Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Indexing Reality

You know that old joke about how one day Google's search capability will be so advanced it can tell you where you left your missing keys? That is, this whole concept of the virtual and the physical will merge together.

Well, apparently a group at Wesleyan University has started down that path. They've labeled physical objects with call numbers that map back to content in the library. As Wesleying explains:

Ever wonder what those call numbers all over campus are from? It's Index.

Index is a large-scale temporary installation that examines the library’s role as an index to the world outside, focusing on the devise of the call number. The world outside the library is marked in the language of the library: vinyl call numbers are distributed everywhere, stuck onto buildings, automobiles, trees, objects, even people (clothing) throughout the campus, and even into the town of Middletown. The call numbers refer to specific books in the Wesleyan library collection that in some way refer to the site to which they are affixed. A passerby could literally take note of the call number, check the book on the on-line catalog system, and find the book, which would inform them about the site.

It's both cool and spooky. Mix in some RFID technology and it's only a matter of time before lost keys will be a thing of the past.

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