Rare Collections Explorer

Hillman Library at University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh was under way with a three-phase project to create a library of the future. Their challenge: As physical texts plays a smaller role in library operations, how do we transform the library experience to become, “an active node in the research and learning network of the 21st century.” Phase 1: How do we get greater value from rare collections without the risk of having everyone handle and damage them.

Potion worked with the Hillman Library team to build the Special Collections Explorer, a massive 112 sf interactive portal where a half dozen visitors can simultaneously access all types of artifacts and texts, from maps and parchment to 3D Physical objects.

Overview

  • Interactive wall for exhibit creation and multi-modal interaction
  • Create interactive maps, timeline, or 3D object exhibits
  • Rare volume e-reader
  • Custom Updatable back-end for all content and exhibit types
  • Mobile UI for accessibility

Credits

  • Potion
    Concept & Design
    Motion Graphics
    Content Strategy
    Software Development
  • Zenith
    A/V Integration for Hall of Honor

Set on the 3rd Floor, the rare collections explorer seeks to promote the use of archival materials for research purposes by students and visitors, make that material accessible, and utilize the expert staff of the library to help provide them with topic specialists. Visitors are encouraged to explore extensive content from the special collections through galleries, timelines, a book reader and a 3D object explorer. With its large scale up to six users can explore concurrently. To improve accessibility, the entire interface can also be moved up or down the screen array. Examples of collections at launch included the George Romero archives, exploration of the Silk Road, and discovery of the history of Noh theatre in beautifully rendered woodblock prints.

Set on the 3rd Floor, the rare collections explorer seeks to promote the use of archival materials for research purposes by students and visitors, make that material accessible, and utilize the expert staff of the library to help provide them with topic specialists. Visitors are encouraged to explore extensive content from the special collections through galleries, timelines, a book reader and a 3D object explorer. With its large scale up to six users can explore concurrently. To improve accessibility, the entire interface can also be moved up or down the screen array. Examples of collections at launch included the George Romero archives, exploration of the Silk Road, and discovery of the history of Noh theatre in beautifully rendered woodblock prints.

For the Noh Drama exhibit, visitors can explore the wood blocks in 3 dimensions and high fidelity to zoom in on details. For the Silk Road exhibit, content can be explored by way of an interactive map that connects various texts and media to better understand their context. In each case, the portal serves as a platform for library staff to determine the best format and arrangement to explain and engage visitors and students. In the end, this platform approach gave them not only a series of exhibitions, but a tool to deliver continuing and new exhibits in multimodal formats so the collection’s true value can be appreciated.

For the Noh Drama exhibit, visitors can explore the wood blocks in 3 dimensions and high fidelity to zoom in on details. For the Silk Road exhibit, content can be explored by way of an interactive map that connects various texts and media to better understand their context. In each case, the portal serves as a platform for library staff to determine the best format and arrangement to explain and engage visitors and students. In the end, this platform approach gave them not only a series of exhibitions, but a tool to deliver continuing and new exhibits in multimodal formats so the collection’s true value can be appreciated.

Credits

  • Potion
    Concept & Design
    Motion Graphics
    Content Strategy
    Software Development
  • Zenith
    A/V Integration for Hall of Honor