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Points of Reference

A Booklist Blog
This is the archive of the blog Points of Reference. From 2009-2012 a team of library reference experts talked about resources (books, databases, Web sites, e-books, and more) and publishing trends.

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Friday, October 30, 2009 3:22 pm
Reference (Along with Everything Else) on Your Handheld
Posted by: Admin

175px-assorted_smartphonesAccording to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet Project in 2007,  "62% of adult Americans have either accessed the internet with a wireless connection away from home or work or used a non-voice data application using their cell phone or PDA."  Non-voice data applications include not only texting, e-mailing, taking a picture, and recording a video, but also accessing digital information.

The first Handheld Librarian Online Conference was held in July and offered a snapshot of the current handheld landscape. All the sessions were recorded. Of particular interest for reference are the presentations on various text messaging reference services, including the Alliance Library System Infoquest Project,  the  Skokie (IL) Public Library's mobile library platform, and Cornell's Textalibrarian.  Another Handheld Librarian Online Conference is scheduled for February, 2010.  

In September, Gary Price of ResourceShelf presented a report, Mobile Access to Information, at Web Search University in Washington, D.C., that provides a good overview of  terms and trends.  As Gary points out, more publishers are going mobile, and reference publishers are among them. Just two examples: last month, Schlager Group released "DocNotes: Presidential Speeches," its first applications for the  iPhone and the iPod Touch.  And subscribers to the online version of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China can download an Exact Editions Exactly APP from iTunes in order to access the encyclopedia on an iPhone.

Librarians and publishers take note: athough a lot of our focus has been on going mobile to reach younger people, the Pew report documents a high rate of  wireless handheld use among African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics, groups that have traditionally lagged behind in desktop online access.

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