Planning for the handheld mobile future

Megan Fox gave a very interesting (especially for me – who is sorely behind on mobile devices) keynote presentation yesterday morning.

At our library the Blackberry is the mobile device of choice – but according to Megan Smart phone are being used more than PDAs – which make sense because who wants to carry around a phone and a PDA when you can have 2 in one? My question always is – how are they as phones? Are they as good as my boring phone?

She also showed us a very sci-fi looking ad for an ebook reader. There was a person reading their newspaper on the using an ebook reader and across the isle is a woman reading the old-fashioned way – the future is here folks!

She mentioned a good number of sites that offer mobile versions of their sites – and hopefully when we redesign Jenkins later this year (probably next year) we will be one of those sites. I’ll post the long list later – when I’m home with my reliable wireless connection :)

What does this have to do with libraries? Well most people are using their mobile devices for quick answers – what time is this movie? how do I get to this restaurant? where can I find an electronic copy of this law book? (I added that one :) ) Who better to answer these questions than librarians? Why are we letting everyone turn to Google and the other search engines to find their answers?

Text messaging is huge in the US and even huger ;) in the rest of the world and companies are already jumping on trend and offering answers via text messages. Now I do not use text messaging because I can’t see paying for the service when I can use my email or IM to contact people – but one day it will a standard in all phone packages – and wouldn’t it be great if the law students could text message us and ask for a quick answer? I’ll post the services that are already doing this later (along with the list of mobile friendly sites).

We (our library) were planning on buying a blackberry to share among the staff so that we could all learn how to use the device – I was not as excited as my boss – but now I can’t wait to give it a whirl. Thanks Megan for turning me on to even more gadgets!

[update]I forgot to tag this post[/update]

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4 comments

  1. “Well most people are using their mobile devices for quick answers – what time is this movie? how do I get to this restaurant? ….Who better to answer these questions than librarians?”

    I see what you’re saying here, but on the other hand, mightn’t we be better off in letting Google etc answer the simple reference questions, and concentrating our skills on the more difficult ones, where our skills can really add value?

  2. “Well most people are using their mobile devices for quick answers – what time is this movie? how do I get to this restaurant? ….Who better to answer these questions than librarians?”

    I see what you’re saying here, but on the other hand, mightn’t we be better off in letting Google etc answer the simple reference questions, and concentrating our skills on the more difficult ones, where our skills can really add value?

  3. The question is really – will they come to us if they think they’re getting their answers from Google? The problem is that people are getting quick answers – nto necessarily the best answers from services like Google – so why not spread out our skills to different areas?

  4. The question is really – will they come to us if they think they’re getting their answers from Google? The problem is that people are getting quick answers – nto necessarily the best answers from services like Google – so why not spread out our skills to different areas?

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