So this is my theory of convergence. Not to be confused with other convergence theories out there - of which I was surprised to learn there are many. The online trend towards the social and the customisable is being mirrored in the physical world. With the increase in the use of mobile devices, Web 2.0 and social networking has developed in such a way that people expect to interact and engage with the physical world in the same way as the online world. Clients are expecting more opportunities in the physical world for sharing, tagging, interacting and engaging with their surroundings and surroundees.
There are ways that the divide between the physical and the virtual can be bridged with such things as: mobile devices, QR codes, RFID and augmented reality. However, we can go further to enable online communities to remain engaged in the physical world by tapping into what and who people know and how they share what they know. For example 'information commons', or group study spaces have been built into library design with an increasing use of casual, modular furniture that is movable and hence, customisable. These spaces allow casual interaction in the library and create a social space to see and be seen. In a way, breaking down the traditional boundaries between 'work and play'. So what should we do to develop this growing convergence?
- We need to latch onto the 'gift economy' (Us Now film - quite long) and create physical and virtual peer-to-peer learning.
- We need to embed the virtual in the physical by using QR codes in printed library information with links to multi-media content.
- We need to personalise the library experience by using RFID to customise the delivery of services and resources
- We need to customise the physical space by allowing tagging and notes through the use of augmented reality.