This is the fifth volume in the M-Libraries series and once again we have the opportunity to reflect on the impact mobile technologies have had on the development of library services across the globe. This year we have 22 chapters from 13 countries, as far apart as India and Germany, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe, Scotland and Bangladesh. The experience and level of development, not surprisingly, varies considerably. Some libraries are at the stage of establishing user needs and preferences while others are experimenting with advanced technologies like augmented reality.
We open Part 1 of this volume, entitled ‘Best practice for the use of mobile technologies in libraries’, with two complementary chapters from John Paul Anbu K., Sanjay Kataria and Shri Ram describing work carried out at the Jaylee Institute of Information Technology and Jaypee University Institute of Information Technology in India. The first chapter focuses on the evidence base for best practice in designing a mobile library website and incorporates the results of the user survey they conducted to inform the development of their site. In the second chapter the authors explore the use of mobile technology to deliver an information literacy programme, again informed by the results of a user survey.
The Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC) Library is unique in that it has operated solely in a virtual space since its inception in 1995. The chapter by Pep Torn, Anna Zuñiga Ruiz and Carme Fenoll Clarabuch describes an exciting initiative to work collaboratively with the public library service to use the apps developed at UOC to give their students access to their service via the most convenient public library.
Michael Whitchurch is the Virtual Services Librarian at Brigham Young University in the USA. In his chapter he reflects on the journey his library tour has made through various incarnations, as developing technologies have afforded new opportunities, as he says, from analogue to digital to mobile.
One of the problems faced by libraries providing mobile services is that the electronic resources they provide to their users may not be mobile friendly. Mark Williams’ chapter describes an initiative led by his UK organization JISC to develop a set of guidelines for publishers to observe in order to address this issue.