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March 2010

Coming to Terms with Mobile

We’re still in the very early days of mobile services for libraries, and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Mobile sites will always offer a subset of the functionality available through their counterparts on the traditional Web. So it’s essential to deliver the right information and service options that will make the effort worthwhile to mobile users. The early offerings in this space focus on helping users discover nearby libraries and on making the traditional online catalog more functional on a mobile device.

While that’s a good start, I’m looking for more compelling offerings in the future. In the same way that the traditional online catalog fails to satisfy the current generation of Web-savvy users, prompting the creation of a new genre of discovery interfaces, those drivers apply to the mobile Web. We need a mobile presence that does justice to the full breadth of library collections in a coherent and unified way.

In many of my talks and essays, I discuss the commercial competitors that libraries face in delivering content to our users. I rail about how advanced these competitors appear in the way that they deliver content and services on the Web relative to the offerings of most libraries. I see the genre of discovery interfaces as filling an urgent need to help libraries engage users whose expectations have been set by these commercial destinations. By and large, libraries have been sluggish when it comes to moving away from their old Web-based online catalogs to more modern discovery interfaces.

--Marshall Breeding

Also in this Issue

  • LibraryThing Delivers Mobile Access to
  • Library Catalogs
  • SirsiDynix BookMyne
  • Summon from Serials Solutions Goes Mobile
  • Early
  • A Decade of Mobile at Innovative
  • Polaris Library Systems Announces It's Mobile
  • Another Major Win for VTLS
  • What WordPress Can Do for You

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