University of Oulu

Ylipulli, J., Pouke, M., Ehrenberg, N., & Keinonen, T. (2023). Public libraries as a partner in digital innovation project: Designing a virtual reality experience to support digital literacy. Future Generation Computer Systems, 149, 594–605.

Public libraries as a partner in digital innovation project : designing a virtual reality experience to support digital literacy

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Author: Ylipulli, Johanna1; Pouke, Matti2; Ehrenberg, Nils3;
Organizations: 1Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, P.O. Box 15400, Espoo, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
2Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4500, Oulu, FI-90014, Finland
3Department of Design, Aalto University, P.O. Box 11000, Espoo, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-24


We introduce a project titled as Our Shared Virtual World which aims at increasing public libraries’ capability to provide knowledge on digital technology to general public. The practical goal of the project has been to produce a functional prototype of a virtual reality (VR) application that could be utilized freely in all the public libraries in Finland. In many countries worldwide, libraries’ role is expanding from providers of traditional books to providers of information technologies and related new forms of literacy, and this development provides the broader backdrop for the project. The contribution of the article is two-fold: First, we describe how an immersive VR application can be collaboratively developed within this specific research context, namely within a network of public libraries, and introduce the tangible outcome of the project, the VR application called Forest Elf. Secondly, we scrutinize how results of such a design work can be sustained over time: through participatory design (PD), we aimed at creating conditions which would enable public libraries to continue developing and using the artefact also after the project. We provide insights on how to tackle the challenge of research prototypes ending up being abandoned, and what factors in the context of library partnership support or hamper sustainable digital innovation — digital innovation that is inclusive and equitable but also has a long-lasting impact.

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Series: Future generation computer systems
ISSN: 0167-739X
ISSN-E: 1872-7115
ISSN-L: 0167-739X
Volume: 149
Pages: 594 - 605
DOI: 10.1016/j.future.2023.08.001
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
6132 Visual arts and design
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland research projects DISC 332143 and PIXIE 331822.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 332143
Detailed Information: 332143 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
331822 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (