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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

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
  • ETH Zürich Library sends SMS collect messages. They are part of the NEBIS network (see below).
  • 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].

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Vendors and Publishers

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.

Vendors offering mobile tours

Publishers offering databases for mobile devices

Publishers offering mobile collections

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.

Suggested Reading

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.

Blog 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.