Friday, July 6, 2012

Considering gamification of work and study and applications to libraries

I have not been sharing much of my informed research or opinions recently. Much of that writing is taking place in my papers for the directed reading courses. In fact, until the end of August, I may not have much to say about my thesis ideas and its evolution, as I am currently saying it else where and revising it as I 'perform' it in narrative in those papers to submitted.

However, I do have some ideas to share. For example, I am thinking about improving human productivity through what is known as gamification. For those who have never heard of the term gamification, you can check out the definition on the website Gamifying or Lee and Hammer (2011). I recently learned the term after attending the CAIS conference poster sessions, where I interacted with a poster presenter that discussed applying gamification to create an app to help persons conserve energy and help the environment.

Earlier this week however, I thought about gamifying the research process, especially for persons who have to conduct literature review or readings,  by creating an app that awards points or some scoring system for each research article read. To make it more interesting, make the app run on Facebook so as to gamify the research process and make it social: where persons can compete with their Facebook friends or other colleagues to see who read the most research articles.

However, now I am thinking about it as a tool that managers could use to increase productivity in the work place. Each worker participates by inputting the number of tasks, and check off each that is completed. In the end, the computer scoring system would indicate their score awarded for each task completed, as well as comparisons with other workers. The computer game system could then distribute awards like the most productive worker - with the most tasks completed in relation to the number of tasks they have to get done.

For university libraries too this system could be rolled out for both students to engage their use of the library's resources and for staff. For students, the resources read could come from the online library catalogue or OPAC. Students could check off resources read and the system automatically calculates how many pages were read and compares their scores with other students in their discipline or faculty or course. Libraries would also get feedback about what students are reading that could inform collection development, as well as to indicate alternative metrics of the value that libraries provide, not just storing the number of hits on a resource, but rather the number of unique hits and number pages and resources read by all students within any given time span.

Library managers could also apply the system to library workers, as a project management tool to help make workers more productive by motivating them to perform through achieving high scores, which can result in both virtual and real rewards.

What do you think?


Gamifying (2012). "What is gamification?". [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed July 6, 2012].

Lee, J. J. & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly 15(2). Available at:

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