Library magic in a box

In a first for Australian local government, City of Gold Coast Libraries has introduced a MagicBox to bring library content to life for their customers.

The MagicBox technology brings physical objects and digital content together, displaying images, publications and videos interactively with 3D capability alongside physical objects, creating a fascinating hands-on user experience.

Newly installed in the Gold Coast’s Local Studies Library in Southport, the MagicBox enables City of Gold Coast to offer an entirely new way for customers to access rare and valuable material, including heritage images, newspapers and books, film and video clips, set against a backdrop of some of the physical objects themselves that are too fragile to handle.

The MagicBox produces a 1.2 metre transparent and touch-sensitive layer of digital content that visitors can browse, while at the same time having full sight of original items behind glass.

The digital content is not projected on the glass, it is in the glass. Rare publications, up until now limited to a display spread, are now at the fingertips of the user, who can virtually leaf through the superimposed pages.

City Librarian Marian Morgan-Bindon said the MagicBox creates new opportunities for both customers and library staff.

“Until now, the best access we’ve been able to give our customers to digitised content has been through a standard PC or device screen. The MagicBox creates a whole new experience, which will reach many more customers, enabling them to see and explore content that may previously have been more limited. Our staff can continuously add to the device, and change content frequently to maintain an engaging user experience that fires the imagination,” she said.

The product has been developed by German firm Content Conversion Specialists, and introduced to Australia by DatacomIT. It is also in use at a number of National, State and University museums and libraries around the world.