Anyone have a spare ticket to Denmark?

UPDATE: Slide presentation is now online (.pdf) - Thanks, Knud :)

Both last week and the week before, I had the opportunity to meet librarians from Denmark and learn about the fascinating technologies that they are experimenting with over there. Knud Schulz's (Manager of the Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark) gave a 30 minute overview this past Thursday on the innovative projects that they are working on that made me seriously drool. And before it all escaped my mind, I thought I'd post it...

In his current library there is a 3000 square foot experimental lab -- They call it the "Transformation Lab" -- where the library in conjunction with leading university, research and multimedia organizations experiment and pilot projects that explore new ways to interact with information/media in a library setting.

Over the last two years, there have been several innovative projects exhibited in this space - - which is located in the very front of the library. Among the "transformation lab" themes that projects have revolved around ther has been ... (this is from my memory)... a digital music lab, a news media interactive space (they even had a broadcast studio in it), and an social media exhibit. Sorry, I know I missing others (I just wish I could read Danish so I could find links to all these ultra neat projects).

The Info Gallery is the current exhibit in the Library's Transformation lab and is "internet-based infrastructure for enriching the physical library space with informative arts "exhibitions" of digital library material" Photos of the exhibit can be seen here. What's neat about this project is the way information is retrieved and displayed. The multimedia interface also has several skins that to fit children's and other specialized library needs.

Other interesting projects that Knud shared included prototypes from the Children's Interactive Library: (more info )and other forward thinking prototypes include:

  • The Story Surfer (also here) - includes both an interactive floor map that children can collaborate on to locate materials through a unique interface that requires full body movement and an interactive table which allows then to refine discoveries from the floor mat in order to locate the information that they are looking for. PS: The video is really worth watching if you can wait for the download.
  • Story Finder - an interactive table that lets children explore historical archives (multimedia, pictures, etc) by placing movable objects on top of an projected interactive map. (still looking for links to pictures of this)
  • The BibPhone - see my earlier post on this
  • and more. (Again, this is where my lack of Danish fails me)
I really wish I had the full presentation to reference because there were just so many neat ideas (I forgot to mention the information robot) that they are playing with. What I was so jealous about was that this initiative is being lead, backed and funded by the Aarhus library system in conjunction with the University of Southern Denmark and other interactive companies.

All I can say is what forward thinking -- to use an existing library space as an experimental lab for future libraries - WOW! Does anyone know of a library here in the US that does something similar?

Anyway, if someone has a spare ticket to Denmark just lying around, please let me know. After Thursday's presentation, I feel like a road trip. :)

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