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Internet Librarian 2010: Designing a Mobile Experience

Dave McLaughlin – Harford County Public Library
You can program in the native code or you can use a javascript framework.  The latter gives you the window dressings of a native app.  JS Framework web apps and mobile webkit devices include iPS, Android, Palm webOS, and Blackberry OS devices. jQuery Mobile is free and open source, and available at http://jquerymobile.com.  JQuery Mobile has broad compatibility, even with Nokia devices or the Opera Mobile browser.  JQTouch is another player to watch. JQTouch has one thing JQuery Mobile doesn’t–it more closely approximates the native app experience.  Each of these “pages” you can view within JQTouch is a <div> tag, letting you flip thru the carousels to the different pages.  When using JQTouch, you create a boilerplate for each page for a consistent layout and navigation, and then you insert your content into the body.  He also recommended the iPhone simulator tool as well.  HCPL Mobile, their app, with which you can look up items, log into your account, and more.  You can’t request an item or renew it, and they’re hoping that with their new ILS they can add this functionality.  HCPL Mobile is a “web app” (read: mobile webpage formatted for the user’s particular device to mimic an app experience).

Jason Michel & Kwabena Sekyere – Miami University Libraries
Their mobile site is located at http://lib.muohio.edu/m.  They wanted to be accessible to as many different mobile devices as possible, so they chose a mobile website instead of an app, using the Drupal mobile module functionality.  They have a catalog search, links to their database vendors who actually have mobile-friendly content, ways to contact the library, social media presences, etc.  They wanted catalog inter-functionality too, just like Harford, but their ILS vendor (Innovative Interfaces) doesn’t allow it.  (Sarah’s note: I always recommend doing a mobile site over a mobile app, but one huge benefit to our Boopsie-created mobile app @sanjoselibrary is that they offer full library user account functionality by screen scraping III’s Millennium patron interface).  Once you are able to set up your mobile profile for EBSCO you can send out a static link to get users access.  MU Libraries also offers IM, email, phone, and text-a-librarian which they offer through the Google Voice hack.  Sekyere demonstrated how the Google Voice hack actually works, which was helpful I think for people not familiar with the service.  More libraries are using this hack despite the fact that, strictly speaking, it might violate Google’s terms of service.  But hey…why not try?  MU Libraries directions interfaces with the iPhone’s mapping system.  They will continue to develop.

“Internet Librarian 2010: Designing a Mobile Experience”

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