What's New at McDermott Library?
Fall 2011

Mobile McDermott Puts the Library in the Palm of Your Hand
. . . Or your Purse, or the Pocket of your Jeans.

By Sumathi Raghavan
Reference Librarian


Iryna Shevchuk, Tahmoures Elyasi, Debbie Montgomery

In 2009, McDermott Library unveiled Mobile McDermott, an electronic version of the library accessible on mobile devices and smartphones. Initially merely a reformatted page offering basic library information such as hours, directions and contact information, Mobile McDermott has since evolved into a full-service portable library ideal for the modern student or faculty member on the go.

Recently, Mobile McDermott was enhanced with device detection script that redirects to the mobile friendly version of the Library website. It improves usability and navigation of the Library website as seen on mobile devices.

Mobile McDermott provides access to the library catalog (including ebooks), databases, librarian-created subject guides and tutorials and much more. New databases are continually being added, and the mobile site includes links to database apps for iPhones and Android phones.

What does this mean for library customers? Once upon a time, online access freed users to visit the library from anywhere with a computer, a power source and an internet connection - the residence hall, a coffee shop, the classroom - and kept the doors of the virtual library unlocked 24 hours a day. Now the mobile library makes access even easier, allowing smartphone and mobile device users to search for - and often read - articles and electronic books, and communicate with librarians from wherever the digital airwaves reach . . . no computer needed.

So meet your new library - at the beach, on the train, in the middle of the mall - anywhere an idea or research notion grabs hold of you.

McDermott Library first went electronic in the mid-1990s, and the traditional library website eventually offered users an online catalog, digital databases and a number of ways to connect with library staff. In 2009 electronic database providers such as EBSCO began releasing mobile-ready versions of their products. McDermott Library created a mobile website to complement its traditional site. Initially the mobile site contained a minimum amount of information and did not enable access to important resources such as the catalog. Since then McDermott's technical services and technology staff have enhanced the mobile portal. In 2010, a mobile version of the catalog debuted; databases now available include LexisNexis, PubMed, IEEE Explore, and more than 60 EBSCO products. The databases provide access to bibliographic data and full-text versions for articles from thousands of scholarly and popular publications.

The success of McDermott's mobile project is evident in the numbers: In 2010 alone mobile visits more than tripled in frequency. Recently three UT Dallas librarians most responsible for the technical implementation of Mobile McDermott shared the story of their success with other academic and public librarians from Texas and the region at an online conference titled "Mobilizing Libraries, Designing Experiences," sponsored by the Amigos Library Services group.

On May 18, 2011 UT Dallas’ Debbie Montgomery (head of cataloging), Tahmoures Elyasi (software specialist), and Iryna Shevchuk (web services librarian) presented "The Smaller, the Better: Creating the Mobile Library," a how-to-do-it presentation providing step-by-step instruction on three mobile solutions intended to capture the attention of mobile customers by designing a library presence for these devices.

In describing her work on the mobile library, Shevchuk noted, "Finding new ways to reach library users is exciting, especially now when mobile technologies and social networks are the key communication tools of the next generation. Enhancements to the library’s virtual presence, such as Mobile McDermott, improve user experience and show our library to be creative and innovative."

In conjunction with other new initiatives enabling library users to text librarians and use QR codes and text messages to retrieve book and journal information, Mobile McDermott extends the library’s commitment to bring "maximum access to relevant, authoritative, and scholarly resources" to a new generation of users, anywhere they happen to be. Try Mobile McDermott for yourself by using a smartphone or other mobile device. You’ll be seamlessly directed to the mobile-optimized site, and from there, a world of learning awaits!

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