Mobile instruction

Although the Duke Libraries always get a mention when mobile library services are discussed, we know that there’s always more that can be done.  A changing landscape of mobile devices, coupled with evolving user expectations, means that we have several investigations going on here in the library.  Our Center for Instructional Technology has been looking at mobile learning, and the Web Interfaces Group is planning a scan of what’s going on with mobile library services.

These activities got me thinking about how library instruction can be delivered using mobile devices.  Admittedly, I am a real novice in this arena, but I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned.   QR codes are the newest way to display library information (and, implicitly, deliver library instruction) on mobile devices.  The University of Utah’s Marriott Library has launched an interesting QR code project.  Their initial codes included  the library map, workshops schedule, events schedule, reference desk phone number, catalog search, course reserves, classroom schedule and library website.  To their surprise, the most frequently accessed information was the events schedule and the main library website.  Perhaps users found it easier to scan the QR code and bring up the home page, and then use it to access other information.  The UK’s Open University provides Mobile Safari, a version of their online information literacy tutorial for use on mobile devices or PDAs.

QR Code from a LibGuide created by Melissa Mallon at Wichita State University

At the American Library Association’s annual conference in June, Melissa Mallon from Wichita State University gave a poster presentation, “Info on the Go: Using QR codes for library instruction.”  A brief bibliography from that session points to some articles and sources for generating QR codes.
I don’t know what we’ll do here at Duke, but in Instruction & Outreach we’ll be looking closely on how mobile devices can deliver instructional material.