May 17, 2022

University of Washington’s Health Sciences Library Invests in New Virtual Reality Lab

From The Daily of the University of Washington:

“What would a medical library look like 20-25 years from now?” Tania Bardyn, director of the Health Sciences Library, asked. “Will it have stacks? Probably not. Do researchers find it of value? They do, because frankly, it’s a data space and a place for driving innovation and discovery.”

The UW Translational Research and Information Lab (TRAIL) finished construction about a year ago and is now making new technology services for health sciences team meetings. This includes a floor to ceiling monitoring screen, Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) technical training, and stereoscopic headsets for virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR).  


“I surveyed over 140 academic health sciences libraries in May 2017 to investigate the current state of VR studios and VR uses,” Bardyn said. “We wanted to understand which libraries are thinking about developing VR studios.”

They found that seven other university libraries have a VR lab or are in the process of building one. After submitting their detailed final project proposal [to IMLS], Bardyn and her colleagues are continuing development of TRAIL’s available services and writing a primer to help other libraries build a successful VR environment.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.