On February 17, I attended the keynote session entitled “This is Now: The Mobile Library” as part of the Handheld Librarian Online Conference. The presenter was Joe Murphy who received the Library Journal ‘Movers & Shakers” award in 2009. As a “trend setter,” Murphy believes that librarians need to think mobile about library services. As librarians adapt to the mobile revolution, there will be new expectations and frontiers for us to explore. Murphy stressed the importance of “mobile friendly library spaces.” In addition to creating library spaces for our mobile users, librarians should be gaining the skills and knowledge to offer effective mobile services. As he noted, we need to take steps to “keep the library at the center of the mobile information world.”
In the '2010 Handheld Librarian' Category...
Minglu Wang talked about how to develop applications for iphones/mobile devices. She started out with a survey of what platforms people used. 69% of attendees were iphone/ipod users :). Who says it isn’t “all about the iphone.” It was interesting to see that 80% of people in attendance were interested primarily in developing websites for mobile devices and not in developing device specific applications.
She talked about Duke, Northwestern, International Children’s digital library, Van Gogh Musueum, and some prototypes (UNLV digtial library, Europeana). Several of the applications focused on delivering digital material (images, metadata, copyright info, locations) via an app. Of note, the ICDL focused on delivering ebook content (she mentioned another app called StoryKit that looked very neat). One of Wang’s assertions was that a valuable feature of the ICDL apps were that they could be used without network access.
Her summary of ‘killer features’ from her survey of apps included
- Image sharing
- Audio and video
- Search – keyword & location
- Insights: added value
- User contributed data – tags, comments, sharing, creating
Wang talked about the growing trend to create web applications as opposed to ‘native iphone apps’ & mentioned a number of frameworks including iUI, iWebkit, JQTouch, and Dashcode.
Kevin had recently shown me JQtouch, a framework for writing iphone centric web applications using safari as a primary platform & it simplifies the process of developing apps that benefit from the iphone hardware & interface features.
Wang quickly demoed Dashcode & PhoneGap (which includes development platforms for multiple platforms & allows you to migrate a dashcode app to an objective c app) In 10 minutes she built a neat little app based off on an RSS feed. I was so excited I went home & wrote a ZSR library app off our of new-videos RSS feed (Please use your iPhone to view). . .Thanks Minglu!
This session was conducted by Beatrice Pulliam and Chris Landry from Providence College. They discussed the use of mobile taggin and QR codes. QR codes are 2-dimensional codes which can be scanned using a camera (on a cell phone for example). Some functions of mobile tagging include websites, contacts, and geo-location.
I have been wondering how to use QR codes in libraries for the last year & have come up empty so I was excited to hear how QR codes were being used! In this case Providence was looking for a new way to market content and services.They would up to use it for content promotion (e.g. libguides), loading contextual videos, use as digital ‘wayfinders’ in the stacks, create a backchannel community, etc.
They recommended doing some reading – Univ of Bath QR blog, Nate Hill – hyperlinking reality article in lj, Andrew Walsh’s mobile library blog, download a reader such as beetagg, take advantage of management tools on these sites. A fun one is at http://bit.ly/qrinfo. Some neat features of QR codes – they can be scanned from a screen (yes tim – my dream came true :) ), using QR codes in special collections as a way to get more information (think about our display cases!). It turns out that you can even change the behavior of the QR code without changing the code. Some crowd generated ideas include putting on business cards, including in press releases, space layout, geocaching.
Some tips for success included – make content/services more discoverable, support physical and digital services, position library as leader in this tech, following user tech capabilities. Curious? grab a reader for your phone & hit the code!
Handheld Librarian kicked off today with a keynote from Tom Peters, CEO of TAP information services. He focused on providing reference via mobile services & started by focusing on some statistics that talked about how rapidly cell phone technology has been adopted (he asserted that the cell phone became popular faster than the toaster :)).
He observed that reference services tended to focus on solving information-need type questions and likewise were often short & simple. He also focused on relevance of ‘social search’ as opposed to ‘web search’ for providing reference services. His list of guidelines for developing mobile reference services (simple, short, open, crowd-based) certainly build on that theme. His theme was that reference needed to become a mobile & 24/7 based service – yes he did say “lose the desk.”