My talk today is about going mobile with your library website. This presentation will hopefully help those of you who are now just thinking about going mobile with your website. It will show examples of many of the different options available. All of the examples were taken from my iPhone but many of the options are available on other phones either as apps or web pages.
The first thing to look at is your current website to see how it appears on mobile devices. This is my library’s website. As you can see it was not designed to be viewed on a mobile device. On smart phones you may be able to zoom in but on other internet enabled mobile devices this site would basically be unusable. Users would come here once and not come back.
When thinking about a mobile website, you need to determine what information and services would your users want to access from their mobile device. Libraries are providing information about hours, location, different ways to contact the library whether it be by phone, email, or text messaging. They also have links to research databases and of course their catalog or OPAC.
Objective-C [iPhone and iPad] or Java [Android]
Innovative Interfaces was one of the first ILS vendors to offer a Mobile OPAC called AirPac. The Libraries at Virginia Tech use AirPac. It allows users to search the catalog and request items. As you can see it is a stripped down version of the regular OPAC with availability information and even book covers. It also allows users to login to check their account information.
Polaris Library System offers a mobile version of their PAC which is called Mobile PAC. Wabash Carnegie Public Library System in Wabash, Indiana uses it and here is what it looks like.
SirsiDynix offers an app for the iPhone called BookMyne. It uses the GPS function on the iPhone to find participating libraries near you. The participating libraries need to be running the SirsiDynix Symphony library management system and have Symphony Web Services version 2.0 installed. It gives users the same functionality to search the catalog, place holds, and login to their account.
Many of the discovery service vendors offer mobile versions
Blackboard offers Mobile Central to Universities. It has a library component but it is quite limited. It does offer a catalog search but you will not be able to login to your account or request items. It also has a contact page where you can have a limited amount of information and the ability to link to the library’s mobile website which seems somewhat redundant.Link to mobile website takes you to a mobile web page within the Blackboard App.
Boopsie is a third party vendors that offers mobile sites to libraries and universities. Boopsie’s product is compatible with all web enabled phones and high speed downloadable clients are available for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and others. One cool feature of boopsie’s catalog search is that as you start to type it makes suggestions which helps to limit the amount of typing the user needs to do.
Key features Search catalog, place holds, renew items. It does what the regular catalog does. Save records to your phone to access later. Works on any phone with a web-browsing feature—not just smart phones. “Universal Version” is fully compliant with Section 508 and other accessibility standards. Geo-location finds your nearest library easily. Libraries can display events, branches, contact-a-librarian information, and other mobile pages. LibraryThing for Libraries customers also get integrated tags, recommendations, information about other editions, and access to over 500,000 reviews. What does it include? Mobile web versions customized for iPhone and Android Native iPhone app Native Android app Universal mobile web version -- works on any phone with a web browser. Blackberry app coming soon
MobileBridge is a web application that can provide mobile web pages for your catalog or collection, making your catalog available to mobile smartphone users.It can run on any Linux or UNIX server with an Apache webserver, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP).MobileBridge communicates with your catalog through your existing Z39.50 server, providing the ability to search your catalog and view full records, including enhanced content.A QR Code is a 2-dimensional barcode developed by Denso Wave which is a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994. QR stands for "Quick Response", and these codes being designed for high-speed decoding.Unlike 1-dimensional barcodes which can only store a short number or string, QR Codes can encode a much larger amount of data, allowing you to store URLs linking to any web page you desire, SMS phone numbers, or even textual information like all of your contact information.The San Diego State University Library is using QR Codes in its library catalog, on staff directory pages and on research guidesBrigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library uses QR codes for its library audio tour and for general library information.
One of the first libraries to develop an iPhone app was the DC Public Library. The code for this app is available for download from their website. It allows you to search the catalog and place holds on items and login to your account. DCPL has a SirsiDynix ILS but you may be able to modify it if you have some other ILS. You can also find information about library locations and hours and reserve a computer.
Molly is an open source mobile portal which was developed at the University of Oxford. It is a web-based application framework targeting all phones, 'smart' or otherwise. Wherever possible, Molly detects the device being used and tailors the page to match the phone's capabilities. While it offers more than just a catalog search, it doesn’t allow a patron to login to their account.
If you decide that you want to develop your own mobile website or app, there are tools available and websites that are good sources of information and I will mention some of them. Many institutions are developing their own mobile websites or apps and I am going to show you a few that have offered to share their code with others. I will also share with you some best practices that you should keep in mind.
Users of mobile devices and users with disabilities experience some of the same issues when interacting with web sites. Some of those issues are the small display size, the lack of a pointing device, low text input rate, and accessibility of the content itself. Therefore, we need to keep these things in mind when developing a mobile website or app.
Whether you use one of these tools to develop your site or you decided to develop your site on your own, you should be aware of the Default Delivery Context by the Best Practices Working Group as part of the Mobile Web Initiative. This is basically the lowest common denominator for a reasonable web experience. However, you should try to detect your user’s mobile device and tailor your site to exploit its capabilities.
The Mobile Web Best Practices site gives many tips regarding what to do and what not to do for your mobile website. If possible you want to exploit the capabilities of your user’s mobile device but at the same time you want to keep it simple, clear, and concise. You definitely want to test your site on as many mobile devices as you can so that all of your users have a consistent positive experience.
Mobile Site Generator is a website that you can use to create a basic mobile website that has been tested on the Android and iPhone but may work on other smart phones as well. It is based on the iUI Framework which is an open source user interface library for iPhone web application development. You have to download some files and put them on your server along with the file that is created from this form.
Earlier I mentioned the iUI Framework. Here are two additional sites that have information and tools to help you develop your own mobile website. iWebkit and JQTouch are a couple of the more well known tools but there are definitely others out there. Although they are geared toward iPhone app development, they are said to generate pages for other smart phones as well. Fondren Library at Rice University used iWebkit to develop their mobile site.
Here are a few sites that can test your site for its mobile readiness. They are the W3C Mobileok checker, EvalAccess, TAW MobileOK Basic, and mobiReady. There are also tools that will check the validity of your markup, links, and cssstylesheets.
I want to Thank You for listening to my presentation. Here is my contact information. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Just in case you are curious about what we are doing at my library, we have contracted with Boopsie for our mobile website and it should be available in a couple of weeks.
Transcript of "LTC 2011 Go mobile with your website"
Go Mobile With Your Library Website<br />Library Technology Conference 2011<br />Macalester College<br />St. Paul, MN<br />March 16, 2011<br />Meghan Weeks<br />Systems Librarian<br />William H. Hannon Library<br />Loyola Marymount University<br />Meghan.Weeks@lmu.edu<br />