Notes of a Binge Thinker

Thoughts from NTLP's Executive Director

Qwiki – The Information Experience

Now for something a little different….

Qwiki is a different type of tool for our patrons to utilize in their information searches.  In my mind, it is combination of Youtube, Wikipedia and Google.   Basically, it presents you with visual information along with the textual. The visual aspect is done in a very professional way and very appealing to the eye.  It also includes a voice over along with the text of the entry.   They claim it is an “information experience.”

Here is an excerpt from their About Us page.

“Whether you’re planning a vacation on the web, evaluating restaurants on your phone, or helping with homework in front of the family Google TV, Qwiki is working to deliver information in a format that’s quintessentially human – via storytelling instead of search.

We are the first to turn information into an experience. We believe that just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list. Let’s try harder.”

I can see this tool being used quite a bit by students of all ages and those of us who just want a quick explanation of a particular subject.  For example, I typed in my home town of Saginaw Texas and was pleasantly surprised by the response.  It actually had some good information about the town, although it did include a picture of a downtown from another location(I assume it was Saginaw, Michigan).

In order for it to work for libraries in assisting their patrons, I do have some recommendations.  First, they need to explain where they are getting their information.  I know for most people, the information alone is enough, but we as librarians like to know the sources of our information.   It does mention some sources in the voice over and text, but none of the visual components refer to original sources.   In order for it work in a school library and academic library, the tool really needs to bring in links to Google Scholar(similar source) as further reading so the students can use Qwiki as a starting off point for their research.  Right now, they have links to Wikipedia, Youtube, Google and Fotopedia, but more should links should be provided.  Most students will need more substantial material for whatever research they are conducting.

I would also recommend Qwiki hire some librarians to help them with the sourcing issues as well as work with them on information retrieval.  Librarians have been focused on information for 100 years and many of them have skill sets that go far beyond the walls of the library.

IMHO, it would be neat for a library to use a kiosk dedicated to Qwiki.   It could be placed next to the Reference desk and patrons could use it to search for subjects on the Internet much in the same way they search for library material in the library’s OPAC.   You might wonder why this would even be needed since we have public access computers and smart phones (Qwiki apps are on their way), but the computers can often be tied up and despite the rumors, not everyone has a smart phone.

So BTC, take a look at the tool and let the rest of us know what you think.   Have fun!


Written by amwlkaw

January 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

Posted in Misc

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