Last week I ranted “The Mobile Web is Not an Alternative,” our current or soon to be current patrons are increasingly using their mobile devices to access the Internet. In 2010 43% of students used mobile devices daily to access the Internet compared to 10.2% in 2008 (The Chronicle of Higher Education). I mentioned this is big increase in mobile Internet usage and as the article in the Chronicle mentioned, many colleges and university are still treating their mobile sites (if they have one) as an afterthought or “low-stakes experiments.” I believe if there are a lot of higher education institutions treating their mobile sites this way, there are probably just as many medical libraries and library resource vendors doing the same.
As I mentioned some medical libraries are beholden to their institutional IT departments. For those libraries it may be difficult to get a mobile site. However, if you don’t HAVE to go through your institutional’s IT department for web pages or strictly adhere to their web design, then there are ways to get your library site mobile.
Check out “Edupunk goes mobile: Mobile library sites with zero budget,” where Tiffini provides some suggestions how librarians can make their website mobile for little to no cost by using things like LibGuides or WordPress (examples and screen shots are provided) . In addition to the suggestions, she addresses mobile library web skeptics who say mobile library websites receive little use therfore providelittle ROI. Her belief (and mine) is that “everyday information needs are increasingly being met by searching apps or web browsers.” While there is explosive growth we are still at the beginning of mobile searching and usage. It may have little use right now which is all the more reason to look for inexpensive or free ways to create one, but as people’s searching, strategies, and usage evolve they will become more aware of available apps, resources, and mobile sites such as the library’s site. We are already seeing this in the medical world, the website iMedicalApps.com is perfect example along with its most recent post, “Finding the best PubMed search app for the iPhone & iPad: Review of 6 PubMed applications.”
Best to get our toe in the door now than to have it shut in our faces later.