Ken Varnum - Beyond Reality Expanding Your Library's Services to the Virtual
From Mike Wetta
It’s no longer enough to build library services around the real world. Technology is enabling an entirely new set of worlds for libraries and our communities to explore and build, through the emergence of expanded reality technologies. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality comprise expanded reality -- collectively, they represent new modes for people to learn, experience, interact with, and explore knowledge, places, and activities that would otherwise be inaccessible. What should libraries be doing today to aide their users in these areas? What are the medium- and longer-term plans we should be making? And what in this brave new world might give us pause?
Ken Varnum is the Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Library Analytics at the University of Michigan Library. In this role, Ken is responsible for Library Search, the library's discovery interface, the link resolver and other delivery interfaces, and the library's evolving and emerging analytics infrastructure. He received a master's degree from the University of Michigan's School of Information and his Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College. Over his two decades working with public-facing technology in academic, corporate, and special libraries, he has gained a deep appreciation and understanding of the need to tailor systems and interfaces to the local user base. He is editor of the open-access, peer-reviewed journal, "Information Technology and Libraries." A frequent speaker and author, Ken presents and writes about discovery systems, library analytics, and technology. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, he wrote "Drupal in Libraries" (2012), edited Lorcan Dempsey's "The Network Reshapes the Library" (2014), and compiled four books, including "Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content" (2016), "Beyond Reality: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality in the Library (2019) and the LITA Guide "The New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know" (2019). He blogs at rss4lib.com and can be found on Twitter at @varnum.