A Library In Your Pocket

November 30, 2009

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When it comes to information about NCSU Libraries, yeah, we’ve got an app for that.

The NCSU Libraries mobile Web site provides students and faculty with the most complete set of library services currently available for mobile devices. Using any mobile device with Web access, NC State students and faculty can access a range of library information – from book and article searches, computer availability to the length of the line at the café and Webcam views of construction at the new Hunt Library on Centennial Campus.

The site automatically detects the user’s device type and serves up an appropriate format.

Developed by a team of library staffers, NCSU Libraries Mobile builds on open-source work done at MIT and on the NC State Mobile Web, a site developed by a volunteer, ad-hoc group at the university.

“The NCSU Mobile site is just the latest project in our long history of making sure that NC State faculty and students can leverage the power of 21st-century digital libraries,” said Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the Libraries.

NCSU Libraries’ embrace of digital technologies – including its revolutionary online catalog powered by Endeca search software, its deployment in 2007 of one of the earliest first-generation mobile library sites, and its understanding of how students actually use today’s academic libraries – has been recognized for its forward-thinking.

In 2003, NCSU Libraries received the “Library of the Future” award by Library Journal, the most prestigious publication in the field.

“NC State now joins only a half-dozen or so other universities who have fully understood how much today’s library users live on their mobile devices,” said David Woodbury, project lead for the new site. “While several academic libraries now offer mobile applications for their users, the best sites are usually optimized only for the iPhone.

“We’ve pioneered a site that’s open to all, regardless of the platform they are using.”

And there’ll be even more to shout – or text – about next semester. Planned functionality for the future includes the ability to reserve study rooms, make requests for any of the full array of technical devices available through the Libraries, and to place to put books on hold – all from a mobile device.