Academic Libraries' Mobile Initiatives and Research from 2010 to the Present: Identifying Themes in the Literature

Academic Libraries' Mobile Initiatives and Research from 2010 to the Present: Identifying Themes in the Literature

Barbara Blummer (Center for Computing Sciences, USA) and Jeffrey M. Kenton (Towson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0256-2.ch006
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Abstract

An examination of the literature from 2010 to the present reveals a variety of academic library mobile initiatives. In addition to creating mobile library websites, librarians utilized iPads to support roving reference, rounding library services, as well as information literacy instruction. IPads were also offered to patrons for circulation and librarians conducted research to enhance their understanding of students' use of iPads. Articles documented the availability of Quick Response (QR) codes in academic libraries to support students' access to materials. Despite the diversity of these mobile initiatives, academic librarians' employed similar strategies to foster their development including: obtaining support, collecting data, as well as promoting and assessing the projects. One or more of these strategies remained characteristic of libraries' mobile initiatives identified in the literature during these years.
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Background

Mobile Devices in Academic Libraries

Statistics illustrate the global popularity of mobile devices. Business Insider noted one in every 17 individuals worldwide owned a tablet and research suggested their adoption rate was exceeding smartphones (Heggestuen, 2013). Mobile devices or web enabled smartphones are ubiquitous on college campuses. The technology is increasing in importance in academia, especially in libraries. According to Mohamed (2014) the popularity of mobile phones heightened users’ expectations on the availability of accessing library services through these devices. Research on students’ information use supports the development of mobile library services. Sam Houston University’s librarians surveyed students in 2010 and 2014 on their desire for mobile library services. The authors found students especially interested in accessing library services from mobile devices during the period (Cassidy, et al., 2014).

Smartphones and other mobile devices offer librarians new opportunities in the delivery of services for users including instruction, systems, reference, and access to resources (Little, 2011). Similarly, Lippincott (2010) suggested the mobile revolution offered instructional opportunities for librarians in teaching students about accessing information in the field, utilizing software for organizing their information on devices and developing mashups using various information sources. Bell and Peters (2013) pointed to the need for librarians to evaluate library services and especially to develop new ones to support mobile patrons. Likewise, Mohamed (2014) noted academic librarians are developing services to support mobile users. Consequently, the authors identify themes in the literature on mobile initiatives in academic libraries to foster librarians’ adoption of similar services and resources in their institutions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Desk Tracker: A software tool offered by Compendium Library Services for collecting statistics.

Application: A piece of software code that supports access to mobile content.

Quick Response Code: A matrix or two dimensional barcode with machine readable content.

Moo Cards: Square business cards that contain information on both sides.

LibGuide: SpringShare’s software that supports the creation of webpages that are managed in the cloud and contain the capability to incorporate numerous Web 2.0 tools.

Responsive Web Design: An approach for designing websites whereby flexibility is promoted through a grid based layout, media queries, and flexible images utilizing cascading style sheets.

WeChat: A free messaging and chat mobile application.

Webapp: A webpage that has been optimized to display content on a mobile device.

Short Message Service: A text based communication s ervice.

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