The Internet offers today’s youth unprecedented opportunities to connect with peers and seek knowledge in almost any area of interest—and libraries are uniquely positioned to play a central role in this learning, according to Mimi Ito, professor and cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, and principal investigator for the new education model Connected Learning.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced on May 21 its plans to participate in the first National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1 and 2. Described as a “public-private-people partnership,” the event is being further described as “the largest ever to bring together citizens from around the country to work with local, state, and federal governments—as well as private sector organizations—with the common goal of improving their community through technology.”
Right now, the biggest trend in website design is responsive web design (RWD). In a responsive design, a website elegantly displays on any size device. The popularity of RWD is, in part, a response to the proliferation of mobile devices. In hopes of increasing usability, organizations want to ensure that people can use their sites no matter how they’re accessing the web. But RWD isn’t itself a solution to library website woes. As I see it, there are two problems: RWD can only accomplish so much, and it doesn’t address the root issue of providing library services in a mobile context.
OCLC recently launched Library Spotlight, a new, free service that uses data from the WorldCat Registry to make it easier for users to find location and contact information for libraries using the web, and includes analytics tools to help libraries examine patron traffic trends or compare their collections and services to other libraries by location, local demographics, or other criteria.
In 2012, the usage of apps surpassed the usage of browsers on smartphones and tablets for the first time, according to recent data from digital business analytics provider comScore. The difference is still small—54.5 percent of mobile subscribers used apps in October 2012 compared to 52.7 percent using browsers—but the shift could mark a significant moment for mobile computing. As developers continue to enhance accessibility and incorporate features including cloud-based storage, geolocation, voice input, and visual input, native apps are making mobile devices something more than the sum of their component parts.
Thirteen percent of people aged 16 and older in the United States have used a mobile device to visit a library website or otherwise access library services, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. This percentage has more than doubled since 2009 the report notes, citing an earlier survey conducted by researchers at the University of Washington.
Mobile app shop Boopsie has announced the Boopsie Star Program, which will help library vendors increase the visibility of their own mobile apps by making them available through library-branded Boopsie mobile portals. Boopsie apps already offer one-click access to vendors including Overdrive, Mango Languages, Tutor.com, Credo Reference, EBSCO, Gale/Cengage Learning, Recorded Books, and Library H3lp.