Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Library Mobile Initiatives

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Library Mobile Initiatives

Article excerpt

Libraries are mastering the mobile Web to bring patrons a new set of services-services that their users are coming to expect from communities and content providers. They are leveraging the technology that their patrons are using, such as cell phones and iPods, to deliver robust new services without making users leave their comfort zones. And these portable offerings are serving to integrate library services with patrons' daily lives.

Mobile Library Web Sites and MOPACs (Mobile OPACs)

A growing number of libraries are creating mobile versions of their Web sites for their patrons to access on the go. They are offering information about library services and collections and providing access to library catalog search, portable exhibit information, subject guides, e-journals, and library hours, all formatted for the small screen.

Ball State University Libraries has established a mobile Web presence that offers library patrons a catalog search, journal search, videos about the libraries, information about library collections and services such as ILL and course reserves, and quick links to mobile reference Web sites pertaining to weather, news, search, sports, and finance (see figure 23). The University of Richmond Libraries' mobile site enables visitors to search through the Voyager catalog, access live laptop and PC availability information, and submit e-mail, SMS, or IM reference questions. Ohio library-goers can search the OPLIN Mobile Web site to find the closest public library of the state's 250 branch locations. On the University of Virginia Libraries' mobile Web site, library news and events are displayed as clickable links along with exhibitions information, directions, library hours, and a text-only version of the desktop Web site. The Medical Library at Boston University has made all of its subject guides viewable in mobile format and created search functionality for e-book titles, e-journal collections, bibliographic databases, and the library Web site as a whole. NYU's The Arch mobile portal offers a search of the university's electronic resources collection by title, subject, or format as well as information about the library.

Innovative Interfaces has designed a portable version of its OPAC product called the AirPAC, created for patron use on mobile devices. Libraries using the Millenium integrated library system can opt to use this additional OPAC to provide their users with mobile catalog search capabilities. Through the AirPAC, patrons can retrieve information about checked-out items, due dates, fines, and other personal information and can search the library catalog, place and cancel holds, and renew items from their cell phones. The AirPAC is being used by Wayne State University, the Nashville Public Library, and the Hennepin County Library, among others.

[FIGURE 23 OMITTED]

Mobile Library Web Sites

Ball State University Libraries mobile site

www.bsu.edu/libraries/mobile

UR LibMobile (University of Richmond Libraries)

http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/library/mobile/index.htm

OPLIN Mobile

www.oplin.org/mobile

U. Va. Mobile / Library (University of Virginia Libraries)

http://mobile.virginia.edu/library.php

Boston University Medical Center Mobile Library

http://med-libwww.bu.edu/mobile

Wayne State University AirPAC

http://elibrary.wayne.edu:6060/airpac

Nashville Public Library

www.library.nashville.org

Hennepin County Library AirPAC

http://mplwebcat.mplib.org/airpac

Mobile Collections

Libraries are offering patrons digital media collections that they can take to go, enabling them to benefit from library services remotely.

The Thomas Ford Memorial Library (see figure 24) and the St. Joseph County Public Library are both offering audiobooks ranging from The Devil Wears Prada to Animal Farm preloaded on lendable iPod Nanos for patrons to take with them. …

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