We just debuted a mobile version of our library catalog optimized for display on the iPhone. Our library system vendor is working on an iPhone application which we are investigating. But developing html pages optimized for a mobile browser has a number of advantages over a dedicated application:
- Catalog displays automatically when mobile users visit the web site, no need to download and set up an application.
- Mobile html pages can be easily tweaked to display on other devices like Android, BlackBerry, etc. No need to develop applications on multiple platforms.
- Techniques learned to make the catalog mobile-friendly can be used for other library web services.
- It’s free in terms of no additional licensing fees. Its not clear what library vendors plan to charge their customers for applications they develop for the iPhone and other devices.
Our library catalog runs on SirsiDynix Web2 (not to be confused with Web 2.0) but the customization could probably be made to most web-based catalogs. We borrowed design ideas from the great folks at NCSU Libraries. They’ve done some great work on providing library content to mobile devices. Thanks guys!