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The role of the textile materials library: Providing access to multimodal knowledge in design research

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This article explores the role of the physical and virtual textile materials library as an effective multimodal learning and research tool in its provision of tactile, visual samples, technical data and project application information. The abundance of new materials and their increasing complexity is causing designers to rethink the traditional 'samples in a box' approach. The research uses a case study approach that includes consultation with industry, academia, and a review of four contemporary material libraries to explore the formats that future textile libraries may best take. In considering a future textile library, the authors also examine answers to the question: as the number of textiles available continues to expand, how can physical material, image and text-based library techniques best be combined with the web and digital information to make it possible for colleges, public institutions and companies to keep a textile library updated.

Keywords: design research; haptics; materials library; multimodal knowledge; tacit knowledge; textile design

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ontario College of Art & Design University

Publication date: 2012-10-26

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