Tangible Information Interfaces for Children in Public Libraries.

1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Schrader (ISNM)

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexandra Mazalek (Georgia Institute of Technology)

3rd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jay Bolter (Georgia Institute of Technology)

This work explores how interface technologies based on tangible interaction might help children to fulfill their information needs in a public library, improving also their overall experience in those places. It has been observed that current information interfaces in public libraries, such as Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) are hardly used by children, who prefer to browse the shelves and share their findings with relatives and friends. It is believed that by transferring functionalities of current information interfaces to the physical realm, support for the young patrons can be improved. Research is performed in the areas of children information behavior and information interfaces for children, tangible information interfaces, and tangible interfaces for children. Based on conclusions encountered in literature and observations performed in the context of use, a tangible information interface is proposed and designed, and a semi-functional prototype is built and tested. Finally, conclusions regarding the use of tangible interaction for information access are drawn. Findings suggest that tangible interfaces have a good potential to improve browsing activities through navigation mechanisms that differ from those employed in Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).