Importance of mobile research

By Kirk Hemans

Last week, Cal Poly Pomona librarians informed students and
faculty about useful tools designed for mobile devices so they
could research anywhere and everywhere.

“You guys have your phones with you every second of the day so
it would be easy to maybe do a little research or a little reading
when you have a few minutes waiting for the doctor or something
like that,” said University Librarian Ann Morgan.

The Research on the Go workshop, presented by Cal Poly Pomona
Librarians Julie Shen and Ann Morgan, served as a means of
informing attendees about the educational research tools available
for their mobile devices.

“We want to let students, faculty, anybody know that a lot of
the database vendors and journal publishers are beginning to come
out with mobile websites and apps that make it easier to use their
databases and journals on a mobile device,” said Morgan.

ARTstor Mobile, EBSCOhost Mobile, IEEE Xplore, JSTOR, Science
Mobile, WorldCat, WilsonWeb and the Cal Poly Pomona University
Library mobile website were some of the resources presented at the
workshop.

WorldCat, which claims to be the world’s largest library
catalog, has a mobile feature that can search the catalogs of
nearby libraries based on the current location of the mobile
device.

ARTstor Mobile is an image database that has a “FlashCard View”
feature for mobile devices that allows people to make digital
“flash cards” of images so they can test their art history
knowledge while on their phone.

Many of the mobile sites and apps presented were equipped with
features allowing the user to e-mail their search results to their
e-mail address so they could later download and view the research
materials on a desktop or laptop computer.

First-year English student Derek Smith said he attended the
workshop hoping to learn about useful resources for his research
while he’s out and about.

“I was expecting one source,” said Smith. “I got six, seven
[or] eight.”

Before the workshop, Smith wasn’t aware of all mobile
researching tools available to him.

“Some of these I have never heard of, like WorldCat, WilsonWeb,
IEEE Xplore,” said Smith. “I didn’t know that the library had a
mobile website [either] so that’s good news.”

Shen, who has only had her smart phone for a month, said she
wants Cal Poly Pomona students to be equipped with these mobile
tools.

“We’re trying to bring something that’s already out there in the
world to Cal Poly Pomona and make sure that our students are up to
speed on all the latest tools,” said Shen.

Librarian Donald Page said people have already begun using their
mobile devices to look up books in the library.

“Working at the research help desk, a number of times now,
students have come to me [and] they want to know how to find books
upstairs,” said Page. “They’ve already searched for it, and [the
information is] on their phones. They just don’t know what to do
with the information.”

Library Assistant Nancy Daugherty said she finds the mobile
research sites and apps useful because she does not have access to
a computer at home. She also said for people waiting in line to
use the library computers, using these mobile resources could help
them get started as they wait.

Smith said these resources could help him research topics while
they’re still fresh in his mind, helping him with retention.

“I can check it out and then e-mail it to myself later,” said
Smith. “At least the idea is safe rather than just lost with all
the other stuff I have going on.

Morgan said she hoped attendees would leave with the knowledge
that mobile devices are another avenue available for people to do
research on.

Importance of mobile research

Ben French / The Poly Post

Importance of mobile research

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