The Library Tour familiarises students with the library at TU Delft in an informal manner. For example, the app shows students how to reserve project space, how the self-service desk works and where to find the massage chairs. It does all of this and more via an interactive floor plan, quiz questions, short films, practical information and fun facts.
TU Delft Library has introduced this app in response to the growing number of international students coming to the university throughout the academic year. To give you some idea of the figures involved: TU Delft will welcome some 1,600 new international students to the university in 2015-2016. This is an increase of 16 percent. The Library Tour has been developed in a way that enables students to explore the library at their own initiative and at a time that suits them.
The LabWerk software ties in seamlessly with what TU Delft Library had in mind for the interactive tour. Karin Clavel, the Library Research & Development Coordinator at TU Delft, comments as follows: “The Library Tour makes it possible for us to cope with large numbers of new students. What makes it so great is that the information they receive on their smartphones continues to be available to them without any time limit. As a result, they can access the app again at a later date or take the time to read the information provided at their leisure. Students learn how to get the very most out of the library. and will profit from this throughout their time at the university."
The Library Tour is based on the mApp platform developed by LabWerk, an Amsterdam start-up. The tour uses the iBeacon technology developed by Apple. iBeacons are small Bluetooth transmitters that send targeted information to any smartphone that is in range. TU Delft Library has a total of 15 iBeacons. Once students have downloaded the app, they receive a notification whenever they are in range of an iBeacon. This enables them to immediately unlock location-specific, relevant information about the place where they are at that time.
Armed with this user-friendly and flexible content management system, TU Delft Library is able to respond immediately to usage figures and feedback from users. An additional bonus is the fact that the university is able to add or change iBeacons and content itself. “The mApp was originally developed for use in museums, was then taken up by Harvard and is now making its debut at a Dutch university. This is a great development”, says Floris Boekel, the CEO of LabWerk.The Library Tour app has been nominated for the 2015 Innovation for Information award. The IVI Award is an annual prize that is presented to the Dutch library, media centre, archive, museum or similar institution that has developed the most innovative informative product, concept or service for its particular public. If you would like to vote, simply visit the IVA award website.