Paulette M. Hasier, PhD, Manager Research Services, Advanced Resource Technologies, Inc.
Last week the DC/SLA Chapter organized a great presentation on how the Research Services team worked with their IT folks to test, acquire and make available a variety of information resources on company-issued mobile devices.
The key is Context, Content and Contraptions:
Patrons want things to be simple:
- Easy search
- Single device
- One-stop shop
Public libraries are overwhelmed with demand – there are waiting lists for the ebook versions of latest best sellers. Corporate libraries are seeing increased demand for ebooks.
The number of ebook readers doubled over the recent holiday season – 29% of adults now have some kind of e-reader and that number will only increase. At the end of 2011 smartphone sales surpassed PC sales.
Pitfalls & Solutions for adopting new technologies:
- Make subscription resources mobile.
- Make news updates dynamic
- Maintain integrity of scientific data
Why is mobility important? Our patrons travel a lot for work – business trips, offsite meetings, testimony.
Rather than guess what the patrons needed – they conducted end-user interviews – not just surveys. They learned that their patrons wanted resources for the smartphone or a tablet – not laptops and not blackberrys.
Pitfall – Product primacy. Right now Apple rules the market so people are requesting those products – but will all the resources run on Apple products? One company got a top-down order for resources for the iPad with no prior discussion or consideration of what content was available for the device.
- WiFi vs. 3G service – building wasn’t configured for WiFi – so 3G is the solution.
- authentication method – IP doesn’t work on mobile devices so in the end they went with username and password. Company IT is still working on some kind of pass-through connection that is seamless like IP authentication.
- Monitoring agency-specific news RSS feeds not working for mobile – solution – using social media to bridge the need for the short term.
Some lessons learned:
Don’t assume you know/understand what the users’ needs are.
Patrons want things to be simple – but they want the content that they want/need.
Science staff doesn’t want humanities content.
Patrons were happiest with an A-to-Z list of journals they could select from.
There was an expectation of more content being available – so provide information about what is and is not available.
If you are tied to a product, i.e. iPhone or iPad, aim to use applications and resources that are optimized for those products.
Dr. Hasier and her staff will give the following presentations:
Better Websites: Agile, Teens & Duct Tape! Computers in Libraries, Washington, D.C. - March 22, 2012
Impact of Technical Standards on Vocabulary & Metadata Projects - SLA Annual, Chicago - July 18, 2012
Gov on the Go: Mobile Apps - SLA Annual, Chicago - July 18, 2012