Library Compass

Ray Alexander & Karthik Shivaram

Our Vision:

The term "going mobile" often conjures up images of powerful smartphone applications and hot trends. Placing the power of the library within a smartphone is important, but why not place the power of the library…within the library! What we have designed allows for pervasive digitally-enhanced wayfinding and resource discovery within and throughout the library.

Why restrict discovery to the semantics of a search? Why not explore the richness of a subject?

To that end, our system explores the possibilities of mobile wayfinding within the library through the use of interactive kiosks. Patrons can search for subjects, specific resources, rooms, etc from these kiosks, allowing wayfinding to become a part of the library flow, instead of disrupting it.

Leave the computer, explore the Library!

Find Subjects & Books:

LibraryCompass supports the finding of subjects or books without relying on call numbers. Search queries are translated directly into graphical information.

Find People & Events:

Looking for a person in the library? Looking for an upcoming event? Each search function within LibraryCompass is tailored to the specific needs of that realm.

Find Rooms and Utilities:

Nearest Computer? Printer? Bathroom? Reference Desk? LibraryCompass provides all of this functionality to the user through easy-to-navigate buttons.

Find Almost Anything:

No need to search? Move through the library buildings using our interactive maps, zooming in and out and switching floors in a responsive manner.

Our Report:

View Report PDF

View Appendices PDF

The report we have drafted explains our design decisions and the rationale behind them, as well as outlining the technical aspects of our system. It can be viewed or downloaded as desired.

Additional work, including diagrams and scenarios, can be viewed in the Appendices.

Our Prototype:

Interactive Prototype

(Any and all feedback is welcome and encouraged at

This rough mockup communicates the type of functionality we are trying to accomplish. However, building a prototype like this really only highlights how much more can be done, including:

Additional Resources:

Included below are the full size schematics shown in our report, as well as a video of our paper prototype in action.

Our Paper Prototype:

Paper Preview

Video Explanation

This video outlines the search functionality of our prototype. Please excuse the audio...I had a headcold.

Our Concept Map:

Concept Map

This document was created to gain a better understanding of the wayfinding environment, including the needs of the user, the current system, and possible methods. Some interesting functionality, such as Emergency Use, was discovered here.

Our Schematic:

Backend Schematic

This document outlines the high-level functions of the 'guts' of our system, and was created in order to give any programmers working within the system a template view of our understanding and conceptions.

Our Sketches:



These sketches we some of the earliest visual representations of the system. Some of the features in the final prototype are recognizable within these sketches. Some of them are crazy...

Our Interaction Map:

Interaction Map

This document can serve as a rough schematic for the interaction within the prototype. It does not include the specifics of the Paper Prototype.

Our Navigation:

Nav Example

This document shows a static rendering of how we have conceptualized the dynamic turn-by-turn navigation appearing on the screen. The red line would vary based on origin/destination in a live deployment.

Our QOC Analysis:

QOC Diagram

This document visually lays out some of the design decisions referenced within the paper. The relevant options were all laid out and then relevant criteria were applied to each one. This process was important for the final form of the prototype.

Our Storyboard:


This document provides a visual representation of Scenario 1, as told within the paper. It was valuable in terms of conceptualizing the context of use for these kiosks within the physical space of the library.


We are the copyright holder(s) of this submission and related materials. We grant the University of Michigan University Library non-exclusive rights to develop designs outlined by competition entry submissions in any and all media, for non-commercial library purposes, with attribution to us.
© Raymond Alexander
© Karthik Shivaram