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March 8, 2011
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Weeks after unveiling an iPhone application to give users enhanced access to its services, Northwest Missouri State University's B.D. Owens Library this week unveiled its new mobile website.
The site, which can be accessed on most mobile devices with web capability by going to http://www.nwmissouri.edu/library/m/, provides improved access and connectivity to library resources for Northwest students and employees.
"Owens Library's new mobile website further expands and improves access to the library resources for mobile users," said Dr. Leslie Galbreath, director of academic and library services. "It reflects the library's ongoing responsiveness to our user's changing needs. In addition to contacting library personnel and searching the library catalog, users with a mobile data plan can search popular databases, read full text results online, and even download entire books from Project Gutenberg and Google Books."
In addition to library catalog access, the mobile website includes links to popular database collections that have mobile platforms. It also includes links to Google Books Mobile and Project Gutenberg Mobile, which house entire books that can be downloaded for free. A link to WorldCat mobile allows users to search the holdings of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.
Sarah Park, web and reference librarian for the Owens Library, developed the mobile website over a four-month period. Park said she was inspired to build the website after discussion with other librarians at the Brick and Click Libraries Symposium Northwest hosted in November 2010.
At that time, Park noted, the Owens library website was logging up to 400 visits per month by mobile device users. That number swelled to 752 during February.
"We needed to invest in developing a mobile website to meet user demand," Park said. "National studies show that the number of mobile devices is expected to surpass the number of computers in the next few years, and we need to be in front of that wave."
Park also said the library realized significant cost-savings by building the website using Northwest resources. Purchasing a commercial mobile website from an outside vendor would have cost close to $10,000, in addition to annual subscription fees.
Hong Gyu Han, the library's automation specialist, developed a web application that renders the library catalog on a mobile device. Graduate Assistant Sean Callahan designed the graphics and color scheme for the mobile web interface.
The B.D. Owens Library contains some 250,000 book volumes, 30,000 e-books, 28,000 bound periodical volumes, 50,000 government documents, 16,000 microfilm reels and about one million microfiche. The library subscribes to nearly 800 journals and magazines in paper. It provides access to 20,000 electronic full-text journals and magazines. These materials are augmented by more than 60 commercial electronic databases. Owens Library is a part of MOBIUS, the Missouri academic library automated network.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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