OPACs and the Mobile Revolution: As Mobile Devices Become More Ubiquitous among Our Patrons, It Becomes More and More Imperative That We Understand How These Different Devices Display Our Content

By Liston, Samuel | Computers in Libraries, May 2009 | Go to article overview

OPACs and the Mobile Revolution: As Mobile Devices Become More Ubiquitous among Our Patrons, It Becomes More and More Imperative That We Understand How These Different Devices Display Our Content


Liston, Samuel, Computers in Libraries


Since the turn of the century, one of the hottest topics in the IT world has been the coming mobile revolution. While there's been some arguing over the details, the fundamental tenet of the mobile revolution is that lots and lots of people will start accessing web content from handheld portable devices instead of using a traditional laptop or desktop. For evangelists of the mobile revolution, this shift is the logical conclusion of market penetration and growth rates. Forrester Research estimates that there are about a billion computers in the world. In contrast, the International Telecommunication Union estimates that there are about 4 billion live cell phones in circulation today. That's two-thirds of the world's population. As more of these devices come online, making sure that our own resources--such as our OPACs--are compatible with these devices becomes imperative.

Admittedly, the revolution hasn't come quite as quickly to North America as the evangelists may have hoped. We have been hearing about it for 10 years, after all. But in the last couple of years, it appears that a number of large companies have started hedging bets that the revolution is indeed near. Apple threw its ten-gallon hat into the ring with the iPhone. Microsoft has been buying big mainstream ads for its Windows Mobile-based smartphones and touting the new mobility features of its Exchange 2007 email server. Google has also poured a great deal of money into making its applications available on a variety of mobile platforms, as well as introducing its own phone operating system. And longtime player BlackBerry has been seducing a new, less-corporate class of users with its newer Pearl and Curve models.

Marketing hype aside, where do we stand on the whole mobile revolution thing? As you might expect, a lot of it has to do with age and class. While estimates of smart-phone penetration in the general population tend to hover between 5% and 10%, depending on whom you ask and how the word "smartphone" is defined, a recent EDUCAUSE study pegged smartphone ownership at 66% for college freshmen.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As those kids graduate from school, smartphone penetration will skyrocket. Elsewhere on this issue, others will be talking about ways to leverage these mobile devices to provide more compelling services to the public. But the No. 1 thing we do at my public library is to hook people up with physical objects such as books and DVDs. To do that, there's often an OPAC transaction involved. How well can people do that on-the-go? In this article, we'll see how typical OPAC offerings from SirsiDynix; Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; and AquaBrowser appear on BlackBerries, iPhones, and Windows Mobile-compatible devices. We'll brazenly pass judgment on both the OPACs and the phones involved, we'll chat about some other systems, and then we'll look at how you can test your own library's site.

The Big Players

Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (RIM) is one of the long-running leaders in the smartphone field with its popular BlackBerry line of devices. As you undoubtedly know, Apple has enjoyed a great deal of success with the introduction of its iPhone products. Indeed, the popularity of the iPhone has been responsible for a great deal of the growth in the smartphone market sector over the last year.

True to its typical style, Microsoft is not interested in developing phones directly. Instead, it concentrates on developing the software that runs the phones--Windows Mobile. While Taiwanese-based HTC Corp. is the dominant manufacturer of Windows Mobile-based phones, other popular developers include Sharp, Samsung, LG, Palm, and, most recently, Sony Ericsson.

Google is just getting into the game. It's taking the Microsoft approach of writing the software that powers smartphones, dubbing its software Android. At the time of this writing, the only Android-based phone available was the HTC Dream/G1, though large electronics conglomerates including Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson were developing Android-based products that are scheduled for release this year. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

OPACs and the Mobile Revolution: As Mobile Devices Become More Ubiquitous among Our Patrons, It Becomes More and More Imperative That We Understand How These Different Devices Display Our Content
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.