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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: June 2018

1 - Design and testing of mobile library websites: best practices in creating mobile library applications

from Part 1 - Best practice for the use of mobile technologies in libraries

Summary

Introduction

The advancements in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the unprecedented innovations and inventions have brought enormous change in all walks of life around the globe. The growth of the mobile communication medium is one of the important support systems of ICT which has seen a sea change over the years. This growth is ascribed to the desire of users for a number of different communications media to access the internet. From desktop computers, the mode of computing shifted to laptops and further into tablets. The proliferation of mobile technology, especially the 3G hype and the subsequent Wi-Fi innovations, have triggered an unprecedented change in the tools for access to the internet. Song and Lee observe that the users have ‘widely adopted mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet PCs, and e-readers as their primary tools to access information’ (2012, 574). It is also worth noticing that in this rapidly changing environment, people have become ‘more dependent on wireless communication systems’ (Olatokun and Bodunwa, 2006, 530). The growth of mobile telephony, especially the ever-expanding growth in Asia and Africa in the use of cellular telephony, has seen a number of innovations both in the technology and in the service delivery of mobile communication technology. Academic institutions have benefited greatly from these innovations, as they form the cornerstone of the information society. Over the years the libraries, which act as the focal point of the academic community, have adapted these changing technologies in their service delivery. With the cosmic change of the mobile revolution around the globe, it is no surprise that libraries stand in the forefront of providing information to their users through the new mode of mobile technology.

Mobile technology and academic institutions

With the fascinating growth of the mobile communication system, it is worth noting the growth of its user base, especially amongst the academic community. Olatokun and Bodunwa observe that ‘Mobile phones have become an inseparable part of everyday life’ (2006, 530). Smith, Salaway and Borreson Caruso, in their study of undergraduate students and information technology (EDUCAUSE, 2009) shed light on the mindset of undergraduate students with respect to mobile usage. According to their study, 76.7% of undergraduate students have used smartphones not only for communication but also for accessing information.