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Applications of metaverse-related technologies in the services of US urban libraries

Yajun Guo (School of Information Management, Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, Zhengzhou, China)
Yiming Yuan (School of Information Management, Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, Zhengzhou, China)
Shuai Li (School of Information Management, Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, Zhengzhou, China)
Yiruo Guo (School of Information Management, Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, Zhengzhou, China)
Yiyang Fu (School of Information Management, Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, Zhengzhou, China)
Zihan Jin (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 4 April 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the applications of metaverse-related technologies in US urban libraries, explore excellent cases of US urban libraries' practices in using metaverse-related technologies to serve patrons and try to find the factor that may affect the application of metaverse-related technologies in libraries at this stage.

Design/methodology/approach

To gather information about how and whether libraries use metaverse-related technologies such as three-dimensional (3D) technology, radio frequency identification (RFID), virtual reality augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) in their services. Firstly, the authors visit 150 US urban library websites that are members of the Urban Libraries Council. Secondly, the authors calculate the proportion of services provided by urban libraries that use metaverse-related technologies and introduce outstanding cases. Lastly, the authors discuss the factors that influence the application of metaverse-related technologies in urban libraries in the United States based on data published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Findings

Metaverse-related technologies have been widely used in US urban libraries, but there are differences in the popularity of the applications of different technologies. In all, 84% of libraries use 3D technology, mainly in 3D printing services and 3D model building services; 76% of libraries use virtual and augmented reality technologies in their services, mainly concentrated in head-mounted VR device experiences, AR device experiences, virtual tours and virtual exhibitions; 62% of libraries use Internet of things (IoT) technology, mainly in self-checkout machines and book location services. However, AI technologies are less used in libraries, with 28% of libraries mentioning the applications of AI in their services, mainly focusing on intelligent search, virtual assistants and robot librarians. In addition, this study finds that library operating expenditures and population served do not affect the application of metaverse-related technologies in libraries.

Originality/value

This paper provides updated statistical data on the use of metaverse-related technologies in US urban libraries and aims to help library managers understand the overall applications and best practices. With this as an inspiration, they could formulate corresponding development plans to better serve their communities with metaverse-related technologies.

Keywords

Citation

Guo, Y., Yuan, Y., Li, S., Guo, Y., Fu, Y. and Jin, Z. (2023), "Applications of metaverse-related technologies in the services of US urban libraries", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-10-2022-0486

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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