M-Libraries

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Libraries offering mobile interfaces or applications

Mobile interfaces (and/or OPACS)

Library websites (with out without OPACS) which are especially designed for viewing on mobile devices.

Mobile OPACS only

Mobile applications

SMS notification services

Libraries using SMS services, e.g.:

  • SMS if requested book is available (collect messages)
  • SMS reminder if a book is due
  • requesting a list of loans via SMS
  • renewing books via SMS
  • requesting an overview of outstanding fines via SMS
  • checking the availability of books via SMS
  • requesting the opening hours of the library via SMS

For SMS reference services, see Libraries Offering SMS Reference Services

  • Bryn Mawr send call numbers from OPAC via text message
  • Denton Public Libraries offers text message notification to inform customers of items ready to be picked up, due dates, items that are overdue and other notices through their cell phones. See a november 2007 news item.
  • ETH Zürich Library sends SMS collect messages. They are part of the NEBIS network (see below).
  • Swiss National Library sends SMS to registered users when a reserved book is ready for pick-up and to inform about special closing times.
  • Undergraduate Library University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: sends text message alerts about Librarians' Office Hours the day they are happening (pilot for the Spring 2008 semester).

Of the 97 public libraries in Denmark: 60 sent SMS if books requested are ready for pickup, 37 use SMS for recalls, and 46 sent SMS as warnings some days before a book is due [data from the 2007 annual statistic for public libraries in Denmark].

  • Oregon State University Mobile Site sends location based directions to the library and library contact information. In addition, patrons can send an SMS message containing a catalog record or course reserves. We also offers text the mobile site link to your phone from the main website as a way to promote the site.

Mobile collections

This includes audiobooks, ebooks, audio language courses, streaming music, films, images, etc. which can be used on mobile devices. These collections can either be downloaded from the library websites on user's own mobile devices or libraries lend mobile devices with the collections already on them.

  • IEEE Xplore Mobile offers free search of all IEEE Xplore documents directly on your mobile device. You can view up to [only] TEN (10) article abstracts per search. To view full-text articles, send the article links to your e-mail address.

Mobile instruction

This includes the application of mobile devices for library instruction. Can be text-based, audio or video. For audio-based instruction, see also the section on Podcasting.

Mobile tours of the library

Audiotours can be either downloaded on users' own mobile devices, or mobile devices with audiotours on them can be lend by the library. Audiotours can be made available in various languages.

  • Tartu Public Library, Estonia provided an audiotour of one of their exhibitions (Spring 2008). The audiotour was put on MP3 sticks. These were entered in the catalogue, so that users could borrow the MP3 sticks.

QR (Quick Response) 2D Codes

For a more detailed page about 2D codes, also known as QR codes, see the page in this wiki for QR Codes. See also the description in Wikipedia and the explanation in CSI on YouTube. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR 2D Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.

  • University of Bath Library, United Kingdom is doing a project including QR2D codes in their OPAC. Catalogue records are proviced with these codes. When scanning the code, a map of the library is launched on user's mobiles, helping them to locate the library material in the library building. The university uses QR in their teaching and learning and even blogs on their QR code service.
  • University of Lethbridge Library uses QR codes on our bookable Group Workroom doors. Scanning the code takes the user into our booking system, where they can immediately book and/or view availability. We also use QR technology in our WebOPAC and promotional posters and materials.

Augmented Reality

Other mobile applications

  • At the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, SMS is used during information literacy classes. Lecturers can add questions to PowerPoint presentations, which students can answer via SMS. The results of the sent SMS messages is directly visible in a diagram on the screen. Lecturers can thus assess the students' knowledge, but the tool is also useful for starting discussions. See the Dutch press release at http://www.vu.nl/nl/Images/pb%2009%20015%20SMS%20stemmen_tcm9-67541.pdf.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington Library developed ShelfLister, a mobile device staff client for stacks maintenance and inventory. The application is designed to work with the Voyager ILS and has been released under an open source license.
  • The University of Oregon Libraries and OSU Archives developed BeaverTracks, a mobile Historical Locations guide and Walking Tour. The mobile application provides historical images and information about 22 locations on OSU campus. Using geo-location, some mobile users can take a directions based walking tour of campus. Also see the Project Page - page about the project including screenshots.

