Opportunities for Mobile Enhanced Library Services and Collections


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The 2010 Horizon Report from the New Media Consortium identified Mobile Computing as one of two emerging technologies “likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education” in the coming year. How can libraries approach the opportunity created by pervasive mobile computing?

The presentation introduces one model for planning mobile initiatives within an academic library context, informed by the experience of mobile library initiatives deployed at North Carolina State University. The model advocates for thinking about “mobile” as a use context rather than a content delivery channel, and leveraging existing digital assets where possible. The model distinguishes between library services optimized for a mobile use context, and digital library collections optimized for a mobile use context. The “NCSU Libraries Mobile” project (http://m.lib.ncsu.edu/) is used as a case study for mobile optimized library services. NCSU Libraries Mobile provides a suite of library services designed to make library users more productive. The “WolfWalk” project (http://m.lib.ncsu.edu/wolfwalk) is used as a case study for mobile optimized digital collections. WolfWalk is a historical guide to the NCSU campus that exposes archival content through a location-aware mobile interface. Location-aware interfaces to digital library content hold the promise of providing “in situ” learning opportunities by exposing content in the context of the user’s current location.

The presentation outlines several considerations when planning a mobile initiative, such as the difference between mobile-optimized websites and “native” mobile applications, the challenges of testing and evaluating mobile applications, and the importance of adapting mobile technologies to suit local needs. The presentation will conclude with some thoughts about potential future uses of mobile technology in libraries, including staff-facing applications.

Presentation delivered at the Ticer Digital Libraries a la Carte summer course in the Netherlands in 2010.

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  • One of the more recent studies we have about mobile internet use comes from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The July 2010 study titled “Mobile Access 2010” examines internet use across a range of wireless devices including wifi enabled laptops and cellphones. The data is based on telephone interviews of 2252 adults.
  • A little closer to home is the ECAR study of undergraduate students and Information Technology published in 2009. ECAR stands for the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. ECAR is a division of EDUCAUSE that has engaged in an ongoing survey of the “IT practices, preferences, preparedness, and performances of college students” since 2004. The most recent study was published last fall, and has a chapter examining the role of mobile technology in the lives of undergraduates. The 2009 study surveyed over 27k students at 103 higher education institutions in the United States. Although the report covers a range of Information Technologies, the 2009 study dedicates a chapter to what they call “the Mobile Revolution”. The 2009 study asked the students questions about their ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices. I believe this study is likely the best source of information regarding mobile internet use on college campuses.
  • From the Horizon Report 2010 Edition: “ The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Projects, a qualitative research project established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years.” “ In each edition of the Horizon Report, six emerging technologies or practices are described that are likely to enter maintream use on campuses within three adoption horizons spread over the next one to five years.”
  • The 2010 edition of the Horizon report identifies “Mobile Computing” as one of these emerging technologies with a time-to-adoption horizon of one year or less.
  • Source: http://www.psfk.com/2010/07/10-innovative-uses-of-the-ipad-by-the-hospitality-industry.html
  • Zeeuwse Bibliotheek
  • Opportunities for Mobile Enhanced Library Services and Collections

