Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Microsoft Surface

Engadget has reported that Sheraton Hotels have started to install a few Microsoft Surface stations in their hotels. I think these are one of the coolest things ever for libraries. The Object Recognition element should be fantastic for anyone with digital content which can be used to enhance physical material.

Forget the capacity for actually accessing, flipping pages and interacting with digital content for the moment (although this does take the 'Turning the Pages' idea to a whole new level). Instead I can see the system recognising ISBN'd material lain on top of it from the barcode and unique material from the (equally unique) back surfaces.

From there you can see how interpretive data created by libraries and user comments can be lain around the surface, with the physical item linked to all kinds of complementary digital content - whether it be "See also..." type information, biographies or user reviews. In addition, library services can be marketed by laying them out next to relevant material.

There's not much information on how cultural organisations might use this kind of technology - Microsoft seems to be pitching this at Bars and, obviously, Hotels. It's a shame because I can honestly see museums loving this as a concept - and libraries should too.

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