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Libraries offering mobile interfaces or applications

Mobile interfaces

Library OPACs or websites which are especially designed for viewing on mobile devices.

Mobile applications

District of Columbia Public Library iPhone application (iTunes link)


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 reference services via SMS, see Libraries Offering SMS Reference Services

  • Bryn Mawr send call numbers from OPAC via text message
  • ETH Zürich Library sends SMS collect messages. They are part of the NEBIS network (see below).

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].

Mobile collections

This includes audiobooks, ebooks, audio language courses, streaming music, films, 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.

  • Google Books offers books in a format suitable for reading on mobile devices.

Mobile instruction

This includes the application of mobile devices for library instruction. See also the section on Podcasting.

Open University Library, United Kingdom

Washington State University Libraries "How To ..." - Help with Library Resources and Tools

Mobile tours of the library

Audiotours can be either downloaded on user's own mobile devices, or mobile devices with audiotours on them can be lend by the library.

London School of Economics, United Kingdom: tour podcast can be downloaded or you can borrow a tour handset from the Welcome Point.

Oxford Brookes University Library, United Kingdom: tour can be downloaded or you can borrow an MP3 player at the Enquiry Desk.

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.

University of Otago Library, New Zealand, in English, Mandarin and Maori.

Quick Response 2D 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 Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.

University of Bath, 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.

Other mobile applications

The Institut fuer Informationswissenschaft in Saarbruecken, Germany offers Twitter for new titles.

National Library of Health Sciences - Terkko, Finland, offers Mobile article request and mobile RSS feeds.

The Smart Library Location-Aware Mobile Library, Finland, provides map-based guidance to books and collections on PDA, described in http://www.rotuaari.net/downloads/publication-2.pdf and http://www.rotuaari.net/downloads/publication-28.pdf

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.

Vendors and Publishers

Library Vendors offering mobile interfaces or applications

Axiell, Denmark. Axiell offers the most widespread ILS for public libraries in Denmark (DDELIbra). Their mobile services are called DDElibra Mobil Professionel and DDElibra MoBiblo.

Innovative Interfaces offers the AirPac module (mobile OPAC) and an SMS product.

NettHent by the Norwegian company Bibliotek-Systemer As


Publishers offering databases for mobile devices


Google Books

PubMed for Handhelds


Possible Health Effects

EM Radiation Research Trust

International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS)

Nationaal Platform Stralingsrisico's (in Dutch)

Powerwatch Wi-Fi and Health

Wireless Networks (WiFi) Consumer Health and Safety Advice EMFacts Consultancy

Suggested Reading

Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity Lorcan Dempsey, First Monday, 14(1-5) January 2009.

M-libraries : libraries on the move to provide virtual access, proceedings of theFirst International m-Libraries Conference Mohamed Ally and Gill Needham, London: Facet, 2008

Mobile learning for the twenty-first century librarian Jim Hahn, Reference Services Review, 36(3), 2008, pp 272-288.

Mobile technologies, mobile users: Implications for academic libraries Joan Lippincott, ARL Current Issues, 261, December 2008.

On the Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technologies Ellyssa Kroski, Library Technology Reports, 44(5), July 2008.

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.

Blog Posts

30 Mobile Trends in Libraries - Stephen's Lighthouse

DCPL iPhone app launch

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

Other Resources

Libraries to Go Ellyssa Kroski Slideshare Presentation

The First International m-Libraries Conference Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, 13 -14 November 2007

The Second International m-Libraries Conference Vancouver, BC - 23rd - 24th June 2009

Megan Fox - PDAs, Handhelds and Mobile Technologies in Libraries Website