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Mobile Devices, Libraries, and Public Policy - ALA Washington 7

Today I also was to a workshop about Mobile Devices, Libraries, and Public Policy

The Program:

  • The mobile revolution is only accelerating with changing expectations by
    library patrons for service. But what is really distinctive about mobile computing
    for the library context? And what are the various legal and policy
    concerns around access to information in the digital age, including content
    ownership and licensing, digital rights management, reader privacy, and accessibility
    for the disabled? This session will address these issues through
    the lens of a recently-published policy brief.

“There’s App for That!” is a report written by Timothy Vollmer, Sherwin Siy og Cody Hanson.

“There’s an App for That! Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations” takes a look at how the adoption of mobile technology alters the traditional relationships between libraries and their users.

Today Timothy Vollmer, told of the challenges to reader privacy, issues of access to information in the digital age (including content ownership and licensing), digital rights management, and accessibility.

As the information revolution continues to unfold, libraries will experiment with mobile devices and services to support the information needs of their users wherever they may be. The adoption of mobile technology alters the traditional relationships between libraries and their users and introduces novel challenges to reader privacy. At the same time, the proliferation of mobile devices and services raises issues of access to information in the digital age, including content ownership and licensing, digital rights management, and accessibility. This policy brief explores some of these issues, and is intended to stimulate further community discussion and policy analysis.

In the book they tell:
Bringing the Power of the Internet to Life on the Go
Mobile technology is altering and extending the ways we communicate, conduct business, teach, learn, entertain ourselves, and make consumer decisions. It is bringing the Internet into our daily lives, enabling the retrieval and broadcast of information from anywhere at any time. Through mobile connectivity, information is becoming intertwined with our lives more profoundly than is the case when we sit down at a desktop or even with a laptop computer.

Mobile computing and communication services are spreading rapidly. Research suggests that in 2009, there were nearly 250 million wireless data-capable devices in use in the United States. Adoption rates for mobile technology dwarf those for nonmobile technologies; for example, there are eight times more iPhone/ iPod Touch users 2 years after their launch than there were AOL users 2 years after its launch. At the end of 2009, there were 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, representing two-thirds of the world population. Mobile industry analysts suggest that worldwide mobile data traffic will double every year through 2013, increasing 66 times between 2008 and 2013. Mobile devices today can run increasingly complex software, interact with cloud services, play rich multimedia content, and allow for advanced user interactivity.

New hardware and technologies such as Bluetooth, accelerometers, and multitouch screens, as well as text messaging, smartphone software applications, mobile websites, global positioning systems (GPS), wi-fi, and media creation and capture tools, are all part of the mobile environment. Many of today’s mobile devices are increasingly “always on,” that is,
by default meant to be connected to a wireless network……..

…..Mobile devices make our lives more convenient by providing access to useful information such as weather forecasts, bus schedules, bank accounts, and grocery lists. They make commutes or other downtime enjoyable by providing on-the-go access to entertainment, such as e-books, games, podcasts, and streaming video. They keep us connected with family, friends, and coworkers through e-mail, text messaging, and access to social networking applications. And they expand capabilities for teaching and learning, providing access to rich multimedia resources and student-centered mobile applications.

Enabling Libraries to Provide Expanded Services to Users
Libraries can better serve their users by embracing the growing capabilities of mobile technology. They can promote and expand their existing services by offering mobile access to their websites and online public access catalogs; by supplying on-the-go obile reference services; and by providing mobile access to e-books, journals, video, audio books, and multimedia content.”

Can they do it?

Despite these challenges, Vollmer said libraries are embracing the growing capabilities of mobile technology and providing new, innovative services that extend the way libraries serve their existing patrons.

The policy brief is available here. (18 Page free PDF)

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