Student Engagement and Smart Spaces: Library Browsing and Internet of Things Technology

Student Engagement and Smart Spaces: Library Browsing and Internet of Things Technology

Jim Hahn (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4742-7.ch003
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The purpose of this chapter is to provide evidence-based findings on student engagement within smart library spaces. The focus of smart libraries includes spaces that are enhanced with the internet of things (IoT) infrastructure and library collection maps accessed through a library-designed mobile application. The analysis herein explored IoT-based browsing within an undergraduate library collection. The open stacks and mobile infrastructure provided several years (2016-2019) of user-generated smart building data on browsing and selecting items in open stacks. The methods of analysis used in this chapter include transactional analysis and data visualization of IoT infrastructure logs. By analyzing server logs from the computing infrastructure that powers the IoT services, it is possible to infer in greater detail than heretofore possible the specifics of the way library collections are a target of undergraduate student engagement.
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The field of Smart Library research and its development has attracted great interest and enthusiasm as evidenced in the implementation of Smart Library service offerings (Hahn, 2017; Griffey et al., 2018). Conceptually, the initial functionality of the Smart Library has grown over time from internet enabled appliances and devices to include the application of contemporary IoT technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. This purpose of this chapter is to analyze IoT functionalities within the mobile Wayfinding application, Minrva, and the IoT functionalities that comprise the services offered for collection-based recommendations using IoT infrastructures. The Minrva mobile app has multiple modular capabilities (Hahn & Ryckman 2012; Hahn et. al, 2015). However, this paper evaluates two key Smart Library and IoT affordances within the app, the mobile Wayfinder features and the accompanying kiosk based Wayfinder, which is located at the entrance of the undergraduate library book collection.

Figure 1 shows the mobile app based Wayfinder with location-based services functionality. In Figures 2-3 illustrations demonstrate the functionalities of the kiosk based Wayfinder. An important distinction from the mobile app-based technology and the kiosk based Wayfinder is the fact that the mobile app is accessing the location of Bluetooth beacons to support locating the user’s device as it moves through the library collection. The kiosk on the other hand is oriented for the user to identify the location of their item in the library collection relative to the fixed position of the kiosk.

Figure 1.

Wayfinder Android app with location-based recommendations

Source: Hahn, 2017
Figure 2.

Kiosk Wayfinder item display

Source: Author
Figure 3.

Kiosk Wayfinder map display

Source: Author

The collection focused IoT capabilities evaluated in this paper include the following research questions:

  • 1.

    How often do users access the Wayfinder app on their mobile device?

  • 2.

    How often are IoT recommender services used within the mobile device’s Wayfinder app?

  • 3.

    How often do users access the Wayfinder app from a library-provided kiosk Tablet with Wayfinder functionality?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Bibliotelemetry: A combination of the words bibliographic (as in bibliographic identifiers) and telemetry to describe an evaluation method to understand the way unique bibliographic identifiers and associated topics are represented in the library-focused internet of things application.

Modular: A modular system is like a microservice, but slightly more abstract, in that modules can be part of a large software solution. However, at their core, modular design compartmentalizes various portions of functionality.

Integrated Library System (ILS): The backbone of the library computing environment library staff uses to order, catalog, and make the inventory of books accessible. These ILS systems keep track of inventory by recording when patrons select which item, and when the item is returned to the library inventory.

Radio Frequency Identifier (RFID): Typically, RFID technologies are employed in newer libraries to provide an automated way to checkout and check-in items quickly with an RFID reader. Passive RFID means that the signal is not broadcast continually but needs to be read by a specific device. RDIF tags can replace the traditional scanned barcode.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): A subset of machine learning that aspires to approach human intelligence using training data and deep reinforcement techniques. Thus far, general AI does not exist, although specialized, task-specific AI has shown great improvement in the past decade.

RESTful: This is the infrastructure of the world wide web and typically is the preferred method to develop programming and computer interfacing services so that data can be extended to other platforms on the web.

Microservice: This is a modern design pattern that is intended to address the problem of monolithic software solutions. Rather than one monolithic software implementation, a microservice pattern can decouple individual portions of software functionality, which improves performance, stability, and extensibility.

Internet of Things (IoT): The internet of things is a novel computing phenomenon that acts to connect devices and services to the internet. These always are on computing tools and are employed to capture data about the environment to assist in the development of new efficiencies or services that were impossible heretofore. The smart thermostat by Nest is one example of an IoT device that uses machine learning and environmental sensing to calibrate a home’s temperature best both for maximum comfort and cost savings.

Middleware: The portions of a technology project that connect and communicate several disparate data sources.

Smart Library: The smart library is a conceptualization of the IoT that depends on some sort of data signal sensing and actions based on a radio frequency. Technologies associated with the smart library include machine learning, beacons (or iBeacons), mobile kiosks (tablet-based kiosks), mobile apps, and RFID, among others.

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