20 Jul Experimenting with mobile technologies in libraries
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was invited to present a session at the 2011 Colleges of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) conference last month (Staying positive in difficult times: Maintaining quality services). My session focused on mobile technologies. I probably spend about half, if not more, of my online time on mobile devices – usually on iPhone or iPad. I use a lot of different apps for various different purposes – document creation and editing, emailing, blogging, photo management, planning travel, time management and more. But how can we utilise these technologies in libraries? Many of our users (and staff) already have mobile devices, so it’s useful to consider how we can use these to support the library service.
To prepare for the presentation, I spent a few months collecting as many examples I could of mobile technologies being used in libraries (and I am continuing to collect ideas) – from blogs, email lists, tweets, and events. I organised them into the following three areas for the presentation:
- Library resources (i.e. mobile access to library collections such as e-books, e-journals, and special collections)
- Library services (i.e. supporting or extending traditional library services, such as reference enquiries and circulation, using mobile technologies)
- Mobile specific purposes (i.e. new functionality offered by mobile technologies such as geolocation and QR codes)
The session was fully booked so I was given the lecture theatre for my session (which meant I also got to try my own mobile tech experiment and presented using Keynote on the iPad and Keynote Remote on the iPhone – thought I ought to practice what I preach if I’m presenting about mobile technologies!) It was a really enthusiastic group, and I got some great feedback during and after the session.
As it was a session on mobile technologies, I started and ended the session with everyone using their mobile phones to send a text message to answer questions on PollEverywhere. It worked really well – I used it at the beginning of the session to gauge audience experience with mobile technologies (15 of 20 respondents had used a mobile phone for something other than calling or texting before), and I used it at the end to find out what one thing I had talked about that they could investigate for their library. QR codes was a popular response for this (particularly for promoting use of e-books but also for videos of staff and for treasure hunts); a couple of people were hoping to investigate claiming their library on Foursquare; a couple wanted to investigate a mobile catalogue; and one wanted to investigate Cardstar.
Here’s the presentation with lots of examples of how mobile technologies could be used in libraries. Some of the examples inevitably cost money, however in keeping with the theme of staying positive in difficult times, there are a number of things you can do for free (other than the time cost of course). Warning: the presentation is image heavy, so may take a while to load. Click on the arrow icon in the bottom right hand corner if you want to view it fullscreen.
If you’re interested in finding out more about mobile technologies in libraries or would like me to come and present on this topic, please email me or join in the Twitter conversation using the #mlibs tag.