McCullough, M. (2005): Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing. Cambridge: MIT Press.

[2] Imaz, M. & Benyon, D. (2007): Designing with Blends: Conceptual Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction and Software Engineering. MIT Press.

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