::::::::::::::::   Anne Hong    
::::::::::::::::   NYU | Tisch School | ITP  
::::::::::::::::   MPS Candidate-2007  
::::::::::::::::   studio@annehong.com  
::::::::::::::::   Networked Objects

Josh Cheng
Anne Hong
Kazuhiro Nozaki
Max Weng


Final Project Proposal

You could tell a lot about people's personal bookshelves by the king of books they are reading, where the book is (specifically the bottom shelf or on their bedside table), how they organize their shelf (prioritizing more frequently or less frequently read books).

Two personal "book recommendation" examples come to my mind:

1) When I used to date my partners, I would always see what books we had in common to see if we were close in personalities.

My Shelf:
My Friend's shelf:

2) In March 2006, I would notice many people (mostly strangers) with the Malcolm Gladwell book Blink. My first observation of someone reading this book was a woman at Starbucks. She had a pile of papers from what I assumed a class she taught. The first paper in her pile had a name and "Psych" label, which also told me that her expertise was in Psychology. I then saw a man reading this book on the subway. My curiosity led me to the public library. When I did a search for this book, there were 252 people waiting to read one of two copies in circulation. So I finally purchased this book online.

We would like to reproduce this experience in our networked objects project. We examined two spaces, the physical and the digital. The physical spaces include public libraries, academic libraries and book stores. These spaces are good at locating a book physically, but do not recommend books. Some have complicated interfaces, such as call numbers which rarely relate to the book. The digital spaces we observed are web sites like Amazon, Douban, Delicious Monster, Bill Monk (just tracks, doesn't recommend) and the Library Thing. Delicious Monster was the closest site with some physical component, but all these sites lack an accurate recommendation system. Amazon is good at recommending books to people who have yet to purchase the book, and Douban is good at recommending books to people who have the same books. None of these digital spaces provide the physical content of the book. We propose that our smart shelf will bridge the physical and digital spaces.

Three User Scenarios

I. Personal Use - Smart Shelf on a personal level will allow the user to create several reading circles, and these connections will be denser.

1. I have a bookshelf.
2. The other people are people I know, like Max, and people I don't know.
3. We share a common thread. We all own Everyware, by Adam Greenfield.
4. At 4:00 p.m., I pick up my book from my shelf. This action indicates that I am interested in the book. At that moment, the site notifies everyone in my reading circle that I just picked up this book. This may interest people in my reading circle to engage in dialogue about the book. For example, maybe Max finds page 273 interesting for a project that we might collaborate. This shelf will be measuring frequency of book taken off the shelf as well as duration. The more books I have in common with a member in my reading circle, the more trust I gain in this person and his/her recommendations.
5. Hopefully, I will belong to several circles that overlap with each other, and a book that I would not normally read on Max's shelf will interest me to read it. A common problem with reading circles, is that they exhibit the "echo" effect (e.g. clusters in network map).


II. Public Use

1. On a Saturday afternoon, Max is bored at doing work at ITP. He decides to got to Barnes & Noble across the street to find some interesting readings about physical computing, but he is not sure which one to pick, and it usually takes him 3-4 hours to browse around.
2. Today is different. There is an LCD display that measures the frequency of books taken off the shelf (Similar to a real-time bookseller's list). He notices that Tom Igoe's Networked Objects book has been picked up 54 times in one day, the most popular book in this section. He scans the ISBN number with his mobile phone to see if there were reviews or specific notes addressing his interests. Wow! This system is great. It looks like a real-time bestsellers list, but encompasses all types of books of specializations and magazines.
3. He also sees a blinking light on the shelf, which indicates Nicole Ritchie's new book is a hot seller. He doesn't know who Nicole Ritchie, but he stops to peruse the book. He decides to just purchase Tom Igoe's book instead.


III. Public Use - In a Community Setting, Library in Japanese Room

1. Josh is in the Japanese room at ITP. He would like some help with code in his mobile applications class. Java is used, but he is confused since there are several books.
2. Luckily, he has a library card. He walks up to the reader, and scans his card, as well as one of the Java books. He skims through the history of notes that other people who previously checked out the book before him to see if anyone mentioned arrays. He puts that book on the shelf.
3. The next book that Josh picks up is Java 2. Bingo! He saw that Kazu Nozaki left specific notes for page 293.


Personal Use. Each book that a user wants to share with the circle will have one unigue RFID tag. That information will be stored on our database along with the ISBN number of the book. That ISBN number is then matched with other copies of the exact same book. Every incidence the book is taken off the shelf, it will ping our database, and then depending on whether members of the circle want to participate, it will log that information in a folder in their account, and if they wish to directly contact this person to start dialogue, they may.

Public Use. Currently, random RFID tags are used in book stores for security purposes. The books have tags, which are on, until the customer purchases the books. The book is then scanned to turn off the tag, so the alarm isn't set off when the customer leaves the store. RFID tags can be entered in our database to count every incidence a book is taken off the shelf. Depending on whether the shelves have LED lights or screens, the display will notify that the customer the most "popular book." This information can be sorted. For instance, Tim O'Reilly's book on the subject of AJAX, may come up to the top of the list for web development tool books. This information may be juxtaposed with other book recommendations scraped from the Amazon site (e.g.
data visualization of book geneology for Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point via back and front citations). Citations also connote a similar type of networked circle, the author's circle.

Community Use. Every book is tagged with RFID, which is also linked to our database. The user must also have a library card, which is assigned to an individual. This book's history is tracked, which may include the user's personal notes. The display will show the history of users for that one particular book. This way, the current user could determine if the book at hand will suit the user's need.