According to a recent national study of ebook usage, between 2013 and 2014 demand for ebooks grew more among middle school students than any other educational group (School Library Journal, 2014). Gildersleeve Middle School is BYOD (bring your own device) but the library’s collection includes only two ebooks. Our project was to develop a complete proposal for an ebook collection that would significantly expand the existing collection and reflect the culturally and linguistically diverse student population. We developed a proposal that detailed students’ information needs, evaluated several vendors, proposed specific titles for acquisition, developed a budget, and outlined innovative ways to promote the new collection. Now, thanks to this project, the librarians at Gildersleeve have a complete proposal for developing a new ebook collection, as well as a list of recommended ebooks to purchase. The only thing left for them is to implement the proposal and grow their ebook collection.
Echo is an interactive sound visualization tool, designed to help students learn about sound design and audio engineering. Currently, students do not have the resources that they need in order to learn about audio engineering and acoustic environments. Most modern sound visualization tools are proprietary and require industry knowledge to discern meaning from them. Echo aims to help teachers keep their students interested and engaged in learning about sound design concepts by implementing a unique approach to sound visualization. We discovered that virtual reality is the ultimate medium to immerse someone in an acoustic environment, and will promote the highest level of understanding in all of our users. Our goal is to lower the barrier of entry into the professional sound design and audio engineering industry. This will effectively enrich the knowledge pool in the industry, therefore leading to greater insight and discovery for acoustic designers on all levels.
Our planet is in crisis. The twenty first century is the hottest on record and we’re already seeing drought, increased natural disaster events and mass extinction. At this rate, the world that our children grow up in will be very different from what we have today - and we need to include them in the effort to preserve our planet. EcoQuest is a trivia game that teaches children about four animal ambassadors whose habitats and lives are impacted by climate change. The trivia questions follow a proven pattern for inspiring action: learning about an ambassador to build empathy, learning how climate change affects their well-being, and providing ways that kids can reduce their carbon footprint and, in turn, help the animal ambassador. We believe that, if kids can find a passion for the preservation of our planet, they will incorporate it into their daily lives, for the rest of their lives.
Community members turn to their public libraries for reliable health information. Public library staff must remain aware of the most relevant resources and services to refer their patrons to, though many libraries have limited resources to dedicate to staff continuing education on this topic. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region (NN/LM PNR) meets this need by providing free continuing education support regarding consumer health to public library staff and other information professionals in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington states. This project engaged public library staff in Idaho in focus groups and interviews to learn more about their current efforts, needs, and perceptions regarding community health information and services. An analysis of these findings led to recommendations for NN/LM PNR to strengthen their outreach to public libraries in Idaho and elsewhere, to enhance local library responsiveness to community health information priorities.
We are working with the School of Environment and Forest Science (SEFS) at University of Washington towards the mission of making environmental data accessible to Native American people. The researchers at SEFS have collected large data sets related to land cover, hydrology and precipitation to learn carbon emissions and absorption in that area. The challenge that they currently face is to make this scientific data available to the Native Americans in a format that they can relate with and interact. In order to facilitate this, we have integrated the existing environmental and ecological data and created data visualizations as a POC to ascertain that this process can be automated with the real time data. We have also prototyped user-friendly dashboard to present this information to the indigenous people in an intuitive way so that they can evaluate the health of their land and make better decisions about their environment.
With it becoming more difficult to treat acrophobia (fear of heights) through vivo (‘in life’) exposure therapy, how can we provide an exposure therapy treatment that utilizes virtual reality so that those suffering from acrophobia (fear of heights) can gradually overcome these fears in a safe, inexpensive, and practical manner? Everest has created a virtual reality experience that is geared towards those three traits. Powered by the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, Everest separates exposure therapy treatment into 3 stages that will help gradually treat all levels of acrophobia. With this new way for exposure therapy treatment, acrophobia patients will no longer have to overcome their fears in real life situation that risk their health and wellbeing. Instead, this inexpensive virtual reality substitute will allow its users to overcome their fear at their own pace and in the safety of their own home.
In the realm of online content retrieval, understanding user intentions based on search behaviors is essential to connecting customers to the content they seek. Adobe Systems recently acquired Fotolia, a digital asset supplier, to more efficiently provide their customers with quality images and videos from inside their ecosystem. Working with Adobe Stock, we accessed all of their query and content engagement data collected to date. In this formative analysis, we applied natural language processing to search terms. Results were paired with multiple metrics of user interaction associated with Adobe’s content. These data were grouped, or clustered, to reveal hidden layers of similarity across queries. These clusters, representing similar user intentions, help identify Adobe’s underperforming segments of customer interests and behaviors. Once identified, treatments such as user interface modifications, search algorithm changes, or query refinement suggestions can be targeted to queries in the same cluster. This will enhance the Adobe Stock user experience¬ increasing customer retention, satisfaction, and spending.
Seattle’s young homeless population has long been underrepresented—their stories are largely absent from public conscious. In the University District, young people often face discrimination, stereotypes, and violence from University of Washington students rooted in unaccountable misperceptions. Using Unity, Exposure has created a 3D interactive narrative to challenge preconceived notions of homeless youth and allow an audience of University of Washington students to step into the shoes of a fictional young person experiencing homelessness. The audience will interact with a cast of characters and vignettes based upon stories curated through community-grounded research. By exposing our audience to this community, students are encouraged to confront prevailing misperceptions of young people, develop empathy for them, and engage with movements addressing causes of homelessness. Just as film and literature can communicate lived experiences and motivate social change, the use of an interactive medium will be a novel approach to represent a community long neglected.
Modern public libraries are a hub of innovation and information, but among all the valuable services libraries provide, research shows people still visit public libraries for one primary reason: To find books to read for pleasure. This project offers a new way to connect readers with books through an interactive quiz on the San Jose Public Library website. The quiz suggests books from the library’s collection that have been handpicked by library staff members. It can easily be reproduced to recommend books for a variety of genres and audiences, or even to suggest non-book items such as DVDs, eResources or library programs. By directing users to relevant and useful items within the library in their quiz results, this digital tool serves the community by providing expert recommendations and also helps market the library’s various collections and services. Finding your next favorite book has never been easier!
When traveling by airplane it is a known rule that you should get to the airport at least two hours before your flight because you don’t know what conditions are like within an airport. It can be difficult for travelers to navigate throughout the airport with unpredictable baggage and security lines. This can cause travelers to miss their flights, lose money, and waste time. Our project aims to solve this information problem by creating a streamlined, user-friendly application which informs users of airport conditions before their arrival at the airport. FlyMate will provide travelers with the information needed to get to the airport on time, know how long it will take to get through baggage and security lines, and find the quickest route to their gate. This will result in travelers being able to navigate more easily and efficiently within an airport as well as reducing the stress of travel.