Tag Archives: ala_lita

ALA LITA MCIG virtual meeting

I recently attended a webinar hosted by the American Library Association Library and Information Technology Association Mobile Computing Interest Group. I created a Storify to share the presentations and related resources.

Unfortunately I’m not able to embed the Storify but you can access it from the link below.

View the story “LITA MCIG virtual meeting” on Storify

LITA Mobile Computing Interest Group meeting at ALA Annual Conference 2012

This blog post was originally posted as a guest blog post on the ACRL TechConnect blog.

I attended the ALA Annual Conference 2012 and was up bright and early to get to the 8am Sunday morning session from the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) Mobile Computing Interest Group (MCIG) session. It included four presentations on a variety of different topics plus Q&A and some time for more general discussion. Below is my summary of the presentations and discussion. (The presentation slides are available at ALA Connect).

NCSU Libraries Mobile Scavenger Hunt
– Anne Burke, North Caroline State University (Slides)

Anne spoke about the way NCSU have revitalised their traditional induction sessions by offering a mobile scavenger hunt to help introduce students to navigating the library and asking librarians for help. They hoped to improve student engagement, foster confidence and introduce students to emerging technologies by using iPod Touches to deliver a scavenger hunt which they worked through in groups. Although they looked into existing solutions such as SCVNGR and Scavenger Hunt with Friends, these were either too costly or relied on geolocation which can be a problem for small areas like libraries.

Their chosen solution uses Evernote (one account for each iPod Touch, and a master one for staff) and a Google spreadsheet alongside a set of questions on paper. Students record their responses via the iPod Touch (either as text, photo or audio) as they move around the library, and staff can keep an eye on progress. When students return, they are shown a slideshow of photos from the groups, given their scores, and prizes are given out (chocolates). Any questions which appeared to cause problems are discussed as part of the feedback also. NCSU use these for an one-hour instruction sessions and are currently looking into offering a self-guided version. Further details are available on the NCSU library website.

Gimme! The mobile app development project at Scottsdale Public Library
– Aimee Fifarek and Ann Porter, Scottsdale Public Library (Slides)

Aimee and Ann shared their experiences of developing a mobile app using a grant fund. Unusually, Scottsdale Public Library received funding before deciding what sort of mobile app they wanted to produce. They established a project team bringing together technology staff and tech-savvy staff from across the library in order to get investment from a variety of different areas first, and then brainstormed ideas with the team. They also wanted to ensure whatever they built was valuable to their customer base so they employed consultants to research user needs. The consultants also then developed the app and supported implementation.

The mobile app they chose to produce, Gimme!, is a book recommendation system which combines catalogue details with book recommendations from library staff. A number of different systems are used to achieve this – they use the Goodreads API with Feedburner (which they get from their library catalogue) to combine reviews with the descriptions and book covers (using the ISBN to link it together). Gimme! works across all devices, you can try it out at: http://gimme.scottsdalelibrary.org/

Before the first Connection: A marketing campaign for a Law Library’s Mobile Application
– Terry Ballard, New York Law School, Mendik Library (Slides)

Terry spoke about how the New York Law School had wanted to get ahead of the curve by implementing a mobile app. Having investigated a number of options, they chose to use a third-party solution, Boopsie. However at the time it didn’t offer support for course reserves. They spoke to Boopsie about this and arranged for Boopsie to develop this additional functionality (at no extra cost as they were aware that other libraries would be interested in this feature as well). They also wanted to integrate a Google Custom Search on mobile, so they spoke to Google and were able to add this option. Although the usage of the mobile app has so far been relatively low, the number of search sessions via mobile has stayed relatively high since the launch.

It’s time to look at our mobile website again
– Bohyun Kim, Florida International University Medical Library (Slides)

Bohyun presented a really interesting overview of the current state of mobile websites for libraries. To set the context, she gave some figures about mobile web usage in US – more mobile devices are now shipping than desktops, and over the last 5 years AT&T mobile web use has grown by 20,000%! As devices and mobile web capabilities have improved, the way we expect to use mobile websites is changing. We are spending more time accessing the web via our mobiles instead of desktop and are doing more detailed tasks such as research and shopping. Bohyun looked at the mobile websites which Aaron Tay reviewed in 2010 and revisited them to see how they had changed. It was really interesting to see the changes, many of which were common to most websites:

  • Research tools being added (or made more prominent), often with a search bar at the top of the mobile website
  • Additional functionality for library transactions (view the library account, course reserve, renew books and other items on loan)

Design had generally simplified and moved towards websites that look similar to native mobile apps, though there were different approaches. For example, some library mobile websites had moved from a list to icons, whilst others have moved from icons to a list! Bohyun concluded that it is no longer relevant to have a companion site for mobile with minimum content – the mobile site should aim to deliver the same functionality as the main website. She emphasised the importance of an environmental scan to see what others are doing, and to research your target audience to understand their needs and expectations and commented on how to market your mobile service more effectively.


