or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Leaving Location-Specific Messages Seems Like A Neat Idea

   August 21st, 2014

screen568x568People probably get tired of me saying this, but in cases like this I feel like I need to apologize for not having a cell phone but talking about apps anyway.

I read on LifeHacker last week about an app called Knit. It lets users tie a message to a specific location, so that when another user gets to that spot, they see the message.

It can't be as seamless and effortless as my imagination makes it out to be, but I think this is an awesome idea. And since libraries are all about providing contextually-relevant information, this seems like a very useful idea.

My guess is that it's not accurate enough to use in the stacks, but wouldn't it be neat that if someone walks into the local history room they'd get a message about online resources?

But even better would be to use it outside the library. Leave notes with historical information around town and create a self-guided tour; if the library has off-site events (which we sometimes do), leave notes in those places for the upcoming events; leave notes in parks and train stations about downloading ebooks or digital magazines. Like an automatic QR code people don't need to scan, or a virtual sign someone might actually read.

Of course, there's got to be some catch, because it seems this will immediately become a new form of spam advertising, with every step or highway exit being inundated with who knows what (if you can broadcast to all users, rather than picking a specific person). So it'd be neat if this functionality could be integrated into an existing library app, to provide some control over what patrons are sent. Still though, I thought this was a neat idea.




Tags: , , , , ,


One Response to “Leaving Location-Specific Messages Seems Like A Neat Idea”

  1. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    Knit’s hook is that only people on your friend list, which is based on their email address, can leave messages for you or find messages you left for them. There are more open versions of the same idea (Slight, Trace, etc) which leave messages for anyone who has the app. Trace is especially neat, as its messages take the form of augmented reality “bubbles” that are only visible through your camera’s phone.

    So this might be a neat opt-in experience for patrons, especially if you already link an email address to their library accounts.

    Then again, given the average patron’s resistance to reading actual physical library signs, it might be asking a bit much to ask them to install new software to read invisible virtual signs. Hmm.