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Friday, 21 June 2013

Mobile Technologies for Academic Libraries

By: Noni Makhathini

With the rise in the usage of smartphones, people connect to data wherever they are. Mobile phones can access email, search the Internet, video chat and play games. Academic libraries should seriously consider exploring mobile technology as a way to connect with library users. Most students and academics own smartphones, and they use these to access email and social media. 

 Online databases such as EbscoHost, Elsevier and JSTOR have mobile interfaces or apps. According to the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee, EbscoHost has apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and Android as a mobile interface. Subject Librarians can test how effective these apps are and recommend them to library users.

Examples of mobile library websites are:

      1.      Stellenbosch University Library (http://m.library.sun.ac.za/)                   2.      University of California Riverside Libraries                                                          (http://m.library.ucr.edu)      
      3.      University of Pretoria Library Services                                                      
      4.      Virginia Tech University Libraries (http://m.lib.vt.edu/)

      Please  have a look at some of the interesting websites for creating mobile web sites, OPACs and   applications:

      1.      Android Developers (http://developer.android.com) 
      2.      Airpac (Innovative Interfaces)      
3.      Library Anywhere (http://www.librarything.com/forlibraries)   
      Havelka and Verbovetskaya (2012) recommend using mobile technologies for information literacy.

      As academic librarians we need to keep up to date with emerging technologies and investigate   how we can use them to enhance student learning and access to information.


       ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee. 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries: a review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education. College and Research Libraries, 73(6): 311-320.

      Barille, L. 2011. Mobile technologies for libraries: a list of mobile applications and resources for development. College and Research Libraries, 72 (4): 222-228.