The four presentations were all excellent and we had lots of Q&As so discussion was dispersed throughout, but we also briefly discussed the general topic of responsive web design. This followed nicely from Bohyun’s presentation as it is evident that there is no longer a clear cut difference between what we expect from a mobile website and what we expect from a desktop website. Add to the mix the tablet market and its varying sizes, and it is clear that responsive web design is a useful approach to take. Fortunately, there was a presentation at the conference later that day on responsive web design and you can view further information and a copy of the presentation online.

As last time, I found the mobile computing interest group session really interesting and encourage anyone interested in mobile technologies in libraries to follow the future discussions and webinars from LITA MCIG.

Free webinar – LITA Mobile Computing Interest Group virtual meeting

The American Library Association’s LITA Mobile Computing Interest Group are hosting a virtual meeting on Wednesday 11th January which is open to all. Jo Alcock, part of the m-library community support project, will be presenting along with four other presentations on mobile computing and the opportunity for discussion.

All you need to do is register using the details below:

++ LITA Mobile Computing IG Virtual Meeting ++

Meeting Title: LITA Mobile IG Meeting
Date & Time: 01/11/2012 at Noon EST (5pm UK time)
Duration: 1.5 hour(s)

Register here (Select ‘LITA Mobile IG Meeting’)

Join the meeting


HTML5 Apps, APIs, and the Mobile Platform
– Jason Clark, Head of Digital Access and Web Services, Montana State University Libraries

With features like geolocation, voice input, and offline data storage, HTML5 is changing the way we can develop for the mobile platform. We’ll take a close look at a prototype mobile web app, BookMeUp, a book recommender tool built with some of the newest features of HTML5 coupled with the Amazon Product Advertising API. The session will focus on some of the cutting edge features HTML5 has to offer, but will look to ways you might use HTML5 in your mobile development today.

Handheld Tube Tours:  Increasing orientation engagement with viral videos and mobile devices
– Sean CordesInstruction Services Coordinator, Western Illinois University Libraries

Library orientation tours are helpful, but for many students, if you’ve seen one service point, you’ve seen them all. This presentation describes the practice of incorporating the You Tube viral video format with handheld devices to energize and engage students during
library orientation tours. Topics include best practices for creating viral library content, and triumphs and challenges of using handheld devices to support library orientation tours including device availability, connectivity, sequencing content, and pacing the handheld supplemented tour.

JISC m-libs – a UK academic library perspective
– Jo Alcock, Researcher, Evidence Base at Birmingham City University

The JISC Mobile Infrastructure for Libraries programme is a series of projects in UK supporting initiatives that utilise mobile computing in academic libraries. The presentation will give a brief overview of the institutional projects, and discuss the broader community support project which aims to help support and engage the emerging m-library community by reviewing and synthesising existing research and evidence-based guidance.

Using paper prototyping to determine mobile platform requirements
– David Brightbill, Manager of Research and Development, College Center for Library Automation, FL

At CCLA, We’re currently doing some paper prototyping around potential mobile applications for our discovery tool .  We are looking at mobile apps that support the student research process and are in a very early stage of this but have identified a few potential topics that we hope to examine in student focus groups in the new year.

WordPress Mobile Piug-ins
– Sharon Whitfield, Emerging Technologies Librarian, The College of New Jersey

WordPress is primarily known as an open source blogging platform, but it’s actually capable of much more.  One of the areas that WordPress has been improving is with mobile website and app creation.   There are presently 126 plug-ins that support mobile website creation including tools that can post, manage, and edit your website from your
mobile device.  Why guess which plug-ins will work for you?  Join us for this presentation and learn the best plug-ins to make your WordPress site, mobile friendly.