Campus libraries use tech to streamline student searches, staff work

“They’ll show up to the library, and they might not have their laptop, but they all have phones, and a large number [of students] have smart phones. … And now, they don’t have to do any actual searching,” Kidd said. “Our libraries are packed, but most of our interaction with our faculty and students is [electronic] interaction. We have to be aware of that and think about how we’re going to put services into that context.”

A robust campus library website is a useful tool for faculty members and their students, he said, but as mobile web use becomes commonplace, iPhone and Droid apps will be essential in keeping up with student preferences.

“Before this, we put the website up and just kind of hoped someone looked at it,” Kidd said. “Now we can push the information out to them. … Being able to do that is huge for us.”

Logi Insight for Libraries was recently launched at Texas Tech’s library, and New York University will deploy the application this spring, said Matt Hoffman, product manager for LogiXML, the business intelligence company that worked with BC to create the smart-phone app.

“We’re making it so that it’s very fast and easy to deploy in a very repeatable way,” he said. “So we can get a university up and running in a very few weeks.”

Making library services available on web-enabled phones has become a priority for small and large schools alike. An international market research firm, International Data Corp. (IDC), released a report last fall that predicted a 55-percent jump in smart-phone sales over the next year.

There were about 270 million smart phones shipped during 2010, a marked increase from the 173 million sold in 2009, according to IDC’s projections. More than 119 million smart phones were shipped in the first half of 2010, up from the 77 million shipped in the first six months of 2009.

A national survey of 500 students nationwide conducted by a researcher at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., showed that smart-phone usage among college students increased from 27 percent in February 2009 to 48 percent in July 2010.

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