Tag Archives: mlibs

Mlibs event – Building mobile-friendly sites with responsive design

This is part of a series of blog posts based on the sessions held at the Mobile technologies in libraries: information sharing event. More resources from the day are available at the event Lanyrd page.

Matt Machell (Capita) gave a presentation during the morning breakout sessions focused on building mobile-friendly sites with responsive design. The notes below have been contributed by Ben Showers who attended Matt’s session.

Matt Machell

Matt Machell

Matt made it clear that the aim of this session was for us to question our assumptions about what mobile means.

The session began with some group activities exploring the uses we put our phones to, and which are the main tools we utilise on our phones. The top uses for phones were:

  • Maps and travel apps (trains, buses)
  • Communication and social media (Email, IM, twitter, facebook)
  • Camera
  • Music (spotify, radio)

Matt’s exercise made it clear that our phones need to be reconceived as small computers rather than a phone; indeed, no one mentioned the making calls on their phone the whole session.

What is responsive design?

Once Matt had made us deconstruct our mobile phone usage, he outlined what he meant by responsive design.

Rather than building for different devices (tablet, phone, laptop etc), fragmenting content across different apps, responsive design allows you to produce a single website that scales according to the device that’s accessing it.

Responsive design provides a solution to the proliferation of different devices that’s also manageable. It means you don’t have to second guess the devices people will be using.  Its fluidity means it will adapt to any device that’s being used.

Matt did, however, make it clear that there would be compromises as content will be reconfigured and lost/formatted for the different resolutions. The nature of navigation on the site will change for different devices.

The key is that is fluid and flexible, and adapts to different devices.

Matt’s presentation is available on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/Shuckle/web-app-and-responsive-design-for-libraries

Mlibs event – keynote session

This is part of a series of blog posts based on the sessions held at the Mobile technologies in libraries: information sharing event. More resources from the day are available at the event Lanyrd page.

James Clay giving his keynote presentation

James Clay giving his keynote presentation

James Clay, ILT & Learning Resources Manager at Gloucestershire College, delivered the keynote session for the day and gave an interesting overview of some of the technologies that are currently being used by libraries and those that could be in the future.

James began his talk with some really interesting facts and figures about mobile use including:

  • 45% of UK adults accessed the internet via mobile phone in 2011
  • 71% of 16-24year olds accessed the internet via mobile phone in 2011
  • By 2014, access to the internet via mobile devices is predicted to overtake internet access via desktop

He asked what message libraries give out about mobile e.g. ‘Don’t use mobile in library’, ‘Call us for help’.  Why?

Access to information now is wider than years back and journey to information is less important which makes information profession more complex.

New technologies mainly do not replace old technologies (e.g tv and internet), they often enhance it. This is echoed in libraries; ebooks are not a replacement to hard copy, they offer a different experience.

James then gave some examples of the types of things libraries can utilise in the area of mobile technologies, including:

  • QR codes – good for shortening website access
  • Augmented Reality – locational uses
  • Google goggles and barcode scanning apps – scan book cover or barcode to access price information (or details about availability in library)
  • Notemaking e.g. Evernote

James felt that libraries should be utilising mobile technologies to offer library service anytime and anywhere to our users, though he did point out the following issues which need to be considered:

  • mobile makes copyright issues more complex
  • cost
  • Innovation Prevention Department (i.e. institutional stumbling blocks or red tape preventing innovation)
  • digital divide (though don’t make assumptions that Facebook users know how to use electronic resources for learning)
  • change of learning expectations
  • connectivity – is it reliable and realistic?
  • staff development you dont need to know everything to provide help and support
  • time – its about which priorities there are and who decides the priorities

The concluding comments from James’ keynote included discussion about the pace of change and the fact that this is never going to stop so we need to learn to cope with it. He also highlighted that many libraries have pilot projects but that they should be learning from others who have already implemented similar things rather than potentially making the same mistakes. He urged everyone to take one thing from the event to really focus on making a change and implementing a new way of doing things via mobile technologies in their own libraries.

A copy of James’ presentation is available at: https://speakerdeck.com/u/jamesclay/p/mobile-technologies

Mobile technologies in libraries: information sharing event

The information sharing event organised by the project was fully booked in less than 24 hours and we’ll be welcoming 60 attendees to Birmingham on Tuesday 8th May – many apologies for those of you on the waitlist who didn’t manage to get a place.

In addition to our keynote speaker, James Clay, we have 17 other speakers and facilitators who will be providing us with lightning talks and breakout discussion sessions throughout the day. The full programme is as follows (attendees will receive printed copies on the day):

Tech toolbox

Thanks to the Open University who have kindly offered to provide the use of mobile devices, we’ll have a tech toolbox area with different gadgets to take a look at. This will be available during the breakout sessions as well as during breaks so that you can get hands on experience with different mobile devices and technologies (including apps) and consider how they could be utilised or supported in your library.

