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Mobile apps for libraries:update on the ANLTC/SWETS 2012 award. Author: Ros Pan


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Paper given at the 2013 joint LAI/CILIP conference April 10-11th, Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin

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Mobile apps for libraries:update on the ANLTC/SWETS 2012 award. Author: Ros Pan

  1. 1. ANLTC/SWETS RESEARCH AWARD 2012Strategic mobile library development:the place of library apps and theoptions for creating them Library Association of Ireland and CILIP Ireland Joint Conference and Exhibition 2013 UCD Library Leabharlann UCD University College Dublin, An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland Átha Cliath, Belfield, Baile Átha Cliath 4, Eire
  2. 2. Contents• The project• Some general themes• Irish situation as survey revealed it• What could we do in an app? – Reviewing what others have done – User feedback• Next steps: – More on how to do an app demonstrator – Visiting some places – Finalising the topics and methods – Doing 3 or 4 little demonstrators in different ways
  3. 3. The Project
  4. 4. Basics• €2,000 grant given to us, award every other year• Josh Clark and Ros Pan = Outreach Unit, part of Planning and Administration Team• One area look after is the UCD Library website including mobile website so it fits in with our remit• Related to Library IT team, mobile catalogue and presence in University mobile app• Fits into UCD Library Mobile strategy, just one part that can inform that over next year, lead on that Head of Library IT• Timeline November 2012 – early October 2013• Designed practitioner based research, into an area that we are not well informed about
  5. 5. • Goal: To gain full understanding of the current development of the mLibrary, the amount of development/interest in mobile app as one option, and understanding and some practical experience in using various approaches to such development by means of developing demos• Scope: The scope of the project encompasses desk research and conference attendance, visits and/or survey, development of demonstrator apps, report writing and presentation.• Out of scope: – Visits beyond Europe – Live apps for real life usage
  6. 6. Work packages summary• Work package 1: The preparation and project information organisation• Work package 2 Reading up on all areas: desk research& conference information gathering• Work package 3: Flesh out knowledge of what goes on in Irish libraries• Work package 4: The demonstrator apps• Work package 5: Writing and delivering• Work package 6: Closure and Exit Strategy
  7. 7. Context: what to invest in mobile?•Constant talk of use of internet via mobilesovertaking desktop use by 2014 Ellyska Kroski presentation on Slideshare Mobiles to Go
  8. 8. Overall context statement• Context: UCD Library has a number of mobile offerings for users – website, catalogue. UCD has a mobile app for users. Given that more users will access internet via mobile than desktop device by 2014 on current estimates, the library needs to consider how it delivers its mobile offering and the place of apps in that strategy
  9. 9. Deliverables & Milestones• Deliverables: a report; a range of demonstrator library apps; a conference presentation; a published paper• Milestones :• 05 Nov 2012 commence project• 31st May 2013 interim project report (funder requirement)• 07 Oct 2013 final submission of report and other demonstrator deliverables etc to ANLTC funders (funder requirement) and for ourselves....• 31 Oct 2013 internal consideration of anything want to mainstream from the project• 31 Dec 2013 done any conference presentations, papers etc want to do on the project
  10. 10. How are we getting on?• Finding it hard in terms of time required• May ask for extension as partner in this project taking off 3 months in June which would be the key time to develop the demonstrator apps• Done reasonable trawl round literature, by no means comprehensive, got skeleton report c 100 pages• Got a snapshot response to survey which we have done on Irish situation• Done little in-house informal student feedback exercise, 830 responses still analysing, interesting findings there• Reasonable idea of next steps: – Places to visit and talk about this – What could form the little demonstrators & how to do – And building them…
  11. 11. General themes
  12. 12. What are we including in the scope?Established timeline of appdevelopment – 2007 Apple release the iPhone, iPod touch, app store “ a step leap in the multifunctional mobile device” – 2009 the first Android device is available – 2010 Apple release the iPad, the app store and others really take off – 2011 Smartphone explosion of ownership, overtaking feature phones – 2012 tablets begin to take off and mini- tablets/cheaper tables emerge 2013-
  13. 13. Enabling factors• Costs coming down;• Improved 3G and 4G networks offering up to 1GB per second transfer speed;• wifi becoming widespread and often free in locations, allowing a shift from phone calls only to widespread use of mobile media without incurring large costs;• CPUs in mobile devices offering more comparable to netbooks;• Inclusion of facilities to target the mobile user on the move – gyroscopes, compasses, GPS capabilities;• the explosion of mobile apps/websites which make the investment an attractive proposition.
