With BOOKit you can exchange books with your community, share your knowledge and meet people who think alike.
Mentors - Stipe Brčić, Feđa Vukić, Luka Borčić
This project was part of my diploma, “Optimization of open-source methodology with the goal of improving community participation.” This platform is a concept that enables user to exchange books they own through a platform. The name derives from Book + Kit = Book it. Simply put – It is a kit for booking books. Books are not physically available in BOOKit, but are represented through a system of cards. One card contains all the information about that book – including user rating, comment, etc. By filling out simple cards, you are making your books available for others
to browse and borrow them by contacting you. Exploring motivation behind users who generate content online led to this project. The goal is sustainability, in person communication and community development. By placing this platform in a community, a niche base of books, seminars or master thesis is created without taking a lot of the physical space. This system can exist online but the idea was to validate if methodology of online systems can exist in a real-time environment, creating an analogue system through which users interact and communicate.
Digitalization of the content enables creation on a level which couldn’t be achieved before. Democratization of digital tools enables us to become a part of the community in ways which were previously non-existent. Today you can find “virtual walls” where people leave their mark in time, just as they would leave it in a real-life environment. Digital culture more and more surpasses our real world. Patterns translated from our real-time environment to digital environment are being abandoned and new tools, which cannot be found in our real-time environment, are created. The patterns of communication in real life are developed more slowly than patterns of online communication.
Accepting new patterns of communication in real life is a now a longer process than accepting new online patterns. The constant progress of communication tools has brought us to the brink of great changes. Just as the production on a conveyor belt has developed mass production, WEB 2.0 user-oriented technology has initiated equal change. We are all part of it and we are all invited to be a part of its creation and development. Can the evolved digital patterns be applied to our environment? The hypothesis of my diploma was to validate if the process of creating user generated content online would be applicable in our physical environment. The goal was to improve knowledge exchange within communities with shared interests.
I based my research on motivation of individuals that contribute content online and to open source projects under the assumption that these individuals would also be interested in using similar process offline. Some of the activities of the research included
I conducted a few diary studies and “on-site” interviews with people I know are into books to get their thoughts about “opening up” their book libraries.
Find environment for implementation of the experiment
It was necessary to find a physical space used by a smaller community. Most of the users in these environments are already familiar with the methodology and system of online contribution.
Develop rules of the proces
It was necessary to develop rules which would define contribution process to the system. Rules will be foundation on how the system works. They can evolve based on the needs and type of the community. It is particularly important to emphasize the motivation of the users and explain the usage of tools and guidelines in a simple manner.
Adjust and test the tools of participation in real-life environment
It is necessary that the methodology of online system maintains its form in the physical environment. The implementation and execution of these tools will depend on the location of the implementation. Interviews, photographing and notes are integral part.
The outcome of the research is that the implementation of the model is applicable on the projects and objects which require changes in the system of organization and engagement in the community. Testing of the project would be conducted in the local community, while the final project could be applicable on the global level, or in other words, it would be accessible to everyone.
The University of Architecture, School of Design in Zagreb is chosen as a platform. The project was placed there in order to revitalize the university library and open the collaboration to students from different years and departments. Students with similar interest based on the books can get in touch and share their experience and knowledge. BOOK It is suitable for smaller academic communities, high-schools, colleges or companies. To present the information more clearly, simplify the search process and categorization, the platform was designed as a system of display packaging which can be modulary adjusted according to the amount
of the information contained. This system proved to be suitable to hold the large amount of information, while at the same time provide user-friendly experience of browsing. As any other online system, this one is also flexible and subject to iteration. That’s why it was essential to develop prototypes. The rules of the system are not strictly defined since users regulate all the processes in the system, which forms a self-sustainable system. There is no mediator or regulator. The community which contributes to the development of the whole system is also the regulator of the system.
To present information more clearly, simplify the search process and categorization, the platform was designed as a system of display items. This system is most suited for large amount of information, while at the same time it provides user-friendly experience. Basic construction of the system is shown in the picture.
Basic unit of the system is a card (form). The function of the card is to keep all the information related to the book which is planned to use in the circulation. It is enough to order empty cards in the beginning of the academic year, and besides ordering, there is no other aspect of system administration. The categories are taken from the curriculum of the College of Design, and they represent areas which are most represented in all the departments.
The process of book “upload” is conducted as follows. After the card is filled and “uploaded” in the system, it becomes available to other users of BOOKit.
In 2012. a collaboration with local community of book lovers, Booksa in Zagreb, Croatia was arranged. We have placed next version of BOOKit there. Categories of books were adjusted and the rule system revised based on feedback from previous version. The goal was to test and gather more feedback within a different community. The experiment pivoted in a way that people used the platform to give away books, which was perfectly fine given that there was not enough space in Booksa to store these books. :)
Bookit V2.0? Looking forward to see if the project can be realized and improved a bit further. Currently the project can be distributed in the form of printable blueprints and card templates so that others in the community can also realize the same or improved project – check out the download link and start BOOKit in your community.