Late in July I attended a LearningTimes.org webinar, “The Handheld Librarian”. It was thought-provoking to learn of all the current mobile devices/software that many libraries (public, academic and special libraries alike) are already using. “The medium is the message; the audience is the content.” Remember? Marshall McLuhen
The webinar presenter, Gerry McKiernan, said that mobile technology/mobile Internet is “clearly pervasive now and a global phenomenon.” “As of April of 2009, 59% of U.S. residents have used mobile Internet.”
Examples of digital libraries and mobile apps now available include: Ingenta Connect Mobile and PubMed on Tap. DukeMobile is an example of a university whose digital materials are available via PDAs, iPhones, iPodTouch, etc.
How ‘bout the Kindle app for the iPhone- to access Kindle content w/o owning a Kindle?
Course managemt software is available on mobile devices. The list goes on and on.
During the webinar I posed a question about those who can’t afford these devices or the service contracts to them. The presenter admitted that “there’s a real concern about folks getting left behind.” However, “there are serious broadband initiatives out there to help narrow the ‘digital divide’ ”.
Finally, Gerry shared some ideas about how libraries can market/promote mobile services or work with mobile technology. But then cautioned attendees about libraries promoting the use of mobile devices for all- an ethical issue.