CIL 2007 – Trends in Mobile Tools & Applications for Libraries – Megan Fox

Megan Fox – Web and Electronic Services Librarian at Simmons College.

Our users are relying more on cell phones and hand-held tools, so expect that they will turn to them more for their information needs. Want a large range of music, books, movies etc to be able to access, rather than the limited number that they can carry. Devices such as Treos, Blackberry’s, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, iPods, GPS devices, portable gaming devices, even smart watches (M300 out of Australia), etc.

Mobile Market:

  • 75% of adults and 90% of college students have mobile phones
  • 1 in 8 homes no longer have a landline phone
  • 62% of subscribers use text messaging regularly
  • 80% of world is covered by mobile networks

Can use mobile devices to watch multiple TV shows, upload photos to Flickr, use operating systems and slide out keyboards, have great audio quality that means you don’t need a separate iPod or MP3 player. Apple iPhone is more like an iPod than the new smart phones coming out.

New means of using devices includes motion sensing – move the device towards you and it scrolls down, tip up and it scrolls back up. Ultra Mobile Personal Computers – UMPC, now in 2nd generation, much smaller and lighter than laptops, with improved battery life.

Much content has been created for access by mobile devices. New .mobi domain which specifies that the content is accessible from their mobile device. ie. CNN, New York Times, Time Magazine, Pub Med have it, so does the Fremont Library, which gives news, directions, hours and contact details.

ILS vendors are starting to make Mobile Optimized Catalogs – so that patrons can access library catalogues through their mobile device. Sirsi-Dynix, Innovative and even Library Thing have this option. Ready Reference in the form of various e-book publications is available for a wide range of mobile devices, also search with Mobile Ask. E-Books are being provided by Overdrive, NetLibrary and more, which can be used on mobile devices.

As not all content is optimized for the mobile network, so the Transcoded Web is developing to transcribe content to fit into a mobile device. Its not perfect and some content is lost, but its happening. There is, mobile blogger and a mobile My Space version.

Database development has slowed, most being done by transcoders, but watch the industry, it should restart. Can get your content to the mobile device using special RSS feeds – many ways of doing this.

Librarians will need to become proficient in using these devices to enable us to help our users to access content using them.

Mobile search – check out Megan’s Monday presentation.

Content via SMS – you can send a message to Google to do a search and get a snippet back which answers your question. Merriam-Webster has partnered with Ask to provide definitions via SMS, can also do a yellow pages search. Publishers are sending extracts from books out via SMS. Websites are now giving the option of sending content to IM addresses and via SMS.

In Victoria, SMS has been added to the English curriculum at high school(thats my home state!).
Librarians are extending reference services – Altarama in Australia provides a SMS to email to SMS service for librarians/library users. Teleflip and Gizmo SMS are other new services.

Youngest users are still the heaviest users of mobile devices, but the gap is decreasing.
Wakeforest provides a Mobile U service – check hours, search the catalogue and selected databases, they also have voice activated interaction. Mobile devices can be sued to provide instant feedback within classes and can include live polling.

Mobile Audio and multimedia – South Huntington Public lends iPod shuffles with content pre-loaded. Audible Air lets you download audio books wirelessly without having to connect to a desktop. iTunes U is for university’s audio support materials.

Guide by cell for iPods or mobile phones for guided tours, is also being used by libraries not just museums. Could also be used for storytimes and instruction sessions.

Mobile TV can be accessed on phones – over 25 channels available – “place shifted television”. TiVo is also now available on mobile devices. YouTube and Second Life are working on mobile versions. Libraries have produced videos particuarly for the mobile screen.

Library Staff are using mobile devices for behind the scenes work – Sirsi-Dynix has mobile circ, III Wireless Workstation for inventory work at the shelves.

What’s next – many big companies are working on getting ads on mobiles, in each exchange for discounted bills and points systems. Visa and Mastercard are working with phones to make them the credit card to pay for items. Displays are developing, tablet PCs, sunglasses displays, screening onto a seat in front of you. Evovling input – ZenZui using content bookmarked on tiles or icons, zoom in to the see the options until you get down to the content you want. Microsoft Labs is working on a mobile browser – shows a full but small webpage, but can quickly zoom in to the sections you want.

There are still many input problems, some solutions include laser keyboards, photo search where you take a picture and it sends you relevant info ie. barcode brings back product info, book brings back reviews. GotVoice uses voice interaction, Tell Me has been bought out by Microsoft. A lot of work in voice to text. NASA is developing sub-vocal voice recognition.

Location based services – uses GPS to give you the information you require for the location you are at. Involves geotagging. Could we get the library catalogues opening on mobile devices as the user walked in the door?