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Intro to Special Issue of The Reference Librarian about HHLIB Joe Murphy


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My introduction to a special issue of The Reference Librarian which i guest edited featuring papers from the Handheld Librarian Conferences - "Mobile Reference: Papers from the Handheld Librarian Conferences." - Originally published in The Reference Librarian, Volume 52 Issue 1 & 2 2011.

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Intro to Special Issue of The Reference Librarian about HHLIB Joe Murphy

  1. 1. Introduction: The Mobile Revolution and The Handheld LibrarianJoe MurphyKline Science Library, Yale University, New Haven, CTlibraryfuture on Twitter The blossoming trend of gearing library services and collections to mobile devices hasrecently grown from an emerging concept to a high profile and central focus in our profession.The recent Handheld Librarian conferences ( have highlightedand grown out of this shift in focus from the desktop to the handheld as library platform. These two special issues of The Reference Librarian (volume 51 #1 and 2), which reproducetalks given at the first two online Handheld Librarian conferences, are dedicated to the work andprogress we are making in bringing libraries and their rich resources to our patrons’ mobiledevices. This focus is about more than technology: it is about a shift in service and possibly evenin the roles of librarians and libraries. It is not sufficient to think of this transition as a trend: thestatistics cited by the authors within say it all. Mobile usage is neither a fad nor a facet of onedemographics’ behavior. The roles of mobile devices in information discovery and engagement are expanding with noend in sight. Librarians exploring this shift now are doing more than reacting to a trend; they arepreparing for the future. So let’s critically examine this concept together, explore thepossibilities, and discuss as a profession how to best adapt to these changes while maintainingthe central roles our libraries have always played. The goal of these special issues is to highlightand deepen our discourse around this topic to take this topic from a segmented introduction to adeep analysis. Here is a brief introduction to the Handheld Librarian conferences by Lori Bell, the primaryorganizer: The first Handheld Librarian online conference was held July 2009. The second conference was held in February 2010 and the third in July 2010. Mobile technology in libraries is a very hot topic: everyone wants to know about it and how to implement it in their library. At the same time, travel budgets are being slashed. The mix of the mobile library technology topic and the travel cuts created a wonderful opportunity for Alliance Library System and LearningTimes to provide a rich online conference/training session for librarians all over the world. The topic is changing so quickly which is why it was decided to do this conference twice a year. Each conference has had over 300 registrations with half coming from individuals and the other half from groups which has resulted in 800-1,000 people attending each conference. Conferences are delivered online via Adobe Connect Pro. Lori Bell and Tom Peters work with a volunteer committee of librarians from all over the US to plan the conference, select speakers, and market the conference. The LearningTimes team provides the Adobe Connect Pro, technical support for attendees and speakers, registration, and the design of the conference website. Alliance Library System was a Joe Murphy – Twitter: libraryfuture
  2. 2. partner with LearningTimes for the first two conferences. For the July 2010 conference, TAP Information Services and LearningTimes have partnered to produce the conference. The Handheld Librarian conferences have continued to grow. A third iteration was held onJuly 28-29, 2010 and a fourth is planned for February 2011. In these issues we will hear from some of the presenters from the first two HandheldLibrarian conferences. Their pieces presented here will serve to spark productive discussions as ameans of pushing the dialogue on this timely subject forward. Topics covered in these issuesrange from text messaging, to mobile applications, from planning and evaluating mobileservices, to spotting future trends in mobile technology. A reader of these special issues canexpect a thorough review of mobile technologies and libraries. We will use the Twitter hashtag #hhlib for this issue to bring this discussion well beyond thepages of this journal and onto our colleagues’ cell phone screens around the world in a real time,mobile medium. Include this hashtag when tweeting about this to contribute to the dialogue andsearch for tweets with the tag to bring together all related posts. Leveraging the Twitter hashtagalso helps us bring this discourse into the social and mobile realms, where so much of scholarlycommunication now takes place. Whether you are reading this on your iPad, in print, on your iPhone, laptop, or Nexus 1, let’suse this as jumping off point to move our libraries and our profession forward into and throughthe adoption of mobile devices.Joe Murphy (libraryfuture on Twitter), Science Librarian, Coordinator of Instruction andTechnology, Yale University, Kline Science Library, 219 Prospect St., P.O. Box 208111, NewHaven, CT 06520-8107. E-mail: Joe Murphy – Twitter: libraryfuture