Resources from the day

Some of the resources are already available to view on the event Lanyrd page, and we encourage attendees to continue to add coverage to the page including photos, blog posts, presentations and notes.

Following from afar

If you’re unable to attend but would like to follow the event, we’ll be encouraging attendees to tweet using the #mlibs hashtag so please do set up a saved search to follow relevant tweets. We’ve also set up a Twitter list of attendees which you may wish to subscribe to. If you want to send in a question to the event during the day, please use the #mlibs hashtag and ideally include @joeyanne, @ostephens or @evidencebase in the tweet so one of the organisers can pick it up.

Arriving the day before?

If you’re arriving on Monday (or live in the local area) and would like to meet up the previous evening for food and/or drinks, we’ll be in All Bar One on Newhall Street from around 6.30pm. If you’re planning to join us, please email me so we have an idea of numbers to let the venue know.

Looking forward to seeing some of you next week! 🙂

Invitation to join m-libraries online community

As part of the JISC m-library community support project and based on the feedback provided from our survey at the beginning of the project, we have created an online community for anyone interested in mobile technologies in libraries. This is an experimental development and we would like to invite you to join the community and try it out, and leave us feedback on what you think – whether or not you think it is useful, how it could be improved, or alternative ideas.

The community website is available at: https://mlibraries.jiscinvolve.org/community

Community website screenshot

Community website screenshot (click image to go to community)

You can view information in the community without logging in, though to contribute you’ll need to set up an account which only takes a couple of minutes. Once you have logged in you can join any groups that interest you and choose to receive updates if you wish, either by RSS or by email.

Please feel free to jump straight in – comment on existing content or create your own discussion topics in the forums. Maybe you’d like to share innovative ideas you have been trying at your library, or you have a specific problem or issue that you’d like to discuss with others, or perhaps you’d just like advice on where to start with implementing mobile technologies in your library.

We would really welcome your feedback on the community site and what you would like for the future. There is a feedback option on the left hand side of the site – please do use it to leave ideas, problems, questions or praise. There is also a feedback discussion topic in the General group which you may wish to use.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the site!

Booking now open for Mobile technologies in libraries: information sharing event

The booking is now open for this free information sharing event on Tuesday 8th May 2012 in central Birmingham organised by the JISC m-library community support project for all library practitioners interested in how mobile technologies can be utilised by libraries.

Further details available below and at the event registration page: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/3016555599

Purpose of event
To encourage skills transfer and knowledge exchange across library and technology practitioners interested in developing m-library initiatives.

Target audience
Library practitioners (e.g. librarians, developers, managers, IT staff, e-learning staff) currently working with mobile devices/technologies or interested in doing so in future.

This information sharing event organised by the JISC m-libraries community support project will include speakers (including keynote speaker James Clay), workshops, discussions, networking opportunities and a chance for hands-on experience of mobile devices and technologies.

The event will be relatively informal, with a selection of morning and afternoon workshops to be decided by attendees. Please be prepared to talk to other attendees about your activities or plans for m-libraries – you’ll even be given the opportunity to present a lightning talk or facilitate a session if you like.

Learning outcomes
By attending this event you will:

  • learn more about the different ways libraries can utilise mobile technologies
  • have the opportunity to examine for yourself some of the different mobile devices and technologies your library may want to use
  • be able to contribute to the event by sharing your own library’s initiatives and plans for m-library development
  • take away ideas of how to progress m-library development in your library whatever your budget
  • network, build connections with and learn from others interested in utilising mobile technologies in libraries

Tuesday 8th May 2012

Maple House (central Birmingham)

Getting to Maple House
The Maple House venue is located in the Birmingham City Centre location of Corporation Street overlooking Old Square. Just minutes from New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street stations it is also conveniently located for a number of major bus routes. Parking is also available at a number of NCP car parks locally. For more information see Maple House directions guide.

Places are limited, please book your place on the event registration website: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/3016555599

Mobile computing interest group – webinar recording available

Yesterday saw the first virtual meeting of the ALA LITA Mobile Computing Interest Group. The webinar was open to all and was also recorded so if you are interested in finding out more about any of the following you can now watch the recording.*

  • HTML5 Apps, APIs, and the Mobile Platform
  • Handheld Tube Tours:  Increasing orientation engagement with viral videos and mobile devices
  • JISC m-libs – a UK academic library perspective
  • Using paper prototyping to determine mobile platform requirements
  • WordPress Mobile Plug-ins

I gave a brief overview of the work of the JISC Mobile Infrastructure for Libraries programme including slides about the MACON, m-biblio, and PhoneBooth projects as well as the community support project. The slides for my presentation are embedded below (or you can view on Slideshare):


*I found that the webinar recording wouldn’t play in Chrome for some reason, but seemed to work fine in IE9.

