Thursday, April 28, 2011

Academic Collection mobility?

Is the content of academic libraries accessible by mobile device?

I fear this is barely (or maybe not) related to the report I ought to be preparing for my INF210 class. My library-twitter-verse keeps mentioning that the mobile trend is important - and as the INF210 task is focussed on collections, I wonder what implication the mobile trend has, if any, on future developments of an academic library collection. 

Without trying to answer that question just yet, I am going to try to gather some of the material I've been scanning:

First, for chronological location 'twas this John Dupuis' retweet of Sarah Houghton-Jan's mention of Aaron Tay's musings about mobile options for libraries and thoughts on usability which provided the last straw.  My desire for a tablet (sons don't want me to get an ipad) that could somehow ease my research efforts is pricked with every tweet about ereaders, ipads, ebook lending - so while I'm feeling the pressure to get started shifting my research into writing a report, my procrastinators asks whether this mobile device thing is something worth exploring for my collection report.

I know libraries are optimising their websites and catalogues for mobiles, but the important question (for whether this distraction is useful to INF210) is whether this makes a difference to the Collection. So I ask (doubting it is the question I should be asking) whether mobiles can access full-text content - not just records of the content.  Had I a mobile could I easily read full text articles, books, repository contents?

Okay, I've begun finding answers to my own question, with help from University of Sydney's list of library resources for mobile devices, Dartmouth College Library's description of mobile access to digital resources, and Richard Bernier's slideshow:
So some database content (eg EBSCOhost) can apparently be found and read by mobile - can anyone tell me how well? / how much?

Michelle McLean shared notes she took at CIL 2007 that mentioned Overdrive and Netlibrary had mobile accessible ebooks - but Josh Hadro says it is still too complicated to actually get those ebooks onto mobile devices.  Oh of course Meredith Farkas listed some vendors who have mobile interfaces (slide 60) and I see EBL Ebook Library in there - that's one of UB's suppliers (I want to see how well mobile access works :-S).

Oh and slide 61 Meredith mentions the Duke Mobile Digital collections, I remember viewing that Youtube video in 2009: excellent.  In Slide 62 Meredith shows how Flickr can make photo collections mobile accessible - although how reliable this strategy would be in the long term is questionable unless I missed a change in attitude from Yahoo over Flickr. Hmm and NCSU have mobile devices in their collection to loan (slide 63).

So, considering a growing academic collection area: repositories? Apparently Adewumi and Omoregbe (2011) found that only Greenstone supports access via mobile devices (p.31 [p.4 in Scribd]) although they did not identify which versions of the platforms they were reviewing. Without a device I'm left wondering what level of access that is - oooh if only I had a device I could use to check all the repositories I've been looking at lately.

Interestingly, the Journal of Computing in which I found Adewumi and Omoregbe's article is available via Scribd -

Institutional Repositories: Features, Architecture, Design and Implementation Technologies

I'm going to want to read that article in more detail: how does Scribd compare to IR platforms? One advantage: from how many IR's can one EMBED items? One limitation in Scribd (which doesn't differ greatly from many of the repositories I've viewed) is that it did not give Zotero suitable metadata beyond title for citation.

Oh my, another distraction (Scribd as repository?) - but I've set that path aside to consider later. What is relevant is that Scribd viewer is mobile (with HTML5).

Leads to explore:

A 2009 annual report from an IFLA committee in acquisitions and collection development mentioned plans to convene a programme at Gothenburg in 2010 entitled "Opening Doors to Spectacular Collections: Access to Multi-sensory, Multimedia, and Mobile Materials" ... okay, one of the sessions was:

"A collaborative study: on the demands of mobile technology on virtual collection development" by Mari Aaltonen, Petri Mannonen, Saija Nieminen and Marja Hjelt. Quite irritatingly the pdf appeared to lack metadata for Zotero to grab, however the content is worth the bother.

Among the researchers' conclusions: "readers are not good enough in functionality to warrant materials being chosen purely on the basis of compatibility with these devices"; functionalities they mention as necessary (and lacking) for academic reading in readers (and I would guess in mobiles) are: easy browsing, navigating, searching and zooming, handling of colour graphics, tables, pictures and equations, ability to jump easily between multiple documents and to annotate.

Oh my oh my oh my: just when I thought I might be able to stop and go to bed echofon tells me that Dan Cohen thinks this worth mentioning:
dancohen tweet re RIN report

neat right? but that's not all. While I sniff out the second article (Reinventing research? Information practices in the humanities), RIN go ahead and show me their recent tweets

Did you see? "Mobile use of repositories". MMhm, so Leslie Carr tells me that access of output at University of Southampton ECS repository is "less than 1/4 of the general use of mobile Internet" and he believes this is because pdf doesn't suit small devices. But he mentions "Mekentoshj's Papers and Mendeley for iPhone seem to indicate that an attractive mobile experience should be possible." Ack, and then Richard M Davis replies mentioning his "Download to my Kindle" idea for repositories, and a comment about pre/post publication versions being in "less intricately formatted PDFs" - which makes me wonder, but only a little as I'm more curious about his reference to "Scholarly HTML" which I think might be related to TEI? (Text Encoding Initiative?) but not directly, if I read petermr's hopes for Scholarly HTML correctly.

A question librarians, archivists, repository builders are concerned with is format durability.

That's all very interesting, but I'm guessing it is not one of the biggest issues to anticipate in the near future of collection development at a regional university library?

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