About Harvard Library UX

Our team is made up of members from various corners of the Harvard community and we benefit from close collaborations with the Brown Graphics Group and the Simmons GSLIS Usability Lab. Currently, we are focused on further developing interactive software called Library Explorer, built primarily for the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense (formerly called the Microsoft Surface Table), and testing the user experience, interfacing with library digital collections through new touch and gesture based systems. Both structured and unstructured usability tests, conducted in Cabot Library, and led by Dr. Rong Tang from Simmons, will evaluate how Harvard students interact with these new technologies. Software development has been done primarily by the Brown Graphics Group and we have received further support from HUIT and ITS. Three SUR40s in all have been installed in the Harvard Library at the Cabot, Lamont and Wolbach Libraries, where staff are working on additional ideas and events to engage their communities through this new interactive technology.

More About the Project

Overall Philosophy

Harvard Library UX is more of a mindset than a project. We believe that library spaces can serve as a test bed for the new and innovative technologies that are being developed around the University. These technologies are never finished and often remain hidden away in labs, waiting to be perfected. We would like to release them into the wild, host them in our libraries and see what our user community has to say about them. After all, we would like to bring our greatest asset to these projects—our connection with the users.

Further Background

The Harvard Library UX is the outgrowth of a 2011 Harvard Library Lab project called Wolbach UX led by Christopher Erdmann, Head Librarian, John G. Wolbach Library. Wolbach UX, focused on developing a proof-of-concept touch and gesture-based application, using software developed at Brown, which allows users to view and interact with digital material in new and innovative ways.