Week 1 - Introduction to mobile resources

This week's objectives:

  • Discuss the history of mobile devices
  • Describe different types of mobile devices
  • List basic features and functions of mobile devices 
A PDF copy of this presentation is available on the Resources Page


In 2008, ALA Tech Source published a Library Technology Report on mobile technologies in the library. They described the smartphone trend in its infancy. (At the time of publication, the iPhone had been out just over a year.):

“The computer, media player, and cell phone are all converging into a single device as manufacturers aim to provide a complete experience for the consumer.” (2008)

Kroski, E. On the Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technologies. Library Technology Reports (July 2008.) http://hdl.handle.net/10760/12463

Just four years later, a Pew Report published on July 11, 2011 observes:

One third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones.

Smartphone adoption and usage | Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project Retrieved 7/13/2011, 2011, from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx

The Pew Report also asked Americans to describe how they felt about their smartphones:
Smartphone adoption and usage | pew research center's internet & american life project Retrieved 7/13/2011, 2011, from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx
Click for a larger image. 

Where do you fit in the word cloud? Leave a comment below if you'd like.  

History of Smartphones

Take a look back at how the smartphone developed over time.

First there was the PDA: 

History of the PDA (2007) - Tech Now!

Then an explosion of cellular phones hit the market.
Recognize any of these?

The Evolution of Mobile Phones

A 2010 report from the National Literacy Trust in the UK observes that children are more likely to own a phone than a book. Hopefully, they are reading Harry Potter through their smartphone's e-reader app. 
More surprising statistics:

The Growth of Mobile: Stats and figures that will shock you! ‎(Sept 2010)‎ – Sybase.com

We've come a long way from a foot long, 2 pound, $4000 phone.  

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/8639590.stm
Marty Cooper, who made the first cellular phone call at Motorola in 1973.
  • Mobile devices have existed for at least 20 years 
  • Mobile devices currently play a large role in communication, socialization and information sharing 
  • As technology continues to change, libraries must adapt.
Want more? For  a lively overview of PDAs in the library circa the early 2000s, see: Cain, M. (2003). PDA: Paradigm-Disrupting Appliance? Journal of Academic Librarianship, 29(1), 44. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Defining Mobile

Here are some definitions of mobile:

Mobile Device: A pocket-sized computing device, typically having a display screen with touch input and/or a miniature keyboard. Smartphones and PDAs are popular amongst those who require the assistance and convenience of certain aspects of a conventional computer, in environments where carrying one would not be practical. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_device  

Mobile internet: Online access that occurs wirelessly using a handheld device or laptop computer. If home broadband is an "always on" connection, then mobile may be characterized as "always present" for users. http://www.pewinternet.org/topics/Mobile.aspx

Smartphone: “…typically runs its own operating system, has the ability to install applications, frequently sports a QWERTY keyboard, and offers device owners advanced features such as email, instant messaging, mobile Web browsing, office applications, expandable memory, and desktop synchronization.”
Kroski, E. On the Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technologies. Library Technology Reports (July 2008.) http://hdl.handle.net/10760/12463

Types of Mobile Devices

Types of smartphones

For more information:
Cuddy, C. (2008). The iPhone in Medical Libraries. Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 5(3), 287-292. doi:10.1080/15424060802222513 (Somewhat outdated but one of the first articles on iPhone in medical libraries.) 

Android: Knapp, Maureen M. and Lloyd, Jennifer K. (2010 July). MOBILE COMPUTING IN THE LIBRARY: Droid Does? Developments in the Android Medical App Market. Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries. 7(3): 247-253. Abstract

Basic Features and Functions of Smartphones

Basic Features and Functions of Smartphones


  • Major smartphone players in 2011: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry 
  • iPhone seems to be the more popular smartphone among health professionals, with a robust marketplace of medical apps that translate to the iPad.

Reflection Activity

Include this Reflection Activity in your course workbook, located under Resources.

Reflection activities are collected in your workbook and submitted at the end of the course (October 2011) for credit. 

  • What is the 1st mobile device you owned? 
  • What is the 1st mobile device your library owned (if any)? 
  • What changes has your work environment seen regarding mobile technology in the past ten years? 
  • Has it affected your library practices or policies?

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