    1. 1. Opportunities for Mobile Enhanced Library Services and Collections Tito Sierra, NCSU Libraries Digital Libraries à la Carte 2010 July 29, 2010
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>The Mobile Opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Case Studies at NC State University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NCSU Libraries Mobile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The WolfWalk Project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning a Mobile Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Future Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Final Thoughts </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Mobile Opportunity
    4. 4. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Mobile-Access-2010
    5. 5. <ul><li>“ The use of mobile data applications has grown dramatically over the last year, even as overall cell phone ownership has remained steady.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Aaron Smith, Mobile Access 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Pew Internet & American Life Project </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>“ In addition to being a growing proportion of the overall cell phone population, users of the mobile web now go online more frequently using their handheld devices than they did as recently as last year. More than half of all mobile internet users go online from their handheld devices on a daily basis.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Aaron Smith, Mobile Access 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Pew Internet & American Life Project </li></ul>
    7. 7. http://www.educause.edu/Resources/TheECARStudyofUndergraduateStu/187215)
    8. 8. <ul><li>“ More than half of respondents (51.2%) owned an Internet-cable handheld device and another 12% planned to purchase one in the next 12 months.” </li></ul><ul><li>— The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>“ Almost three-quarters (73.7%) of respondents who currently own and use the Internet from a handheld devices said they expect their use will increase or greatly increase in the next three years.” </li></ul><ul><li>— The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research </li></ul>
    10. 10. http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2010
    11. 11. http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2010
    12. 12. <ul><li>“ In the developed world, mobile computing has become an indispensable part of day-to-day life in the workforce, and a key driver is the increasing ease and speed with which it is possible to access the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world via the ever-expanding cellular network.” </li></ul><ul><li>— The Horizon Report 2010 Edition </li></ul><ul><li>The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>How should libraries approach this opportunity? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Mobile Projects at NCSU
    15. 15. NCSU Libraries Mobile <ul><li>A suite of library services </li></ul><ul><li>Optimized to 3 tiers of mobile devices </li></ul><ul><li>Content delivery framework based on MIT Mobile Web open source code </li></ul>
    16. 16. “ MobiLIB” at NCSU (2007)
    17. 17. NCSU Libraries Mobile (2010) <ul><li>Locations & Hours </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Availability </li></ul><ul><li>Search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask Us </li></ul><ul><li>Room Reservations </li></ul><ul><li>GroupFinder </li></ul><ul><li>News & Events </li></ul><ul><li>Webcams </li></ul><ul><li>WolfWalk </li></ul><ul><li>Reserves (coming soon) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Guiding Principles <ul><li>Don’t reproduce the library website—distill it to what users might actually use in a mobile use context. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Guiding Principles <ul><li>Save the time of the library user. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Guiding Principles <ul><li>Mobile apps are a new thing, so be receptive to new ideas. </li></ul>
    21. 21. NCSU Libraries Mobile Demo http://m.lib.ncsu.edu
    22. 23. Locations & Hours
    23. 26. Computer Availability
    24. 28. Catalog Search
    25. 32. Ask Us
    26. 35. Webcams
    27. 38. Implementation Notes <ul><li>Nearly all of our mobile library services are re-skinned versions of existing web applications. </li></ul>
    28. 39. Implementation Notes <ul><li>Reuse of existing infrastructure lowered development costs and rapid prototyping possible. </li></ul>
    29. 40. The WolfWalk Project <ul><li>A historical guide to NC State campus </li></ul><ul><li>University Archives Photo Collection </li></ul><ul><li>Location-aware </li></ul><ul><li>Two versions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile web app </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>iPhone App </li></ul></ul>
    30. 41. WolfWalk Concept <ul><li>Make it easy for the NC State campus community to learn about the history of campus while on campus. </li></ul>
    31. 42. WolfWalk Concept Jason Casden, NCSU Libraries
    32. 43. Todd Kosmerick and Adam Berenbak, NCSU Libraries
    33. 45. Jason Casden, NCSU Libraries
    34. 47. WolfWalk Demo
    35. 48. WolfWalk Mobile Web http://m.lib.ncsu.edu/wolfwalk
    36. 64. WolfWalk iPhone App Search the App Store for ‘wolfwalk’
    37. 73. Break for Q&A
    38. 74. Planning a Mobile Initiative
    39. 75. Basic Questions <ul><li>What value does the “mobile” aspect of the project add to the user experience with a library service or collection? </li></ul><ul><li>What incentives do users have to access this content on a mobile device, rather than via existing channels? </li></ul>
    40. 76. Local Factors <ul><li>How prevalent is mobile internet and app usage in your user community? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there different patterns of use between undergraduate and graduates? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the mobile opportunities unique to your campus (e.g., medical reference)? </li></ul>
    41. 77. Implementation Choices <ul><li>Do you build a platform specific “native app” (e.g., iPhone App, Android App), a mobile website that works across a range of devices, or both? </li></ul>
    42. 78. When to Make a Native App <ul><li>Charging for it </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a game </li></ul><ul><li>Using specific locations* </li></ul><ul><li>Using cameras </li></ul><ul><li>Using accelerometers </li></ul><ul><li>Accessing the filesystems </li></ul><ul><li>Offline users </li></ul>
    43. 79. The Case for Mobile Web Apps <ul><li>“ I believe that unless your application meets one of these native application criteria, you should not create a native application, but should instead focus on building a mobile web application.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Brian Fling, “Mobile Design and Development” </li></ul>
    44. 80. The Case for iPhone Apps <ul><li>“ I am writing to tell you that I think usage and therefore your impact will be minimal if you only have a mobile website. You need to port your website to apps for the Apple and Google App Store. People spend most of their time accessing data on the web through apps.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Unsolicited feedback from an early WolfWalk user </li></ul>
    45. 81. Practical Considerations <ul><li>The mobile computing landscape is highly fragmented (hardware, software, network), and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. </li></ul>
    46. 82. Practical Considerations <ul><li>Cross-platform mobile app testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current and last generation devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next generation devices </li></ul></ul>
    47. 83. Practical Considerations <ul><li>Cross-platform mobile app testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current and last generation devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next generation devices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network connectivity issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building and campus cell reception quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wi-Fi availability and quality </li></ul></ul>
    48. 84. Practical Considerations <ul><li>Cross-platform mobile app testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current and last generation devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next generation devices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network connectivity issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building and campus cell reception quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wi-Fi availability and quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Uneven support for document formats </li></ul>
    49. 85. Future Opportunities
    50. 86. <ul><li>How can we adapt mobile technology to make library staff more productive or effective? </li></ul>
    51. 87. http://www.psfk.com/2010/07/10-innovative-uses-of-the-ipad-by-the-hospitality-industry.html
    52. 88. Staff-facing Mobile Apps <ul><li>Roving reference </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile tech support </li></ul><ul><li>Physical collection inventory management </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction support </li></ul>
    53. 89. <ul><li>How can we optimize library spaces to support mobile facilitated learning? </li></ul>
    54. 90. Source: Flickr user drhenkenstein
    55. 91. Source: Flickr users OsakaSteve
    56. 92. Mobile and Library Spaces <ul><li>USB power plugs </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive Wi-Fi </li></ul><ul><li>Cell repeaters </li></ul><ul><li>Large screen displays </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative media sharing </li></ul>
    57. 93. <ul><li>How can we leverage emerging mobile interaction models such as location-awareness and augmented reality? </li></ul>
    58. 94. Layar Source: layar.eu
    59. 95. Situated Simulations
    60. 96. Situated Simulations
    61. 97. Location-awareness and AR <ul><li>Wayfinding and navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Smart walking tours </li></ul><ul><li>Historical simulations </li></ul>
    62. 98. Final Thoughts
    63. 99. The Future is Too Bright <ul><li>We've only scratched the surface of what is already possible technologically, let alone what will be possible in the next year or two. </li></ul>
    64. 100. Adaptability <ul><li>The current “state-of-the-art” in mobile computing will become commonplace in only a few years time. How do you keep up with evolving technology and user expectations? </li></ul>
    65. 101. Learn by Doing <ul><li>Mobile and location-aware access to collections is an emerging area with few existing models. Working in this space requires a willingness to experiment and openness to new ideas. </li></ul>
    66. 102. <ul><li>“ The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Alan Kay, American computer scientist </li></ul>