Student Lorianne Ouderkirk Explores Design Thinking and Emerging Technologies

Community Profile

“Design thinking is an approach to solving problems from a design or artistic viewpoint,” Ouderkirk explained. “Using design thinking also helps emerging technology develop, as someone sees a problem and creates a program or software that helps meet that need.”

The INFO 287 course, taught by San José State University School of Information instructors Jeremy Kemp and Lori Bell, focused on using new technologies, like e-reading, the mobile web, and social media, to support libraries. Students worked in teams to collect online documents and curate digital collections of Web 3.0 artifacts.

“The exercise was useful for learning about Web 3.0, and for deciding which technologies will really be beneficial for libraries,” Ouderkirk said. “Often we try to implement new technology simply for the ‘wow’ factor, but in order for it to be a really successful application, it needs to serve a purpose and fill a current need.”

Ouderkirk’s final course project was to research how Quick Response (QR) codes can be used in a library or university setting as a creative way to connect users with information. A QR code is a type of barcode that acts as a hyperlink from a physical object to a website.

“You can put QR codes on printed information like a single brochure or a pamphlet, and users can just scan the QR code with a smart phone to link to a website containing the information,” said Ouderkirk. She suggested that QR codes could also add value to a library display by linking patrons to the location of related materials within the library.

Ouderkirk, a library attendant at a distance learning center, delved into design thinking to create a presentation for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference held from March 30-April 2, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Ouderkirk’s presentation described how design thinking contributed to the continual development of library instruction initiatives at the learning center and encouraged experimentation with new ideas. Her article, “Unsuccessful Does Not Equal Failure: Evaluating the Decision Making Process of Formal Library Instruction Initiatives at a Distance Learning Center Library Using Principles of Design Thinking” was published in the open-access ACRL 2011 Proceedings.

Ouderkirk is planning a career as an academic librarian, where she can continue to conduct research, publish her findings, and help students find the exact information they need.

Ouderkirk enrolled at the iSchool in fall 2009 with three goals: to attend a national conference, to publish her ideas, and to earn her MLIS. She plans to graduate in Spring 2011, and after attending ACRL and publishing her paper, she’s on track to achieve all her objectives.