Recent project presentations

We’ve recently given two presentations at m-library events.

NoWAL event

The first was on December 2nd at Edge Hill University where we facilitated a brief discussion on use of mobile devices in libraries. During the discussion everyone shared resources (which have been added to the social bookmarks displayed in the sidebar on the blog), as well as sharing some of the initiatives or ideas they have been trying. We heard about a Kindle loaning scheme, using iPads to support roving enquiries, a University wide mobile app, and BiblioApp, a free mobile app to help with referencing.

Our brief presentation is embedded below:

ARLIS event

The second event was earlier this week on December 12th, an ARLIS event on m-learning and e-learning. Interestingly, one of the presenters at this event was an academic who discussed the way they have been using Facebook to communicate with students rather than Blackboard due to better functionality and the fact that students can access Facebook on their mobiles.

Our presentation (embedded below) gave numerous example of mobile technology initiatives in libraries, as well as an introduction to the m-library project:

Future events

We’re due to present at the American Library Association LITA Mobile Computing Interest Group webinar (listed under LITA Mobile IG Meeting) in early January, where we hope to be able to open dialogue between UK and America.

Do you know of any other m-library events which the project should aim to attend? (We are aware of m-libraries conference in Sept 2012 and LILAC in April 2012).

Upcoming m-library events

There are a number of upcoming events either focused on m-libraries or with mobile devices as one of the themes. Over the next few weeks, members of the project team will be at the following relevant events:

We will be giving a presentation at both the NoWAL and ARLIS events and are keen to continue to collect information and get your views on how an m-library community could help you. Many thanks to those of you who have already completed the fact finding survey – if you haven’t yet please do: http://svy.mk/mlibs1.

Hope to see some of you at these events to talk about m-libraries 🙂

Fact finding survey

survey image

Surveys by LWVC

As we begin to gather information for the project, we’d like to get an idea of where libraries are currently at with regards to utilising mobile technologies. We’ve devised a short survey to gather information about what libraries are currently doing, what things are being planned for future, and what further information is needed to help make decisions in this area. This will hopefully help us identify potential case studies or examples of best practice to share, as well as gaining an understanding of information libraries require (that we can hopefully help gather by the end of the project).

The survey also asks about what you would like from an m-library community to help shape development. Think about the communities you use; why do you use them? What features do you like about them? At the moment we don’t know what format the m-library community will take – that’s something to be decided by anyone interested in being part of the community. Is it a central hub for communicating and sharing advice and links that would be useful, or is it somewhere you’d like to be able to collaborate on documents?

If you’re interested in m-library developments or have any thoughts on these areas, please complete our brief online survey: http://svy.mk/mlibs1. The survey is open to all – please feel free to share the link above or QR code below to your contacts via email or social media.

QR code to survey

QR code to survey

What is m-libraries?

So now we’ve handled what we mean by mobile, now it’s time to consider the concept of m-libraries*. In a nutshell:

Mobile devices + libraries = m-libraries

Mobile devices + libraries = m-libraries

You may have heard of the successful m-libraries and Handheld Librarian conferences, or read some of their conference proceedings or related blog posts. The scope for m-libraries is vast – basically any initiative that enables the use of mobile devices in libraries could be included under this umbrella. This could include (though is not limited to):

  • Accessing library content via mobile devices (e.g. e-books, e-journals, special collections)
  • Using SMS to support enquiries or provide information to users
  • Developing a mobile interface for a library website or library catalogue
  • Using QR codes around the library to link to electronic content accessible by mobile devices
  • Staff using mobile devices within the library to support roving enquiries
  • Developing a dedicated mobile app to provide library content to users
  • Utilising augmented reality within the library (e.g. special collections) using cameras on mobile devices
  • Using mobile devices to interact with the library (e.g. renewing books, checking in on location services, doing tasks via mobile devices for points/rewards)

As the m-library support project is JISC-funded, our primary focus is academic libraries in UK, though we are also interested in innovative projects further afield which we could learn from (e.g. in different types of libraries or in academic libraries outside the UK).

We’ll be sharing relevant information and links we find on the blog as well as gathering case studies to develop a web presence to share these examples. If you have any examples you think might be relevant for us to examine as part of the project, please submit an example via our form.

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*The project’s official title is the mobile library support project but owing to the existing mobile library concept (i.e. library on wheels!) we chose to adopt the m-library name.