National Library of NZ

Finding personal connections with a collection

Curate your own collection

National Library of NZ
Experience yourself
View Project
Interactive Installation

The Challenge

Create a way for the public to connect with the content housed in the various collections at the National Library.


We conducted paper testing with our audience to see if we could create these emotional reactions through the content they might discover. What would get them engaged? What would keep them wanting to explore more, and create their own personal collection? It was obvious people enjoyed rummaging through the search results; we quickly agreed that replicating that enjoyable physical experience could be done through a large-scale multi touch table.

The Idea

Present content in ways that are personally relevant to the user, in order to first get their attention through triggering memories and making connections with them emotionally.

The Tech

We tested various technologies to settle on the final version that tracks 32 touch points, is 3 metres long (135" diagonally), and has a resolution of 3840 x 1080 pixels. We built the table ourselves, beginning with a small-scale prototype and working up to the finished table that sits in the National Library's foyer today.

The Results

Visitors are discovering content that reminds them of toys and books from their childhood, pop music from their teenage years and the major events from throughout their life-time to the present day. There's undoubtedly an emotional connection there; users can create their own lifeline, adding objects from places in NZ that they relate to, or from family members whose records they can browse. Their Lifeline becomes a personal connection that they can share with others via the web.

Work index