Monday, July 21, 2008

Mobile Optimized Library Web Sites

An article in today's NetworkWorld highlights the beta launch of Opera Mobile 9.5, a native Web browser for higher end 'smart' phones. Opera Dragonfly is Opera’s open source cross-platform developer tool. The beta browser is for Windows but Symbian support is in the works and Java support so it can run on the Samsumg SPH-M800 (a.k.a Instinct) is also rumored to be in the works.

Other entrants into the mobile browser space include Mobile Firefox and Skyfire, expected sometime this year. All are in an effort to catch up with the Safari/iPhone platform. The evolution of mobile device browsers has benefited from a marked increase in processor power and the increased speed and coverage of wireless network infrastructures. The browser development has also been accelerated by the increased number of web sites being optimized for the mobile users.

Libraries have been talking about optimizing their web sites for mobile devices for years, but mobile browsers have lagged in their ability to display content and have had limited functionality. In my hunt on how libraries are taking advantage of this fast-paced development today, I came across Megan Fox's Libraries on the Go: Handheld and Mobile Access to Information. The site includes many of her presentations, but also links to industry information. She also lists several libraries with mobile optimized sites, including:

American University Libraries
Ball State University Library
Boston University Medical Center Mobile Library
Cal Poly Pomona University Library
Hanover College, Duggan Library
Harvard College Library
University of Illinois Library
New York University Libraries
University of Richmond Library
St. John’s University, College of St. Benedict
University of Virgina Library

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