D102: Digital Immersion: VR & AR as Library Services?

Track C: (Jefferson) —  Virtual Worlds & Libraries – Monday 23 October 
11:30 – 12:15

In January of 2017, the McGill Library acquired an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive headset, and a Microsoft HoloLens. These products were made available to students and faculty members through a library space called the Research Commons. The Research Commons already featured technology commonly found in library makerspaces such as 3D printers, 3D scanners, Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi kits, and a data visualization wall, but developing a library service involving virtual and augmented reality technology proved to be a challenge of its own. This presentation explores the difficulties faced by the McGill Library in developing a virtual and augmented reality-based library service. Hear about the many issues we ran into while building out this service, such as finding staff members who were comfortable working with the technology, and properly securing the various pieces of loose, expensive equipment. Learn about who the users of our new service are, how they use the library’s equipment for their own personal and academic projects and the various workshops and events held at the library to promote the service, and what type of response these events received. Get their opinion as to whether or not the attempt to bring virtual and augmented reality technology into the McGill Library was worthwhile.

Presented by: Michael Groenendyk