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​iBeacons bring TU Delft Library tour into the digital age

How to save the world with salad dressing or How to win the lottery. Which of these are books at the TU Delft library? Find out with the new TU Delft Library Tour app, a tour of the central library offering a mix of practical and interesting information to students in their own time.

The idea was conceived by the TU Delft Library Research and Development (R&D) team, who along with other departments have spent several months developing the tour. The app uses iBeacons, a type of small blue-tooth transmitter. When an app user comes within a pre-determined range of the beacon, it unlocks specific content for that area of the library. This means that the tour cannot be done remotely, encouraging users to physically explore the library. Each beacon point offers everything from information about the relaxation corner and massage chairs, to how you can buy a pen and borrow a blanket. The app includes videos and photos of the library, made with the help of students.

The information from the iBeacons is also updatable, so things can be added, or removed as the environment changes or as the app is streamlined, without users having to update or re-download the app on their own phones.

Karin Clavel from R&D said the feedback for the app has already been really positive. She explained that they are aiming the app at international students, as they are most often master's students, or exchange year students already familiar with university culture and tertiary study, and so they will be the most likely to seek out the library. The app is also useful for students who miss important facts about the library during introduction week when there is often an overload of new information. They can go back later and take the tour in their own time. She said, "When they are ready for the library, the library is ready for them."

Clavel added that there is potential to use the iBeacons for a number of other projects, however the focus for now entirely on the Library Tour App.

The app is available starting from August 17 in the App Store for IOS users and on Google Play for Android users.

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