The MLA Webcast, Cut the Cord: Connecting To Our Mobile Users is fast approaching, Wednesday November 18, 2009 1:00-3:00pm (central time). This webcast will be discussing the various trends, technologies, and innovative uses of mobile devices. They will specifically discuss the use of mobile technology and its value for librarians and health care professionals.
As many of you know I have a lot on my plate these next few weeks but I really hope to catch this webcast. I think it is very important and should be a must see for any librarian. Why? Why should a librarian be interested in smartphones and mobile devices, didn’t we already cover this with that webcast on PDAs a while back? True, there was webcast a few years back on PDAs but a lot of things have changed since then. While there are some who are still toting around the old Palm and PocketPC devices, the two most popular mobile devices now days are Blackberrys and iPhones.
These all in one devices are taking the Internet by storm. There are 22.4 million daily mobile web users (comScore March 2009) which is an increase of 107%. More and more people are surfing and using the web on their phones. At one time people scoffed at the idea that somebody would want to watch a whole movie on a video iPod, now people are using the web on a screen that isn’t much better than the old video iPod.
So what does this mean to the average medical librarian? Your users are either already or are soon to be using their mobile devices to surf and get information. Is your website mobile friendly? What library resources are mobile friendly? I am not just talking online books. What databases have optimized mobile friendly sites and are you familiar with them?
These sort of questions are not only important for librarians but they are extremely important for vendors who are selling to libraries. There are some point of care products that are mobile friendly but what about Medline? PubMed has a mobile friendly search interface but what about the other Medline, nursing, and research databases? As I have met with several vendor reps formally and informally, I am surprised by the number who don’t have a mobile friendly platform and who had never considered one.
Two years ago I had a very old and very boring cell phone. It did a good job at being a cell phone but it really didn’t do much else. That was fine for me at the time. Then I got an iPhone. I was kind of reluctant to jump in to the iPhone world. They are expensive little boogers (I always got the phone that came free with my plan) and the data plan was expensive too. But I have to say now that I have jumped into the iPhone waters, I am never coming out. I use that thing everywhere I go. If I am not at home or at work and I need to look something up, no matter how important or unimportant, I use my phone. There are 22.4 million of us, surely I am not the only one using the medical library on my phone.