The Challenge of the Intelligent Library


There has been plenty of hype over artificial intelligence and the internet of things. Is it time to put aside the cynicism that this kind of hype generates and look seriously at how we can take advantage of these emerging technologies to improve the student experience and build an intelligent library?

The internet of things makes it possible for us to gather real-time data about the environment and usage of our library spaces.  It is easy to imagine using this data to ensure the library is managed effectively, but could we go further and monitor environmental conditions in the library, or even, using facial recognition software, student reactions as they use the library so that we can continually refine the learning experience?

The background to the Jisc Intelligent Campus project was the basis behind my recent keynote at the CILIP UKeiG Meeting in London on the 26th June 2018.

I discussed firstly the concept of the Intelligent Campus which describes what we at Jisc understand by the term and how it is different to the ideas of a smart campus or smart buildings. I then talked about the Intelligent Library.

creepy library

I also covered the issues in this area, which includes of course not just GDPR and data protection, but also the huge ethical issues that arise when tracking users of the library in not only in what they use and borrow but also their physical movements around the library. I also brought up the technical and validity challenges in using data and analytics and the importance of understanding the narratives behind any data story.

There were some great questions for the audience and a lot of interest in this topic, and the conversation continued over lunch.

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