Skills and Background
Based upon the work we had begun with some of the pre-evaluation processes and with working with the academics and librarians, we determined that a certain amount of training was necessary: in the first instance with the academics and librarians who were going to be working with the project directly and then with the students to ensure that they had ample experience with the app prior to actually beginning their work within the Library for their course. As discussed in the relevant blog posts, once the preliminaries of the initiation were complete, we set about putting together various means, including workshops, presentations, and demonstrations to help develop the necessary skills and understanding of the materials and how to access them.
According to Andy Land, Digital Systems Manager for the University of Manchester Library, “It is the ambition of the Scarlet project to pull in a wide range of related digital assets from multiple sources when viewing a particular object. Many of these assets are held within the University of Manchester Library systems and one of the issues for the project to consider is how to enable integration between these systems and the AR browser, ensuring a positive and seamless experience for the user.”
The delivery of the training was done via various means to establish context and contact with the relevant users, again namely students, academics and librarians alike:
- Initially, Andy Land put together an evaluation of the system integration and the digital assets at the John Rylands Library at Deansgate, as a means of helping the technical end of the SCARLET team to use a framework which could accommodate the environmental confines of the Library, i.e., the limitations of the physical space with the technological interface.
- This in turn helped to determine that JUNAIO was the best framework, in part because it was open access and had the advantage of being more mature than some of the rival products also available.
- A workshop was run by Andy Land, Jo Lambert and Matt Ramirez , presenting AR and the app to archivists and librarians from institutions other than Manchester.
- This work and the subsequent blog post also lined to Alison Cullingford’s blog
- In each of the Focus Groups, Matt Ramirez gave a brief presentation on how to use the iPads, which had been made available through the John Rylands Library at Deansgate, with the app, as well as iPhones and other smartphones.
- During this time, students also had the opportunity to focus the technology onto the images prepared and see first-hand what sorts of resources were available via the app.
- A SCARLET demonstration channel was set up in Youtube to showcase the app, as well as the academics talking about their specific parts of the project; these included Guyda Armstrong talking about the pilot course, “The Book and its Body” and Roberta Mazza talking about the world’s oldest fragment of the Gospel of John, which is also exhibited at the John Rylands Library at Deansgate
- SCARLET team members attended various conferences to talk about the work being done with the app, as well as explain potential future developments.
- A user journey was put together and made available on both the blog and the discussion channel to highlight what we thought would be how the end-user would access and respond to the app. Feedback from this looped back to development, as we discovered how users were potentially working with the app in unique or idiosyncratic ways.