Sorry, I have been away for a long time. Some very generous research time from the College (and also from my colleagues at the Library. They managed pretty much without me for six weeks.) Then a couple of weeks of vacation. Most of these two months have been spent on drafting my dissertation. But now I am back.
While I was away I saw this article in the Times (7/13/08.) I think Markoff has it right. The iPhone in particular and the use of the web on mobile devices in general is having a huge impact on the web and the library world (and higher education in general) have to catch up. One stat I saw indicates that 22% of the visitors to the Olin website use Safari and my guess is that many of those aren't coming from Mac lap and desktops, but are coming from the iPhone.
As readers of this blog know, Rollins is in the process of building a new web presence and I know the people involved are aware of the need to meet the needs of mobile web users. But we also need to do more in the Library.
What is Sirsi doing to support mobile users of our OPAC? How about our other vendors? Our librarians also need to think about how their services are accessed from mobile devices. We are already open to text messages, IM and chat but we need to do more.
A version of our website needs to be optimized for mobile devices as Markoff says, it should be a, "custom-tailored, vertically oriented Web site" where "text appears large enough for users to read comfortably, and mobile Web sites are redone so that the user scrolls only up and down, not sideways, to view information." As Ben Shneiderman, is quoted as saying in the article, “ just put the juicy stuff up."