Page 35 - Campus Technology, October/November 2018
P. 35

A Mobile Guide to Library Resources
St. John’s University’s BKFNDr app uses beacon technology, location coordinates and detailed mapping to help students find the right books on the library shelf.
St. John’s BKFNDr app
Category: Student Systems & Services
Institution: St. John’s University
Project: BKFNDr Mobile App
Project leads: St. John’s University Libraries Web & Emerging Technologies team
Tech lineup: Apple, Ionic Framework, Radius Networks
IT IS A DIFFICULT FACT of life for university libraries that circulation statistics for print materials have been steadily declining, despite the fact that there are a lot of print materials that students would find useful.
Determined to see if a novel approach to locating materi- als could have an impact on this trend, St. John’s University Libraries (NY) created its own wayfinding app that takes advantage of beacons to cut down on the amount of time students spend wandering the stacks looking for books. The BKFNDr project was built from the ground up with no
off-the-shelf or proprietary software and is completely tai- lored to the St. John’s environment. It features full catalog integration, so that students can move directly from search- ing the library catalog to finding the items on the shelf.
Valeda Dent, dean of St. John’s University Libraries, had previously worked on a project involving RFID technology for wayfinding at another university. But with RFID, every item has to have a tag, she said, which makes the project labor-intensive and expensive.
Instead, the Emerging Technologies team in the library zeroed in on a “proximity” model, using beacons to get stu- dents close to the resource they are looking for. “It is more cost-effective, and deploying the beacons is much easier than RFID,” Dent said. “If your collection moves, you don’t have to replace the beacons; you can just reprogram them from your mobile device.”
In a nutshell, here is how St. John’s BKFNDr mobile app works: Students download the app onto their mobile de- vices from the Android or iOS stores. (Students are also prompted to make sure that they have Bluetooth enabled.)4
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | October/November 2018
Photos: St. John’s University

   33   34   35   36   37