  14. 14. Library timeline?“Libraries seem to have engagedenthusiastically with the earlyweb, with many of us having webpages by 1995…However, most of usseem only recently to have startedto think about engaging with mobilephones or mobile computing..”“Using Mobile Technology to Deliver Library Services:A Handbook”, 2012, Andrew Walsh
  15. 15. Library barriers? JISC. Technologies in Libraries End of project survey: barriers/challenges to implementation. Available online at barrierschallenges-to-implementation/ Accessed Dec 19th 2012
  16. 16. Difficult to prioritise – UCD Librarywebsite via mobile devices Mar 2013 • Use of the website via mobile devices (including tablets), 9% of all visits to the site came from such mobile devices and 10% of all page views. • Just under half of that mobile use was from iPhones and a quarter from iPads, steady for the last 6 months = Apple devices, 75% mobile use • Student feedback indicates that a really large number of students have Android smartphones – we can perhaps assume that undergraduates are not our key mobile user group as Android use does not show up in the analytics
  17. 17. Averages mislead – a small numberof web pages get lot of mobile useTop use web pages Pageviews Mar.Desktop home page 77463Desktop opening hours 6146Mobile website home page 5701Desktop Search tools page 5447Mobile opening hours top page 2542Mobile opening hours JJL 2403Desktop our libraries page 1510Desktop JJL info page 1419Desktop literature review page 1350Desktop borrowing & renewing 1334
  18. 18. Difficult to prioritise – other snapshots• ITCarlow. First 2 weeks January 2013, 5% catalogue searches came from mobile devices• UCD Library in Jan 2013 7% of total catalogue visits were to one of our 2 mobile catalogues• ITTallaght. Whole of 2012 4.6% visits to website were from mobile devices• NUIG Galway. For whole of 2012 8.6% of visits to their library website were from mobile devices• 9.42% of visits to Lenus the Irish Health Repository ( were from mobile devices during 2012
  19. 19. Context: how to develop for mobile? – Increasingly mobile device is fine with standard desktop website, adaptive design websites that re-size etc, no need to do anything special at all for mobile – Focus on just our website, but shift to fully Responsive Web Design route – Yes do need something but the best route is to develop mobile websites rather than mobile apps: we look at 100s of websites, not realistic to think that every one can develop apps – not a sustainable model, flash in a pan – In so far as going for apps, aim for apps multi- platform, mobile web apps with HTML5, CSS3 etc – Just carry on and do one app for ios, one for android and so on, very common now… native apps JISC Observatory report Delivering web to mobile, Mark Power
  20. 20. Irish situation
  21. 21. Survey• Put together informal survey in SurveyMonkey• Publicised on lir mailing list, and sent chaser• 30 replied but after remove duplicates and zero- use responses down to 23 institutions represented• Useful feedback, but need to view as sample not as comprehensive as would have liked• Things move rapidly e.g. since survey DCU have piloted augmented reality with the layar app, Limerick gone live with talis mobile catalogue• If you have any mobile website, catalogue or app and are not on the list following please do a survey form, available here!
  22. 22. Childrens University Hospital Temple StreetDaughters of CharityDCU LibraryDIT LibraryDublin Business SchoolDublin City Public LibrariesDublin Dental University Hospital LibraryFailte IrelandGMIT LibraryHealth Service Executive, Regional Library & Information Service Dr. Steevens HospitalIADT, Dun Laoghaire - The LILRCInstitute of Technology CarlowInstitute of Technology Sligo LibraryInstitute of Technology TallaghtIrish College of General Practitioners Library and Information CentreNUI Galway, James Hardiman LibraryNUI MaynoothRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandSchool of Celtic Studies, DIASSligo Libraries (Sligo County Council)St. Angelas College, McKeown LibraryTrinity College Library DublinUniversity College Dublin LibraryUniversity of Limerick Glucksman Library
  23. 23. Findings – institutional level
  24. 24. 1. Few institutions have an overall mobile website DIT Home page only seems to be, rest of links are standard web pages I think DCU indicated something under development St Angela’s College Sligo do have one. Fairly full mobile website, some sections revert to standard desktop pages
  25. 25. 2. Institutions with an overall appDCUDCU have an app, currently it is available for iPhone and AndroidIt does not currently (March 2013) include any library content or linkages.Being re-done and will include library content in new version
  26. 26. NUI MaynoothThey have an app “The Maynooth app” for iPad, iPhone and Android.It includes a little Library content including summary of opening hours anda link to the Library app “NUIM Library”
  27. 27. Trinity College DublinTCD have a general app which is for students and isavailable for iOS - all platforms - and Android.This was built using CampusM, a third partysolution also widely used in the UK buy around25% of universities there.Regarding library content, there is a link to thelibrary mobile catalogue in it, included from ahome page button
  28. 28.
