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Hack Dibner

A technology and design competition

Hack Dibner - The Challenge

Challenge Statement

To enhance the user experience within NYU libraries through technology.

What is user experience in the library?

In the context of a library, user experience covers a broad number of areas. A student at NYU may use the library as a place to study alone or with a group. A professor at NYU might visit the library to access its collection looking for new research materials. A student may search the libraries' catalog from their dorm room hoping to find an electronic book at 2am. The ease or difficulty in accomplishing the task, the frustration or triumph the patron feels at the end of the process are all a part of the user experience.

Where can technology help?

  • Library Spaces

    • WiFi access, power outlets, and sound-proofing are all examples of technology that enhances a library space.  Can you make our spaces even better?
  • Cataloging

    • Libraries around the world rely on metadata and standardized records to make our resources discoverable. Is it time for a new technology?
  • Searching

    • The card catalog was replaced many years ago with electronic catalogs and databases. NYU subscribes to over 1200 databases and the catalog contains well over 5 million items. What is the best way to find the one resource you need?
  • Reference

    • The library receives tens of thousands of questions from our users each year. These questions come in many forms including in person, online chat, and email. Can technology help answer these questions?
  • Accessibility

    • There are many access points to library collections, including the library stacks, text-based information in databases online, audio-visual collections, and special collections and archives. For people using wheelchairs or with vision or hearing impairments, some of these access points may be challenging. Barring major renovations to the building, are there ways technology can aid everyone in accessing information?
  • Wayfinding

    • Dibner Library is not a huge space, and yet the first few times you enter you may be unsure of where things are. How do you find study rooms, the snack lounge, printers, or the bathroom? Libraries have traditionally relied on printed signs to point you in the right direction. Is there a way to update or personalize wayfinding through digital signage, apps, or AR/VR?
  • And anything else you can think of!

What kind of technologies?

  • Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence

    • The power and practicality of artificial intelligence and machine learning is growing by the day. How can we incorporate it into the library?

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)

    • IoT can be used to generate huge amounts of data and to create connections were they didn't previously exist. Can the IoT enhance the library?

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

    • In the past few years AR and VR went from science fiction to part of everyday life. Can you think of a way they can improve the library?

  • Apps

    • Since the introduction of the iPhone over ten years ago apps have become a part of everyday life. What would a great library app look like?  

  • And anything else you can think of!