Survey analysis – barriers/challenges to implementation

Respondents were asked to indicate any barriers or challenges they had to implementing mobile initiatives. They were given the opportunity to provide open responses as well as choose from a preselected range of answers.  The bar chart below shows the distribution of responses:

Barriers/challenges to implementation

Barriers/challenges to implementation

Some of the open responses provided further information in areas that were covered in the closed response options whilst some responses covered new topics.  Three respondents used the opportunity to state that they foresaw no barrier to development.  Some of the themes emerging from the open responses included:

Not a priority

Of the 46 respondents who indicated that m-library development was not a priority some provided further detail to support this.  This included a number of different situations:

Not a *library* priority. A very high amount of work required on other aspects such as refurbishments and stock  moves means little time for development. If the students aren’t complaining that we don’t have mobile apps/mobile-friendly sites, it’s hard to prioritise above other projects and ‘firefighting’, especially when the development will be time- consuming as it is slightly specialist and new.

The Library itself has mobile accessibility as a major priority, but it doesn’t seem to be ranked as importantly by the University.

There is no expert or interested person who has the time to make this a priority. It is currently seen as an add-on to existing core activities, a nice-to-have.  This may change over time as smart phones become more ubiquitous.


Twenty five respondents provided details of barriers explicitly concerned with cost including costs to the library and to users:

Not enough money to get needed devices (iPods, iPads) for teaching

Cost – not all users can afford mobile technologies (e.g. iPads/smart phones), so we need to develop services which are still accessible to all.

Financial restraints. I believe we know what we need, but require significant resources to either build something in house, or hire someone to build something for us. The adoption of mobile services will probably happen gradually for us, with a mobile catalogue first, and a mobile website at least a year or two away.


Fifteen respondents referred to barriers concerned with time constraints e.g:

Lack of staff time to devote to learning and creating mobile apps

Library Systems is heavily under-resourced and are unable to allocate the time required to develop a mobile interface.


82 respondents had indicated that lack of skills were a barrier to m-library development. This was primarily due to a lack of technical skills in the library, though lack of experience was also mentioned.


A few respondents provided responses which could be considered to see uncertainty as a barrier to development.  It would appear that some of this uncertainty could be addressed by the provision of more information about m-library developments.  Examples of responses included:

The biggest challenge is that there are lots of strategies for creating mobile-friendly resources, but no clear winner. We currently do not use a CMS (though we are looking into it). In the meantime, do we continue to maintain two sites, or revise our current design so that it is mobile-first? What javascript library should we use–is jQuery Mobile worth the pain of learning, or should we look to HTML 5 & CSS 3? etc.

It’s not preventing us, but the variety of devices makes it more difficult to use the mobile technologies; also, the lack of standardization between publishers and content providers of e-resources makes it a challenge to provide access to these materials

Infrastructure /policy

Seventeen respondents referred to barriers which concerned infrastructure or policy issues and in a mixture of internal and external contexts:

We can have a go at some things, but here our web site is not immediately under our control so we can’t create a mobile version, and this doesn’t seem to be a prority although it is one for us. We have better control of the catlagues and use the accessible version to create a reasonable mobile version.

Not all our systems are mobile compatible

Additional comments

Some respondents provided additional comments which do not fit into the above categories and were only reflected in a few cases.  These included:

issues with service provider licenses and permissions.

Misconceptions of ‘mobile technology’, and technical ‘fear’ of the unknown.


It’s clear that at present there are a number of barriers and challenges facing libraries which are prohibiting or delaying implementation of m-library initiatives. Some of these are specific to individual institutions, whilst some are common across a number of libraries. This information is useful for the project and we certainly hope that we can help to reduce some of those barriers, particularly those concerning information about mobile initiatives, and helping provide evidence to equip libraries to tackle other barriers.

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