  29. 29. University College DublinUCD have a university app, built using Blackboard mobileThis contains some library content and opening hours info accessed via maps andthe directoryThe main library content is a link to the mobile catalogue (currently AirPAC, due insummer to move to Encore version
  30. 30. 3rd party solutions as a way forward forthe institutional app? “Clearly the likes of CampusM and Blackboard Mobile could offer a convenient outsourced solution, but they do so at a financial cost, without providing as much functionality as some of the in-house examples. “ The M-Library Project: UK academic libraries going mobile, University of the Highlands and Islands Edinburgh Napier University, 2011, p. 11
  31. 31. 3. Web apps Edinburgh Napier University web app
  32. 32. Ryerson, ongoing university level wep app project
  33. 33. 4. Responsive Web Design strategy “This enhancement to the website recognises the huge shift in website access platforms from traditional PCs & laptops to tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, ensuring the website meets the needs of todays users. Our website is now fully responsive which is a first for any Higher Education Institution in Ireland“ IT Tallaght,
  34. 34. Findings – Library level• Most commonly found by far is the mobile catalogue, either via LMS vendor or 3rd party solution like Library Anywhere• Users of things like LibGuides get a mobile version of all guides produced• Database vendors offer apps and mobile sites• You can “cobble these things together” into a website or app or a front page in various ways• Some of the catalogues allow extra info to be added, extends bit more than just catalogue function• More comprehensive mobile-designed websites…UCD Library has one, St Angelas full included in the institutional one… anybody else??
  35. 35. 1. “Complete” mobile library website
  36. 36. 2. Mobile catalogues + - 3rd party solution • Library Anywhere reported in use by 4 survey responses - total users is 8 • Catalogue interface for mobile users plus the ability to add info, web links as well • Users get both mobile website AND app, not sure know that – nobody told me that in the survey anyhow! University College Cork Library 467418194 Carlow County Libraries Clare County Library 1596556947 Kildare County Libraries 1748066442 GMIT DIT IT Tallaght Limerick IT
  37. 37. • DIT have a quite well developed implementation. Quite a lot of the links take you to the desktop website, Repository interface or Serials Solutions search screen, some like the repository offering a mobile version
  38. 38. • A notable inclusion at IT Tallaght and IT Limerick is a separate link to search their Summon resource discovery tool from Serials Solutions with mobile tailored pages as well as catalogue search, shown here in ITT screenshots.
  39. 39. Boopsie option.. not in Ireland.. University of Auckland
  40. 40. 3. Mobile catalogues from LMS vendors • Innovative Interfaces in use at UCD and TCD • TALIS Prism mobile catalogue in use at DCU and more recently at Limerick
  41. 41. 4. Library level apps in Ireland? • Modest level of development… • Maynooth do have a library app • Have highly specialised Book of Kells app for iPad from TCD • All users of Library Anywhere get app as well as mobile website. Could be important, our UCD students all want an app and what they want in it is the catalogue they say. Extra functions in app e.g. scan book barcode with mobile camera to get catalogue record up • Since the survey DCU have started piloting use of Layar in their library, a different thing really, using somebody else’s niche app in your own library for one particular result.. enhanced print in this case
  42. 42. • NUIM Library is the name• iOS only (tbc)• catalogue search in their Ex Libris catalogue (do not have a mobile catalogue otherwise tbc)• Dynamic opening hours• News• Contact form
  43. 43. • All uses of Library Anywhere have an app• iOS and Android• Called LibAnywhere
  44. 44. Layar in use at DCU, Aurasma another similar option• 3rd party app that library can make use of• You scan image or logo and get extra information either get taken to it or it is overlayed onto your poster or triggering image• Targeted app, very specific added info function• Can use in different way but one way is to augment print info such as posters, as piloting at DCU (also do apps..)
