By Nicholas Schultz
This delicious image portrays a traditional Japanese Bento. Bento is a single portion takeout or home-packed meal. Traditionally a Bento would hold rice, protein, and pickled or cooked veggies – usually in a box-shaped container – hence “Bento Box”.
Over the last few years, Bento has become the new hip. Culinary speaking, Bento Boxes are being offered in most upscale gastro pubs throughout North America, regardless of cuisine style. It satisfies the hipster’s need to be trendy while not having to cook. It satisfies the Michelin chef’s need to offer chic take-out lunches at a premium price point. The world’s most expensive Bento sold for $229,000.
Now Bento is influencing how we consume information as well. The word “bento” roughly translates to “convenient” or “convenience”. In an embattled library world that has seen many skirmishes between federated searching and web-scale discovery/discovery service iterations, user convenience may be the silver bullet.