What does the mobile, academic eBook of the future look like? Call for Participants for User Experience Testing

We are running user testing sessions, to help us understand how you might want to use new types of digital publications in our collections. We are interested in understanding what your needs are for books published as apps or written specifically for use on mobile devices. If you use such publications in your studies, research or in reading for pleasure, we’d really like to hear from you.

  • The testing will take place on the 7th and 8th of February
  • The one hour session will comprise an interview and interaction with devices pre-loaded with content
  • In return you will receive €50 in cash

Bunnyfoot Ltd., our research partners, are co-ordinating this project. If you are interested in participating, please complete this short sign up form: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4795038/TCDL.

Ideally, you will have some familiarity with using mobile devices to read and interact with eBooks created for mobile platforms and/or web-based interactive narratives. However, there’s no requirement that you are an “expert user” of any kind.

We’d love to include  participants who use these types of publication in their research (e.g. Digital Humanities, experimental literature, Human Computer Interaction, Digital Media, education specialists etc); people who create publications of this type as part of their practice; as well as people who read these types of publications for pleasure.

The Emerging Formats Project

The Library of Trinity College Dublin and the other five UK Legal Deposit Libraries have been collecting various types of born-digital publications since 2013.These publications mainly comprised eBooks and eJournals, as well as archived UK websites. Over the past couple of years, the British Library has started the “Emerging Formats” project, to investigate new forms of digital publications whose structure and interactive features are more complex and pose new challenges in terms of collection and preservation.

This research focuses on three formats:

  • Book mobile apps
  • Web based interactive narratives
  • Structured data

EBook apps are digital books published as mobile apps, incorporating storytelling into the interactive functionality of mobile technology. They often rely heavily on the specific hardware and software they were created for, strengthening the relationship between content and device. They cover many genres, from poetry and academic to cookery and children’s fiction. They are often compared to games, as they require a significant level of interaction and readers’ engagement for the story to progress. Inkle’s 80 Days, Faber&Faber’s T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Nosy Crow’s Goldilocks and Little Bear are all relevant examples of eBook mobile apps.

Interactive narratives are text-based stories which rely on the reader to make decisions to determine how the narrative unfolds. While sharing interactive features with eBook mobile apps (as well as dependency on device functionalities, such as cameras and location tracking), this format is web-based and not packaged as an app. The genres of writing are again quite varied, although fiction seems to lend itself well to this particular format. Editions at Play, a collaboration between Visual Editions and Google’s Creative Lab, has published a number of interactive narratives, spanning from a ghost story personalised to the surrounding of the reader (Breathe) to a Google Street View-based love story (Entrances & Exits).

To find out further information about the Emerging Formats project, please see the project page.