Library Applications of New Technologies
Some of you have asked that we show more ways libraries are using new technologies. On June 20 2011 The Atlantic published What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Library. Alexis Madrigal explored NYPL's innovative online projects and concluded “I'm convinced the NYPL is succeeding online because of desire. …. Second, the library sees its users as collaborators in improving the collections the library already has.” Read the article to find how this all came about -- but let me highlight a few things they are doing.
Biblion is a storytelling app which presents a slice of the library's 1939-1940 World Fair Collection in a format that pushes the traditional boundaries of the e-publication. In general this has received good reviews.
Because of the problems scanning the idosyncratic scripts NYPL has crowdsourced the transcription of their collection of beautiful digitized menus. "We're transcribing our historical restaurant menus, dish by dish, so that they can be searched by what people were eating back in the day. It's a big job so we need your help!" The user interface is easy to navigate and gives you to all sorts of information on the food and its preparation. It links to HathiTrust which gives you full text access to recipes from old cookbooks and to Epicurious to help you update the recipe for your own use.
"Green Turtle Soup.—Many housewives imagine that green turtle is too expensive, and too difficult to prepare for household use, and for these reasons it is seldom met with in private families, except in tin cans. Even this is not always made from turtle."
Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world , organized an augmented reality game to commemorate the New York Public Library's centennial celebration. On May 20th, 500 gamers spent the night in the main branch of the library on 42nd Street to complete 100 "quests". This free game can now be played by anyone across the city and the world using smartphones or computers.