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Minnesota, United States

Saturday, April 12, 2014

23 Mobile Things- Thing 11- Library and Reference

I tried out the mobile friendly website for the Electronic Library of Minnesota (ELM).  ELM seemed to know I was using a smartphone to access their website because it automatically pulled up the mobile-friendly version.  I didn't have to download a separate app to make it mobile-friendly.  Nice!  The mobile-friendly website, also lists which of ELM's databases are mobile friendly.  Many of them are but there are still several that are not, some which I use frequently such as Points of View Reference Center and MEDLINE.  You can still access and use any of ELM's databases on a mobile device, but navigating them may be more difficult.

I have mobile apps downloaded for Hennepin County Library and Carver County Library, the two library systems I use most frequently.  Both apps allow quick access to commonly used features from their respective websites such as account information, searching the catalog, locations/hours, events/classes, ebooks, Ask a Librarian, and links to the library system's social media accounts.  The mobile apps do not include a quick link to everything that's available on the library's full website.  For instance, I did not see a quick link for the databases or subject guides for either of these library systems.  However, both library systems did offer a link to the library's full website, allowing for more content to be accessed.  As with ELM, you can access everything from the library's full website on a mobile device, but some sections may not be as mobile friendly and thus harder to navigate.

Both Hennepin County Library and Carver County Library's mobile apps are powered by Boopsie and look very similar in layout and design and offer similar features.  Hennepin County Library's app offered a Booklook feature, that was absent with Carver County Library.  Booklook allows you to check to see if the library owns a particular book by scanning its barcode.  Unfortunately, it was not compatible with my model of phone, which is an older Samsung Galaxy S.





23 Mobile Things- Thing 10- Sharing Photos

I already have the Instagram app downloaded on my phone so for this thing I explored more of what Instagram has to offer.  Previously, I've used Instagram primarily as a means of editing and sharing photos.  Instagram also has the ability to record short video clips and share them.  I have not used Instagram for videos before so I thought I would try it out.   Like photos, you can apply filters to video clips to alter the appearance.  You can share videos directly via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.  As with photos, the video feature on Instagram was easy to learn.

Many libraries now have Instagram accounts.  This is a good way to show pictures of the library, share recommended reads through book covers, or highlight construction/renovation projects.  It can even be used to promote events by taking a picture of a flier and posting it online.  As with other social media, you can "like" certain photos and follow various libraries Instagram accounts.  

For this thing, I also explored Snapchat, another photo sharing application.  What's special about Snapchat is that not only can you control whom you share photos with, but you can control how long that person sees a photo you share.  After that, the photo remains hidden from view but not permanently deleted as many have been led to believe.  With the right forensic software, such photos can be retrieved.  So nothing is totally private.

Other features of Snapchat include the ability to add captions and draw on photos and recording videos.  I decided not to download Snapchat to my phone.  Not because I dislike it, but because I'm already using Instagram and don't see a need for another photo sharing app at this time.  Also, I'm not overly paranoid regarding privacy of my photos.  It's nice to know such an app exists though.  

I would think that libraries normally want to make the photos they share public and not just disappear from view.  So I'm not really sure how it would be advantageous for a library to have a Snapchat account aside from showing library patrons how to use Snapchat.  Perhaps for that reason I didn't find nearly as many libraries with Snapchat accounts as I did with Instagram.