As libraries become more media inclusive, one might wonder how library services and resources could benefit from, or potentially contribute to, future media applications. One of the most impressive new media developments in the world is the 4DSound system in Amsterdam. 4DSound is an immersive space that allows sound to be actualized in more than just stereo; its sixteen vertical speaker columns and complex control system can reproduce sounds in a way unlike anything heard before. Listeners can move through the space, experiencing sounds move around them over time – even sometimes giving the illusion that one is passing between the present and the past.
What does this futuristic system have to do with libraries? Well, if the technology behind it becomes more accessible, we could see a huge shift in experiencing media, especially within libraries of the future. If libraries continue aligning themselves with user media expectations, and even become instructional centers for new media, they may soon host experimental spaces similar to 4DSound – spaces for their community to realize applications yet to be conceived. What’s more, imagine how this might impact music librarianship: the release of new 4d-enchanced audio providing patrons a greater sense of how spatial sound is.
Now, of course, not all advances in media forever change the landscape (quadrophonic sound anyone?), but more generally we in libraries should keep our ear to the ground (excuse the bad wordplay…) to know what may becoming, and what we might be able to bring to our patrons if they haven’t brought it to us first.
While you’re waiting for the future to arrive, please enjoy this video of a recent hack session at 4DSound as inspiration: http://vimeo.com/111579911.