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Using Mobile Technology to Deliver Library Services

Aug 2012 | 160pp

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9781856048095
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Using Mobile Technology to Deliver Library Services
A handbook

Andrew Walsh

This is an essential practical guide for all information professionals who want to get to grips with or improve their use of mobile services.

Packed with easy to implement ideas, practical examples and international case studies, this provides you with the ultimate toolkit, exploring ideas as simple as renewals and reminders to the more complex such as access to e-books and virtual worlds. Jargon-free coverage of the background and context to mobile delivery will enable you to fully understand the challenges and embrace the opportunities, getting to grips with critical issues such as what sort of services users really want.

Key topics covered include: 
  • context including market penetration, range and functionality of devices
  • texting
  • apps vs. mobile websites
  • mobile information literacy vs. other information literacies
  • mobiles in teaching
  • linking the physical and virtual worlds via mobile devices
  • E-books for mobiles
  • the future of mobile delivery.  
Readership: This is an essential practical guide for all information professionals who want to get to grips with or improve their use of mobile services. It would also be invaluable for museum staff facing the same challenges. Library and information students and academics will find it a useful introduction to the topic.

Introduction and context
  • Introduction
  • Context
  • Outline of this book
  • References
  • Further reading  
1. What mobile services do students want?
  • Introduction
  • Context 
  • Details of the study
  • Attitudes towards text messaging
  • General feelings about mobile services and the Library
  • Potential services
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgement
  • Notes
  • References
  • Further reading   
2. Modelling mobile information literacy
  • Introduction 
  • Areas of variation between fixed information literacy and mobile information literacy, from the literature
  • So what does this mean?
  • Summary
  • References
  • Further reading   
3. The mobile librarian
  • Introduction
  • Mobile support and reference
  • Mobile productivity for librarians
  • Keeping up to date and research tools
  • Summary
  • Notes
  • Further reading   
4. Texting in libraries
  • Introduction
  • Sending messages without a phone
  • Messages from your library management system
  • Text a librarian and more 
  • Teaching using SMS
  • Other services
  • Summary
  • Notes
  • Further reading   
5. Apps vs mobile websites
  • Introduction 
  • Meeting the needs of your users
  • Apps 
  • Mobile websites
  • Summary
  • Further reading  
6. Linking physical and virtual worlds via mobile devices
  • Introduction
  • QR codes
  • Radio Frequency Identification and Near Field Communications
  • Augmented Reality
  • Linking physical and virtual worlds – summary 
  • Notes
  • Reference
  • Further reading   
7. Mobiles in teaching
  • Introduction
  • Should we use students’ own devices, or provide class devices?
  • Using text messages to teach
  • Recording activities (video, audio and pictures) 
  • Shared activities
  • Library trails
  • A window to another world
  • Summar
  • Notes
  • Further reading   
8. E-books for mobiles
  • Introduction
  • Formats
  • Licensing
  • Ways of providing e-books for mobile devices
  • Summary
  • Notes
  • References
  • Further reading  
So what now?
  • Consider what your users want … and what your staff can deliver
  • Start steadily … but don’t pilot
  • Nothing is final … review and assess as you go
  • Keep an eye to the future … but there is no need to break new ground 
  • Summary

"This book is a great starting point for anyone interested in using mobile technologies to deliver library services but not sure where to start. It's easy to read, the language used is jargon free, and the opportunities and challenges are fully explained. However it's not so simple that it wouldn't appeal to those who have a bit more knowledge and I can see myself consulting it regularly."
- Refer

"...a simple guide for library staff from academic and public libraries who wish to integrate new technologies in their libraries and interact with their patrons in innovative ways using mobile devices. It is recommended to university, school and public librarians who are interested in developing different methods to interact with patrons using the latest mobile technologies."


- Australian Library Journal

Andrew Walsh is an Academic Librarian at Huddersfield University who has written, researched and presented widely on the application of mobile technologies within the library environment, information literacy, the use of active learning and using web 2.0 technologies. He won the UC&R Innovation Award in 2009.

1. What mobile services do students want?

This chapter looks in depth at something that is vital to the success of any new library service: considering your users’ wants and needs. ‘What mobile services do students want?’ is based on research done at the University of Huddersfield, updated and expanded to be relevant to any sector. In any project, especially one to do with new technology, we shouldn’t get carried away by our own enthusiasms. Instead, we need to consider what services our users want and would find useful, and focus on those. Everyone should have these thoughts foremost in their mind before introducing any new mobile project.

2. Modelling mobile information literacy

This chapter discusses the development of information literacy in the new,  mobile-dominated environment. It is a first step towards considering what has changed between ‘fixed’ information literacy, where we seek information in set locations, and truly mobile information literacy, reflected in the truly mobile world. It is based primarily on existing literature and, as such, focuses largely on the search process itself, reflecting on how our users may be searching for information via mobile devices. If we can begin to realize what it means to be information literate now, rather than what information literacy looked like 20 years ago, we can begin to consider how this impacts on our
provision of library services.

3. The mobile librarian

This chapter discusses how librarians and information specialists can become more mobile. Covering
areas such as mobile reference and roving, mobile productivity and keeping up to date, it gives practical examples for librarians who wish to take advantage of mobile opportunities in their own work.

4. Texting in libraries

This chapter provides some ideas for how texting can be used in many different ways in libraries.

5. Apps vs mobile websites

This chapter, discusses the issues surrounding the provision of information and services online to mobile devices. It outlines the advantages and disadvantages of two competing ideas – whether we should provide mobile-friendly websites that can be accessed from any device, or
whether we should produce device-specific apps. It includes examples from several libraries to help you to decide which is best for your library service.

6. Linking physical and virtual worlds via mobile devices

QR codes and location-aware applications have really taken off, with the advent of smartphones. QR codes appear to be everywhere at the moment in the UK, and libraries around the world have used them to market or provide access to their services. Increasing numbers of apps for Apple and Android devices seem to want to access the GPS chips embedded in these devices in order to calculate your location, and Google even tweaks your search results so as to take location into account. This chapter considers QR codes, RFID, location-aware services and Augmented Reality to show some potential and practical applications of these technologies. It discusses some quick, free and easy ways to use QR codes. For those libraries that use RFID tags to control their stock, it suggests ways in which to use this technology to provide alternative services. The chapter also outlines ways in which we should be considering location-aware services and how we could be preparing for the Augmented Reality services that are now emerging.

7.  Mobiles in teaching

This chapter introduces some of the multitude of ways in which you could use mobile devices in the classroom, in particular to teach information skills. Including many practical examples and case studies from creative teacher-librarians, this chapter aims to equip every librarian who teaches with examples that they can apply in their own practice. The examples and ideas given are generally either free or low cost, especially when they make use of our learners’ own devices.

8. E-books for mobiles

The chapter discusses some of the issues surrounding the provision of e-books in formats that can be read on mobile devices (as opposed to on a standard computer) and some of the services that are available for libraries.

So what now?

After covering a range of possible library services that can be delivered to mobile devices and giving many examples of how this might be done, this final chapter invites you to consider your next steps. As the first chapters discuss, things are different in the mobile world, but, first and foremost, you should try to deliver services in the way that your users want and need. This chapter helps you to reflect and consider what your users want and what your staff can deliver. It advises you to start steadily, but to introduce full services rather than pilots. It reminds us that no service has to be a final, finished product, and that, for new mobile services, we should review and assess as we go. Finally, it encourages us all to keep an eye to the future.

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