  45. 45. Aurasma demonstrators – Birmingham City University Help on a screen-based service Pointing a mobile device at the Summon discovery tool overlays guidance arrows and notes onto the screen– pointing out the where to enter the search, where to refine filters & then view results Anthony Humphries, BCU augmented-reality-exploring-possible-uses-within-a-library-
  46. 46. 5. Resourcing is an issue in Ireland I think mobile technology is the now. We are quite behind on this technology and the biggest barrier is cost and ICT infrastructure. challenges are: - persuading The Powers That Be to free up resources - trying to figure out where the landscape will be in 3 - 5 years to help us strategise something relevant for the medium term - getting colleagues on board with the final product to help get the word out - this can be particularly challenging sometimes - resource providers are very much in a state of flux in terms of mobile provision and this necessarily has an effect on us Nothing else for the moment and Im not sure if that will change in the future. Our biggest concern would be the resource spend on it, and the time needed to keep another branch of library services running at an acceptable level. Its better to have nothing than a service that has stalled. Due to increasing staff shortages and increasing usage, we have not been able to advance our services as much as wed like. We are currently moving to a new LMS. Hopefully after this has been implemented, will we be able to look into this area. The key challenge to development is that there are too few on the ground who are expert but who are single-handedly trying deliver ALL services.
  47. 47. What could weinclude in an app? • Can look at what other people who have apps include • Can ask users what they want • Can put that together with own thoughts and decide
  48. 48. What library apps currently have• Encounter examples in the literature e.g mlibraries support project survey and case studies• Can search apps store for library apps• Also found app search engine uQuery very good to find wider range of library apps• Put these together and get quite a long list of possible functionalities to include in a library app• Some things nearly all general purpose library apps have e.g. catalogue and account; some great ideas seen, but seen less: harder to do• A couple of very full featured options found
  49. 49. Example: Curtin University library• Catalogue search• Account management• Built in barcode scanner for barcodes and QR codes• Opening Hours today• Library locations and google maps• Database listing including links through to databases (complete listing possibly)• Link to Libguides collection• New Books display• Exam papers linkage• Room Bookings• Computer availability display• Library news• Contact Us (just lists) with option to get this included in the device Contacts listing
  50. 50. Example: Ball State University (built with Boopsie)• Search library resources which opens to extensive menu of choices for catalogue, singlesearch, articles, ejournals, digital media repository• exam videos• research help opening to main website guides• Ask a Library opening to submenu of chat, text sending, email, internet phone built in• My Account• Computer availability in libraries• Location and hours and uses GPS to show you your distance from them• Study room booking (just website link)• Built in comments and suggestions form
  51. 51. blog entry,Feb 22nd 2013 by AnnMarie Lee, accessed March 24 2013
  52. 52. What users say they want• Why pursue the library app idea?• Is a degree of user pressure:• “People want apps; they have been trained to expect apps for their mobile devices. Library software must keep up with the demand.”• At present time they are very popular, Andrew Walsh has this to say, for example:“Without a doubt, smartphone owners prefer the“app experience” to browsing the web, and will tendto use a well-designed app in preference to eventhe best websites” Clark, J. A. (2012). BuildingMobile Library Applications. London, FacetPublishing.
  53. 53. Snapshot 1: Small user survey BCU Birmingham City University case study available online at at-birmingham-city-university-library/ Accessed Dec 19th 2012, p. 7.
  54. 54. Snapshot 2: UCD mobile app feedback UCD developed first version of its mobile app – the usage showed that of the things that they had tried out, a lot were not really what users wanted.
  55. 55. Snapshot 3: Edinburgh University Library“Both the survey and the focus groups revealed thatstudents wanted to be able to search the catalogue,view their library account, check PC availability in thelibrary, book study rooms, and have access to a mapor GPS for finding their way around the librarybuilding.” Survey undertaken November 2011 Reported by Gillian Andrea Nowlan, (2013),"Going Mobile: Creating a Mobile Presence for Your Library", New Library World, Vol. 114 Iss: 3, EarlyCite version accessed online 07-02-2013
  56. 56. Snapshot 4: Leeds Metropolitan survey“They told us that the top 5 services they would liketo access via a mobile device were:■Timetables■Emails■Virtual Learning Environment■University Portal■Library Catalogue / Account” Debbie Morris, guest blog entry. library-developing-and-promoting-our-mobile-provision/. Accessed March 24th 2013.
