In This Together

We’re all in this together: investigations of a single presentation for books in all formats.

Project Aim

The project will develop effective prototypes for making digital content visible at the physical library shelves. Two mobile software prototypes will make a real-world library’s digital resources visible to the users of its traditional stacks. The two systems will be tested against each other for user effectiveness to identify key elements in the design and development of practical, real-world systems.

Project Significance

Today’s academic library increasingly relies on delivering books and information electronically to students and staff. Library users, however are often only dimly aware of the full range of digital resources available to them. This lack of awareness limits uptake of the costly digital resources libraries invest in, and can in turn result in library users underestimating the value of the library for their discipline.

Print books continue to be a visible and valuable component of library holdings, but new technologies present an exciting opportunity to use the physical presence of books as a pathway to digital discovery. Bringing the physical and digital book collections of an academic library together should encourage users to more readily discover the best available information to meet their needs. This approach offers insights to a new platform for information access in the 21st century library. It will further allow us to develop theory about the interactions between digital and physical resources in the academic library.

Project Team

George Buchanan recently joined the University of Melbourne as Associate Professor and head of the School of Information. Previously, he led the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design at City University of London. George has specialised in the usability of information systems, particularly in improving the ease-of-use of search engines and mobile devices. He has won a number of best-paper awards for his work, an Honorary Life Fellowship from the Royal Society of Arts (U.K.) and over AU$10m in grant funding.

Dana McKay is Australia’s first in-house user experience professional in a library. She is both a practicing professional and an active researcher. Dana has a masters in digital library usability, and is currently working on a PhD in information interaction at the University of Melbourne alongside her role at Swinburne. Dana’s career has been devoted to understanding how people look for information and attempting to bend information systems to their will; she has given a number of invited talks to academic department and library professional bodies on these topics.

Contact Details

Associate Professor George Buchanan,
School of Computer and Information Sciences,
Doug McDonell Building,
University of Melbourne,
Parkville, VIC3010
Phone: +61 3 834 43775

Dana McKay
Swinburne University of Technology Library
PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia


Learn about the project’s finding:

Buchanan, G., McKay, D., and Makri, S., (2019). Take Me Out: Space and Place in Library Interactions. In Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR ’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 45–53. DOI: