Course Description:

The Crossett Library is the site for this year-long creative exploration into how technology can enhance, augment, or change the dynamics of interacting with the architecture, information and occupants of the space. During the term we will critically investigate current library usage and explore scenarios that draw upon or are inspired by RFID, touch screens, ambient informatics, social networking, location awareness, open source, data mining, mixed reality and others. You do not need to be an artist, computer programmer or technologist to meaningfully participate in this course. Students who possess skills and knowledge from the following discipline areas are especially encouraged to participate: Digital Arts, Computing, Psychology, Architecture, Anthropology.

This Mellon Foundation funded course is a collaboration among faculty, staff, and students. Research and work will lead towards the creation of new and innovative library experiences. Part 2 will take place during the Spring 2008 term. Students interested in being a part of the technology team should also register for Joe Holt's Code Critique (CS 4347). The course includes participation from several faculty and staff including, but not limited to, Oceana Wilson and Preston Noon.

Wednesday, 2:00pm - 6:00pm


Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successful completion of the assigned work. There are readings/research assignments, weekly discussions, student presentations, critiques and the production of work during this course.

Students are expected to be present for all class meetings and be able to participate in small group collaborative efforts outside of scheduled class time. Please email us if you must miss a class. More than 2 absences will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following: Participation/attitude, creative/conceptual work, ability to collaborate/work in small groups, and progress over the term.


All students are expected to contribute in class on a regular basis. Each student is also expected to create and maintain a personal web space (wiki based) for this class. All research, documentation, and creative work should be posted on your site for peer review and comments. Individual wiki pages should be updated regularly and include all of your work for this course. In-class presentation materials should be located on your wiki page.

Reading responses:

Students are required to take notes and write brief responses to all readings. Notes/responses should be posted to your wiki page prior to the start of each class.

Office hours/help:

We are available for help or to discuss the class via office hours and email. If you would like to schedule a time to meet with us, please email--do not leave voice mail!

Preston Noon is the Digital Arts Technician and has regular office hours each week. For more information, please visit the POD website.


The Art of Interactive Design: A Euphonious and Illuminating Guide to Building Successful Software, by Chris Crawford, No Starch Press, 2002

Experience Prototyping, Marion Buchenau, Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO San Francisco, 2000

Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Birkhauser, 2001

Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge, MIT press, 2007

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing, Adam Greenfield, New Riders, 2006

Joel on Software, Joel Spolsky, Apress, 2004

Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks, Mark Buchanan, Norton, 2002

Observing the User Experience: A practitioner's Guide to User Research, Mike Kuniavsky, Morgan Kaufmann, 2003

The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau ; translated by Steven Rendall, University of California Press, 1984

Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design, Lucy Bullivant, VA Contemporary, 2006

Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order, Erving Goffman, Basic Books, 1971

A Short Introduction to the Art of Programming, Edsger W.Dijkstra, 1971

Site Specific Art: Performance, Place and Documentation, by Nick Kaye, Routledge, 2000

Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art, Erika Suderburg, editor.

Spychips, Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyere, Plume, 2006

Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century, Jonathan Crary, MIT Press, 1990.

The Poetics of Augmented Space, Lev Manovich, 2002-04

This schedule is a guide and will change over the course of the term, check back often.

Part 1: Site Specific: Observation and Assessment

Session 1: September 5

Introduction to the course.
What are we doing?
A history of libraries.

Session 2: September 12

Discussion of ideas generated from collaborative project #1 and readings.


- The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges
- From Site Specific Art Mapping Site: Robert Smithson, Pages 92-105


Reading response.
Collaborative project #1: Teams of two. Spend several hours in the library over the next week observing how the library is used. What spaces are popular and what do people do in them. Record/describe what you see including times/days you were there. How does the space feel, smell, sound, move, change over time?
Mapping excercise.

Session 3: September 19

Discussion of ideas generated from collaborative project #2 and readings.
- Guest: Elissa Tenny, Research Methods.


- From Everyware: Introduction and Section 1: What is everyware? Pages 1-34
- From Relations in Public pages 3-27


Reading response.
Collaborative project #2: Teams of three: Drawing upon what was learned from the first week and our discussion, begin to imagine different ways to interact in the library. What could you change about current practices? What would you preserve? How can technology aid in you ideas? Be playful, be bold and keep it simple!

Session 4: September 26

Discussion of reading.
Organize teams/define goals: Graphics, Interaction/experience, Technology (all will have cross-over)
Introduction to ruby.


- From Everyware: Section 2: How is everyware different from what we're used to? Pages 37-87
- From A Short Introduction to the Art of Programming, Read sections "Preface" and "Some Fundamental Notions" down to the paragraph that begins "The moral of this story..."


Reading response.

Session 5: October 3

More Ruby.
The Dark Side: pros and cons of technological augmentation.


- From Design Noir, Introduction pages 15-43
- From Spychips, Tracking Everything Everywhere and Spychips 101 pages 1- 22


Reading response.
Ruby assignment.
Report from groups on established goals, work to be done and schedules.
Part 2: Prototype: Practice and Play

Session 6: October 10


- Experience Prototyping, Marion Buchenau, Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO San Francisco, 2000
- From Joel on Software


Reading response.
Group presentations of research related to their theme.

Session 7: October 17


- From Observing the User Experience


Reading response.
Draft design of prototype.

Session 8: October 24


The Poetics of Augmented Space, Lev Manovich


Reading response.
Putting our ideas to the test: Design an experience prototype and test in class.

Session 9: October 31


From Communication Pieces: Community and Commuinication in Modern Art, Grant Kester. Pages 17-49


Reading response.
Part 3: Prepare: Revise and Ready

November 7

Plan Day: CLASS WILL BE HELD 4:30-6:00
Group work on idea resolution.


From Communication Pieces: Community and Commuinication in Modern Art, Grant Kester. Pages 1-16


Reading response.
Group work on idea resolution.

Session 10: November 14

User Experience


Puclic Space in a Private Time by Vito Acconci, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 16, No. 4. Summer, 1990.


Reading response. User Experience work.

November 21

Thanksgviving Holiday, NO CLASS

Session 12: November 28

Spring Registration: CLASS WILL BE HELD 4:30-6:00 Revision work and discussion.




Reading response.

Session 13: December 6

Last Class. Revised prototype. External critics.