Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trends in Mobile Tools & Applications for Libraries

Megan Fox, Simmons College presenting.
web.simmons.edu/~fox/mobile

Mobile tools are part of daily life for our patrons - how can we be part of our patrons' info-seeking lives? It's not a "librarian" v. "handheld" dichotomy... it's how to be part of that handheld life.

Ubiquity of mobile devices: 3 billion mobile phones v. 1 billion PCs. 80% of teens use text messing regularly. They say that email is only for "business." More users are being equipped to do more and more with their mobile devices! She shows us a lot of nice phones with qwerty keyboards, new interfaces for input, like thumbpads and sliders. Points out the larger screens to better use multimedia content and video/pic capabilities. Oooh, iPhone: the holy grail of mobile messaging. Of course, I noted earlier in the conference that attendees with iPhones were ultra-mobile and constantly connected... totally unlike those of us struggling for a wifi connection. She's pointing out the multi-touch interface and orientation both horiz and vert. She calls them "gesture devices?" Nokia's 810 is similar but also have a slide-out keyboard. Verizon Voyager has that same look but has a clamshell full qwerty keyboard. Centro by Nokia is a mass-market version of the same for only $100.

Handheld computers - UMPC Ultra Mobile Personal Computers. 7" or smaller display... Samsung Q1 ultra has keyboards on both sides of the screen so you don't take up that real estate with a screen-based keyboard input device.

Mobile web demands a different sort of information coming their way... shorter text, simplified pages, etc. All quite logical.

Strategies for facilitating our info stream to mobile users:
.mobi domains and Zinadoo
Search engine: Find.mobi

ILS vendors offering mobile optimized catalogs... all the major players getting into this. Making library staff LIS modules with barcode reader attachments like the ones we're testing now. Pocket circ mentioned. Wireless workstation = Innovative.

Answers.com has released a mobile interface. Mobifusion has partnered with traditional pubs like Worldbook and etc. to provide content. This is of high interest to schools, I should think. Why purchase sets of encyclopedias when kids can get stuff on mobile devices in the classroom?

Transcoding: Squeezer.net the big player. Services are seen by originators as bastarding their content?!? They strip out stuff like javascript and things that might slow down the data transfer. (i can't find a good link; I may be misspelling this)

Databases are addressing mobile interfaces - and talking about doing it out-of-house by licensing someone like Squeezer. Other content is being mobilized through iPods, SparkNotes, and etc. Test prep also popular. Britannica is available for iPod!!! I can see us having to help patrons convert content for vacations, etc. if they want some of our info to be mobile. We will need to look at how we offer different versions of our info - 5 years from now we will def. need to offer "standard" and "mobile" versions of database logins, etc.

90% of all music downloads in Japan are to mobile phones.

Wifi is increasingly popular for downloading content. Spoken word study materials are gaining popularity. iTunesU is big in universities. Shows us the iPod Touch - basically a non-phone iPhone. I can see that lending devices or having a "Device lab" for patrons may become an important thing for those wanting to see what our content will be like on different platforms.

Museum411, OnCellsystems, etc. are using your own device to give you a tour of a facility. Great for libraries! She mentions Google SMS use. HarperCollins Australia are sending book extracts to phones for promotions this way.

Simmons can now send citations to students' phones via text! This would make the catalog very handy for us... mentions Teleflip and GizmoSMS. I know we're heading in the right direction this way. Wake Forest is integrating a whole host of campus services via cell and text. Clicker systems offer a great way for a classroom to quickly assess students' "temp" in class.

(Note: this is an excellent .edu presentation. It should have been adapted for the Internet@Schools track.)

So what's next? Companies are working to "push" ads to your mobile device. They're offering small discounts in exchange for watching or listening to ads. As in Asia, they're moving towards only carrying the cell to pay for purchases, etc... libraries will have to find a way to roll our cards into these devices too. Google Checkout now has a mobile version! Gpay is a new service, coming up. Projectors are being built into cell phones for sharing - SUPER HOT. Glasses that project from a mobile device are also being developed. Gyroscopic interfaces being developed as well for mobile devices so that you can tilt and flick to quickly read things without lots of buttons, etc.

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