Mobile computing and libraries


'Transforming library services with mobile technology.' By Ben Showers. Research Information/analysis & Opinion. 4 December 2012

Snippets from the article:
What strategies and processes are libraries employing to help develop the capacity and skills needed for this new service development? How can specific technologies like mobile be used as a way to explore and share ideas and inspirations for how libraries can develop services, and exceed user expectations?

These were exactly the questions that led to the Mobile Imaginations workshop that opened the recent Fourth M-Libraries conference: From Margin to Mainstream, at the Open University, UK.

JISC m-library project

The aim of the m-library community support project as part of the JISC Mobile Infrastructure for Libraries programme is to:

provide a mobile library community support project to help support and engage the emerging m-library community by reviewing and synthesising existing research and evidence-based guidance

The project runs from November 2011 until August 2012 and is a collaboration between Evidence Base and Owen Stephens Consulting.

Projects outputs can be found via the m-libraries community support project blog and include the Mobile technology in libraries: information sharing event (see series of blog posts on sessions from event ) and a fact finding survey undertaken Nov 2011-Jan 2012 (see series of blog posts on survey analysis ).

Case studies (examples of current mobile technology initiatives in libraries)

Pathways To Best Practice Guides (overview of ways mobile technologies can be used to deliver benefits to libraries and lessons learned so far)

Mobile apps poll

In March 2011 Timothy Collinson, Faculty Librarian (Technology) of University of Portsmouth carried out a very small poll of what UK university libraries are doing with mobile apps. The results can be found here:

Background resources

The following blog post is useful and contains helpful links
'Designing for Mobile Devices in Higher Education Research. December 21, 2010

A 2009 blog entry with links to other resources is 'Always on: libraries in a world of permanent connectivity'.By Lorcan Dempsey. lorcan Dempsey's WebLog. January 7, 2009

'Mobile' featured in the June 2010 ALA conference as one of LITA's 'Top Tech Trends.' Here's what Lorca Dempsey had to say.. 'Mobile .. Top Tech Trends 1' By Lorcan Dempsey. Lorcan Dempseys's Weblog. June 29, 2010

'...The first trend I chose was somewhat broad: mobile. I discussed five ways in which mobile is impacting our services:

1. Atomization: get to relevance quickly. Mobile encourages designers to think of atomic services rather than complicated workflows or rich multilayered experiences. And to think about services that are immediately relevant and convenient. Room or equipment booking or bus time tables may become more visible, for example.
2. Localization: where you are can matter. WolfWalk is a nice example of a library application which is location aware. It associates materials from NCSU's special collections with historic buildings on campus. "The application supports a map view with geotagged placemarks for 90 major sites of interest on the NCSU campus, and a browse view for quickly locating a known site by name."
3. Imbrication: our physical and digital spaces overlap. Andy Walsh, of Huddersfield University, for example, discusses how QR Codes (and RFID tags) can be used to connect library places with network information services. And I was interested to see a QR code prominently displayed on one vendor booth at ALA providing a link to further information online.
4. Socialization: microcoordination and ad hoc rendezvous affect how we think about space. Mobile communications allow us to coordinate as we go: let's meet up in an hour in Starbuck's; I am in Target, will I buy these ones?; I thought you were going to be here 15 minutes ago? I have written before about Starbuck's as 'on-demand place' for the type of ad hoc rendezvous that we are now used to. William Mitchell has written about how this affects our need for different types of space, and we can see how this impacts library space:

"The fact that people are no longer tied to specific places for functions such as studying or learning, says Mr. Mitchell, means that there is 'a huge drop in demand for traditional, private, enclosed spaces' such as offices or classrooms, and simultaneously 'a huge rise in demand for semi-public spaces that can be informally appropriated to ad hoc workspaces'. This shift, he thinks, amounts to the biggest change in architecture in this century. [Economist. "The new oases," (10 April, 2008). Quoted here.]

5. Mobile and cloud go together. We have multiple connection points which offer different grades of experience (the desktop, phone, xBox or Wii, GPS system, smartphone, netbook, Internet radio/music streaming, and so on). While these converge in various ways, they are also optimized for different purposes. A natural accompaniment of this mesh of connection points is a move of many services to the cloud, available on the network across these multiple devices and environments when they are needed. This means that an exclusive focus on the institutional Web site as the primary delivery mechanism and the browser as the primary consumption environment is increasingly partial.

Spectrum > Mobile Learning, Libraries

A useful resources with links to useful items is the Spectrum > Mobile Learning, Libraries, And Technologies blog
'Spectrum Is Devoted To Documenting Any and All Topics Relating To Mobile Learning, Mobile Library Services, and Mobile Technologies'.