This issue’s theme is Mobile and Mobilized. By now, the “why” of this topic should be as clear as the device sitting in your own pocket or purse—or, more likely, the device lying in the palm of your own hand. A recent TV episode counting down the top gadgets of all time put smartphones at the top of the list. But one could just as easily have said “tablets.” Both devices combine the power of a computer and the full range of the web with classic telephony, cameras, TVs, radios, and even newspapers. It’s a calendar, a notebook, a music player, a movie maker, a navigation system, an ebook reader, and—oh, yeah—a ready reference tool. Ah, there’s the rub.
Why librarians should care about these devices should be obvious by now. We use them to navigate our way through life and so do patrons. The challenge lies in how to serve patrons as they roam while maintaining the library website and all the other services libraries already provide.
This issue of Computers in Libraries focuses on leveraging the technology investment you’ve already made in your website into solutions that will support information users on-the-go—without having to start over from scratch or break the bank during reinvention. If, after reading the case studies in this issue, you still feel stretched to capacity, also consider Marshall Breeding’s advice on evaluating what’s eating up your resources now—perhaps workflows that focus on print? Even though more and more librarians have been asserting lately that print collections are enduring, reorienting your workflow so that print and digital resources are both managed in the same system may ramp up your overall efficiency. And if you’re working in an academic setting, take Terence K. Huwe’s advice on assuring your future by considering the role you will play in an evolving intellectual ecology.
If this issue hasn’t given you enough to do, I hope to see you at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference this month. Be sure to stop by Information Today, Inc.’s booth in the exhibit hall to check out our books and other library publications.