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October 23, 2009 / theatregrad

The Mobile Library

Traditionally the phrase ‘mobile library’ conjures up images of a mini-library in the back of a van.  A bit like this:


Image from / CC BY-NC 2.0

Not for much longer! Oxford University have launched a service called Mobile Oxford; a mobile internet application designed to allow staff and students as well as the general public access to information about university services and the city itself.

Mobile Screenshot

Image from OULS

However it doesn’t just give information, it allows access to services such as the libraries.  How can a mobile phone provide access to a library? The library catalogue of course. Along with maps, weather forecasts, press releases and the university phone directory we can now access a version of the library catalogue on our mobile phones.  This mobile service provides access to the library catalogue through most internet enabled phones, so anyone can search for a book anywhere at anytime.  Amazing, especially the fact that it isnt restricted to fancy phones like  i-phones.  It get’s better though in terms of cutting edge technology; According a new bulletin on the OULS news page the service will incorporate the library catalogue searching feature with the location sensing functions of many phones allowing the user to find the copy nearest to them.  Vanessa Corrick, Head of Reader Services and Customer Relations at the Bodleian Library suggests that this service could become invaluable to students.  If it works then it probably will as everyone seems obsessed with being able to get information through phones so access to a library catalogue via a phone seems like a winning idea.

A preview of the mobile site is available: Just click on the library icon  for a preview of the library search feature. You can play around and search for books, then see the results as if using it on your phone. The nice touch for me is the maps showing the location of the library in Oxford.

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