Apple's iPhone and now the iPad have fundamentally changed the way we get information from the internet. Recently many have been saying that the future of the internet will be applications and that Apps on hand held devices will play a major role in libraries. This ARTICLE from National Public Radio affirms this idea. Apps are essentially quick shortcuts to allow us to easily obtain the information that we want without having to browse through the information that we don't want.
I don't think that hand held devices currently play a huge role in the life of Summar Library but I think in the future that they might. Because I rely on my iPhone to get information, like e-mail, movie times and weather updates, quickly often I have been browsing the shelves and wished that it were easy to search our collection with a few taps on the face of my phone. On Friday I was browsing the movie collection looking for The New World and hand to run into Beth's office and ask her to search the catalog to see if we had it because my computer was already shut down. If we had an app that would not have been necessary and I could have just done a title search of our collections on my phone.
That being said, it would be a huge undertaking at this time for Summar Library to build it's own app. In The Summar Library one searches for our digital collection differently from how you search for a book or something that is physically in the library. So it might be a good ides to piggy back on apps that have been created by the providers of digital content like Gale. Gale is the company that provides one of our most used general databases called Academic One File. They also provide The Gale Virtual Reference Library and Literature Resource Center. So these collections are available now through our databases A-Z page and through your iPhone. After I downloaded The Gale APP, I had to prove that I was affiliated with Union University by providing a Union e-mail to obtain a password but then using the 3G networks I was able to search for journal articles. While I can't print from iPhone I can e-mail the articles to myself and it is just another interesting way to use our collections and do research from a hand held device.
If you have an iPhone or iPad you can just search the app store for Gale or Access My Library to download and start search our holdings on your phone.