Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Identifying Key Steps for Developing Mobile Applications and Mobile Websites for Libraries

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Identifying Key Steps for Developing Mobile Applications and Mobile Websites for Libraries

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Mobile applications and mobile websites (MAMW) represent information systems that are increasingly being developed by libraries to better serve their patrons. Because of a lack of in-house IT skills and the knowledge necessary to develop MAMW, a majority of libraries are forced to rely on external IT professionals who may or may not help libraries meet patron needs but instead may deplete libraries' scarce financial resources. This paper applies a system analysis and design perspective to analyze the experience and advice shared by librarians and IT professionals engaged in developing MAMW. This paper identifies key steps and precautions to take while developing MAMW for libraries. It also advises library and information science graduate programs to equip their students with the specific skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement MAMW.

INTRODUCTION

The unprecedented adoption and ongoing use of a variety of context-specific mobile technologies by diverse patron populations, the ubiquitous nature of mobile content, and the increasing demand for location-aware library services have forced libraries to "go mobile." Mobile applications and mobile websites (MAMW], that is, web portals running on mobile devices, represent information systems that are increasingly being developed and used by libraries to better serve their patrons.

However, a majority of libraries often lack the in-house human resources necessary to develop MAMW. Because of a lack of staff equipped with the requisite IT skills and knowledge, libraries are often forced to partner with and rely on external IT professionals, potentially losing control over the process of developing MAMW. (1) Partnerships with external IT professionals do not always help libraries meet the information needs of their patrons but instead can deplete their scarce financial resources. It then becomes necessary for librarians to understand the process of developing MAMW to better evaluate MAMW for better serving library patrons. One possibility is to re-educate themselves through continuing education or other professional development activities. Another solution would be to see library and information science (LIS] schools strengthen their curriculum in the area of management, evaluation, and application of MAMW and related emerging technologies. Issues, challenges, and strategies for providing librarians with these opportunities are abundant and have been debated for more than thirty years, especially since libraries started experiencing the impact of microchip and portable technologies. (2)

Any practical and immediate guidance could help librarians in charge of developing MAMW. (3) However, a majority of the practical guidance available for developing MAMW for libraries is limited to specific settings or patron populations. Also, the practical guidance is not theoretically validated, curtailing its generalizability for diverse library settings. For instance, a number of librarians and IT professionals share their experience and stories of MAMW development to serve a specific patron population in a specific library setting. (4,5) Their stories typically describe their success stories of developing MAMW, the lessons learned during the development of MAMW, or their advice for developing MAMW.

This paper applies a system analysis and design perspective from the information systems discipline to examine the experience and advice shared by librarians and IT professionals for identifying the key steps and precautions to be taken when developing MAMW for libraries. System analysis and design, a branch of the information systems discipline, is the most widely used theoretical knowledgebase available for developing information systems. (6) According to the system analysis and design perspective, development, planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance are the six phases of building any information system. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.