Students who have visited the library recently may have noticed a new addition in the lobby. There is a 3-D interactive display that grants visitors a bird’s eye view, or “street” view, to the first floor of the library.
This display is mainly funded and developed by a research group started last year known as the Digital Heritage & Humanities Collection (DHHC).
According to its website, its mission is to “document heritage sites, landscapes and objects, and to create digital learning tools and collections that promote sustainable heritage tourism and interpretation strategies through the use of 3-D and imaging technologies.”
With a 3-D camera and necessary computer software at hand, the DHHC was able to create this extensive “digital tour.” The tour includes a feature that allows users to click on different locations — such as the digital media commons or library services — to access more information about that section of the library.
Currently, this display only includes the first floor. However, according to the director of the DHHC, Lori Collins, this is one example of what is possible with the new technology.
In the future, the DHHC would like to expand this model to include all floors of the library and make basic tasks such as finding a quiet place to study or locating a book to checkout easier.
It is possible to take this further throughout campus to provide more substantial maps for visitors and students, according to Collins. She also stated one of the group’s goals is to eventually incorporate this idea into an easy-to-use app for students.
This 3-D technology is not simply limited to navigation purposes. Collins said the DHHC is “working in hand with the Digital Media Commons to bring 3-D printing, 3-D scanning and all kinds of photogrammetry tools and 3-D technologies for students to use as well.”
While the DHHC is just starting to explore this mapping technology, it has a more extensive collection of various ancient artifacts and maps that can be viewed on a tablet in virtual reality on the first floor of the library as well.
This can make it possible for students to explore the history of other cultures in a way that a textbook simply cannot. Also, this technology reinvents the typical library experience and makes it more exciting.
“Students can take these objects and go into virtual reality mode and view them in full virtual reality,” Collins said.