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Enhancements for the Mobile User

February 27th, 2011 by jimm wetherbee in Announcements, E-Resources

SMS in Online Catalog Action BoxIn the beginning was the note card.  Three inches by five inches, white with fine blue lines, the note card was ideal for writing down information from print indexes and card catalogs.  People even wrote, well notes, on note cards.  These were things such as short quotes, references, pages numbers, subject headings, and so forth.

Then came the photocopier and students copied articles and annotated the aforementioned copies.  Then came the online catalog and databases. People printed out references.  Then came e-mail and students e-mailed the articles to themselves.  The online catalog could e-mail citations too, but students rarely e-mail citations.  Why not?  Because desktop computers and laptops are not note cards.  Computers–even laptops are bulky compared to note cards.  E-mailing citations means printing citations.

Now there is something as small as a note card that will collect citations for you.  The Ethel K. Smith Library’s  online catalog will now send SMS messages to your cell phone.  Just look up a book and click on the title for details.  On the right you will see a box that says Actions.  Near the bottom of the box you will see the link that says “Text Me this Book Location.”  When you click on it you will go to a new page.  Select your mobile provider and supply your phone number.  You can even add a brief message.  This can be useful because even though most books are in the Main Stacks, a few are not, and you may wish to note as much.  Click submit, a confirmation page will come up and a few seconds later, so will your text message, complete with call number and title.

While we are on the subject of enhancements for mobile devices, you may have noticed that the online catalog, the library blog, and LibGuides all have mobile interfaces, and yet to get to any of them, you had to go through a homepage designed for the desktop.  So you spend a lot a time waiting for the homepage to load and then have to do a lot of zooming and scrolling around to find anything.  Well, the library’s homepage has finally caught up with the other library services.  If you point your mobile device, whether it is a cell phone, smart phone, or pad, you will come to the library’s mobile-enhanced site. You can even search our local periodical holdings or submit an InterLibrary Loan from your mobile device.

This is just the beginning, however.  In the coming months expect the library to continue to find new ways for you to use technology to expand the possibilities for research and discovery.