What are Mobile Apps?

There is a revolution that is taking place in software development that parallels the changes in recent years in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software has shifted to a new view of what software should be. Smartphones such as the Galaxy, iPhone, and Android have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, often simple, low-cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. New tools are free or sell for as little as 99 cents. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a very short time, and that potential market has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores. These retail phenomena provide an easy, fast, and totally new way to deliver software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. By September 2012, more than 55 billion apps had been sold or downloaded; simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor. Mobile apps are particularly useful for learning as they enable people to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • mobile devices are common amongst the clients of academic and research libraries, clients expect services to be easy to access via a variety of BYOD devices and may use multiple screens to access library materials - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014
  • clients require mobile focussed services including wifi on site, different versions of apps to access library resources - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014
  • Libraries have always been rightly concerned with hów information is delivered to the user.This includes not only the content but also the platforms and interfaces. The mobile use of Internet (browsing, search etc) will soon surpass the desktop use. So it's time to at least to make "our" information at least always optimized for mobile and -when creating or buying new content- focus on mobile delivery primarily." The mobile way will be the Highway" - digicmb digicmb May 6, 2014 - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler May 7, 2014 - piguet piguet May 8, 2014 Libraries receive the opportunity to present their content (e.g. images, scanned documents) in a new way for new user experiences. - piguet piguet May 8, 2014
  • mobile devices are also easy content creation devices, interactive programs can be facilitated using them (eg. QR codes, Instagram photo competitions etc.) - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014
  • providing secure network access for staff, students, faculty, visiting researchers and the general public in a BYOD oriented mobile app environment presents significant challenges - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 6, 2014
  • The trends goes away from complex multifunctional apps to simple apps with one main purpose. Not only mobile friendly websites should consider this but also mobile apps for library services. - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler May 7, 2014 - piguet piguet May 8, 2014 - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014
  • Libraries increasingly providing apps for key services - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • many vendors of library databases and eresources provide custom apps for access to their content sets - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014
  • New license variantions will arise for buying and distributing apps. - digicmb digicmb May 6, 2014
    Can we distribute e-books through apps, or get access to our licensed information databases? What about site licenses or even national-wide access? The library has to be ready to play its role when -for instance- "Volume Licencing" for organizations becomes available. A hospital(OR ANY big organisation) should also develop policies on the deployment and use of mobile devices that employees(and patients) entail. The library should be involved in Mobile Device Management since App data can also contain information the library already has purchased.
  • technology is ready for more and more integration of (licensed) information in mobile apps.- digicmb digicmb May 6, 2014 - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler May 7, 2014
  • The domination of a few companies (read: Google and Apple) in the distribution of apps. Hopefully new technologies and marketplaces for a more efficient and rich supply of mobile applications will arise. Also, the distinction between native apps (and the cumbersome user behvavior of having to update static apps) and more dynamic mobile web apps will probably disintegrate. - erik.stattin erik.stattin May 9, 2014 - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014
  • Platform issues limit the development - Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry can one service design for all platforms - emerging responsive design apps? - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • using and sharing open source code (eg via Github) allows research libraries and academic libraries to learn from and build on one anothers successful app designs - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014 - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014
  • publishing APIs and datasets allows other developers (and students) to create apps that may utilise library information and resources - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 2, 2014
  • add your response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?