Vendors and Publishers

Evolving content delivery for mobile learners

On 7th March 2011 the Open Unversity Library Services hosted a workshop for publishers and librarians to discuss the problems of finding and accessing the content needed for mobile learners from the Library perspective. This was a follow up to a workshop held in May 2010 at University of Westminster at which senior members of the UK HE Library Community discussed the difficulty of supplying content to an increasingly mobile student body. The major issue identified through that discussion was the lack of appropriate mobile-friendly academic content to meet learners’ needs.

All the materials from the event can be found on SlideShare.

These include all the presentations, programme, list of attendees and two short reports. One is a quick summary of the event as a whole and the second is a synthesis of the discussion from the workshop sessions with specific recommendations and suggested next steps.

Library Vendors offering mobile interfaces or applications

  • Axiell, Denmark offers the most widespread ILS for public libraries in Denmark (DDELIbra). Their mobile services are called DDElibra Mobil Professionel and DDElibra MoBiblo.
  • Boopsie USA, Offers platform agnostic mobile applications.
  • e2Campus offers campus-wide text notification system.
  • Orange County Library System provides a SMS text messaging service that sends reminders to patrons when their items are coming due, as well as an SMS reference service.

Vendors offering mobile tours

Publishers offering databases for mobile devices

Table caption
Mobile website App Comments
American Institute of Physics iResearch iPhone
The American Insitute of Physics' Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) Auto detects can now be accessed from any mobile device equipped with a modern web browser
arXiv arXiv Browse mobile URL arXiview for iPhone
Cambridge Journals Online Auto detects
EBSCOhost Mobile Auto detects
Encyclopaedia Britannica Auto detects
Factiva news database Mobile URL
Hoover's Mobile company information iPhone
IEEE XPlore Mobile URL
JSTOR JSTOR mobile beta mobile URL About JSTOR mobile beta
Lexis Nexis iPhone app Lexis/Nexis Get Cases and Shepardize
PsychiatryOnline Mobile URL
PubMed for Handhelds medical database Two iPhone apps PubMed On Tap 3rd party and Mobile Abstracts an iPhone PubMed search engine. Both not official from NIH.
Questia iPhone iTunes link
Refworks Mobile Mobile URL
SciVerse iPhone From ScienceDirect
Scopus iPhone From ScienceDirect
Social Sciences Research Network iSSRN iPhone
Summon Web app for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm or Windows Mobile (Serials Solutions Web-Scale Discovery)
Westlaw legal research database Mobile URL
Worldcat.org Mobile URL From OCLC

Publishers offering mobile collections

Suggested Reading

Researching M-Libraries - a wiki page for sharing experiences of researching m-libraries and discussing appropriate/applicable research methods.


Books, reports and journal articles

  • PDA (special issue) ed. by Oliver Obst and Helmut Doolfuss, GMS Medizin – Bibliothek – Information. Zeitschrift der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für medizinisches Bibliothekswesen, 8(2). This issue is partly in German and partly in English.

Blogs and Posts

  • Handheld Librarian Handheld computer news, ideas, and opinions from librarians and others interested in libraries. Editor: Grace Lee

Other Resources

Including slide presentations, conferences, websites, etc.

  • Percent Mobile a website that lets you track the percentage of traffic going to your website from different mobile devices. Requires you to copy and paste some code into your homepage.

Possible Health Effects

The use of wireless devices is increasing rapidly, yet there is concern in the scientific community that this technology could have adverse side effects. Some documents and websites to find out the facts and recommended precautions.

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