The SJSU School of Information is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, and it is important that our students are exposed to various emerging technologies impacting the library and information science field. According to the American Library Association, virtual reality is an important current and future trend. One of the emerging technologies the iSchool is actively exploring is browser-based virtual environments.
Browser-based virtual reality is also one of the easiest VR technologies to learn to use and no special equipment is needed. These three-dimensional environments can be accessed using a computer or you can access it with a VR headset. We chose to use Mozilla Hubs code because it’s “…an open source project that explores how communication in mixed reality can come to life.” (Hubs by Mozilla, Mozilla)
The iSchool Hubs VR project allows students, faculty, and staff to have their own alternative meeting space, or to learn at their own pace how to build these highly customizable environments that are hosted on our servers. Hubs rooms can be used as an alternative to Zoom for meetings (with similar features), but the possibilities are endless. Users can also collaborate with others to create joint projects. To learn more about how VR is being used in libraries, check out our own King Library’s KLEVR Lab.
KLEVR Lab at the King Library
San José State University’s King Library has an experiential virtual reality lab (KLEVR). They’ve had several virtual reality exhibits on different browser-based platforms that work much like Hubs. The KLEVR Lab is always exploring new devices and they have space for people to get hands on experience with using a range of augmented reality (AR) as well as VR devices to experience exhibits like this one in a fully immersive way. The Festival of Lanterns (below) is a beautiful example of a browser-based VR exhibit. Previous browser-based exhibits included a tour of offredas (altars) for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and a 3D tour of San Jose State University’s most iconic locations.
Festival of Lanterns
This exhibit was built in Mozilla Hubs and celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month and features Chinese brush painting on hanging lanterns. Visit the different rooms to see 60 different painted lanterns created by the Chan Lim family of artists. Explore and learn more about the symbolism of this art form and the artists. View the room from the page at https://library.sjsu.edu/festivaloflanterns