  57. 57. Snapshot 5: Local student input at UCD • Ran Roadshows in early March 2013 • Informal questionnaire around what mobile devices they had and library mobile and apps • Had 830 forms back – iPad mini prize draw very attractive but not much thought in answers • Not possible to go through the form with each person which had been the plan
  58. 58. • Mostly they were 1 and 2 year undergrads• Very few own tablets or have plans to buy them (lot of Library staff have them….)• Entirely focused on the Smartphone with its small screen – vast majority have one [plus laptop]• Lot of them own Android phones• A lot had downloaded the University app• But very mixed awareness of library mobile website and mobile catalogue offering• Most of them wanted the library to develop an app, even when they know little of our mobile offerings to date, tend to say yes please
  59. 59. • Most of them wanted the library to develop an app, even when they know little of our mobile offerings to date, tend to say yes please• The main thing they want in the app is the catalogue function and related renewal etc• Not got lot of idea otherwise: not a great source of inspiration! Other things mentioned: – General website type information – Floor maps preferably showing where particular books or class ranges are – How busy the Library is – News type information – A few mention using the device to check out books• Some comments that the University app is too large to be downloaded onto some Android smartphones so please keep app small• Not directly app related but overwhelming yes to providing SMS for notices, particularly advance warning on due books and alerts to collect items
  60. 60. Other thoughts• Most library apps are what could call general with mixed range of functions offered• Warwick app is just floorplans, that is an example• Are some tour app building solutions available• Found interesting piece of literature making case for doing app based on reference queries to help with staffing issues – bulk of queries were hours and wayfinding/item finding queries so that could be the basis of a Help Me app• MAY for demonstrator purposes focus on the more narrow type of library app…..more manageable as proof of concept: floor maps only, library tours only, special collections online gallery app etc
  61. 61. Preliminary thoughts at this point• Floor maps, ideally with at least link from classmark to right place on the floor• Welcome new students/library tour focus/possibly AR or QR codes in the mix• Cultural Heritage topic of some kind – online exhibition style of thing• Single team support e.g. Research support team app• eLearning app – Libguides and video selection• In a sense as not going to be permanent content not as crucial as the HOW ARE WE GOING TO BUILD IT QUESTION….
  62. 62. Next stepsa. More reading & visitingc. Decide HOW to do appe. Demo development
  63. 63. Visits may makePlace ExploreIT Tallaght RWD, Library AnywhereMaynooth Future of library appSt Angelas College, Sligo Mobile website, efforts to build native app on zero prior skill setUCD IT Services staff Blackboard Mobile userBirmingham City Uni AR experiments Mobile and app plansLeeds Met Uni Mobile and app plansLancaster Uni RWD, CampusM app
  64. 64. Demo developmentSkill upGet someone else to do itUse 3rd party options free orcosted for the non-techie andlive with limitations theyimpose on content
  65. 65. Context: how to develop for mobile? – What skill set you need to develop an app – What is the cost to get something done by a third party – What can be achieved with web-based application builders that claim can do decent app with no programming required, how limiting are these?
  66. 66. Skill up option…. Not realistic with timewe have…Beginning iPhone and iPad Web apps: Scripting withHTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript (Apers &Paterson, 2010)Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML (Freeman &Freeman, 2010).iPhone and iPad Apps for Absolute Beginners(Lewis, 2009)Learn Objective-C on the Mac (Knaster& Dalrymple, 2008).
  67. 67. Use higher level tools to developTools, like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch now existthat allow a developer to build a standard HTMLmobile site and compile that site into a native appversion“Overall Id suggest to develop ageneric mobile app using Phonegapthat can be compiled to a nativeapp for iPhone, Android, Windowsetc.” Mel Ó Cinnéide, School of Computer Science and Informatics, University College Dublin, Ireland. February 2013
  68. 68. Get somebody else to do it• Small enough demo that can pay IT person to do just a demo• Follow up loads in academic units to find such a person, not too pricey!• Get students to do it as projects – no cost, some places have done that
  69. 69. Use higher level template solutions• Library Anywhere, Boopsie options• SCARLET templates for cultural heritage – still need quite a bit of coding skill?• At other end of the scale, very basic app builders like MyTour – can we live with just images, text and audio track to get a result out? is it worh €750?• To be explored further….web-based app builders “No coding required!” – but what will the DO for us other than flat information…?
  70. 70. Finally.... We are looking for interested parties:• Feel that they have achievements or knowledge in this area and willing to share it• Interested in area generally, have plans or ideas• Agreeable to visit for group discussions around the topic• Interested in helping with demonstrator apps Let us know now or e-mail