"Mobile Apps for Law Librarians" at the SANDALL Fall Workshop

Last Friday I spent the day at Morrison and Foerster's San Diego offices attending the San Diego Association of Law Libraries (SANDALL) Fall Workshop. The workshop topic was "Staying Connected: Mobile Apps for Law Librarians." The day's presentations included one by librarians at San Diego State University who are using QR codes to facilitiate mobile web content and another by representatives of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, which recently released an iPhone app.

SANDALL Vice President Jane Larrington was asked me to be the workshop's keynote speaker, and I gave two talks over the course of the day. The first, "Mobile Is Here... Whether You Want It or Not," discussed all the ways our libraries have become mobile presences regardless of whether librarians did anything to make things mobile-friendly. Because our patrons use mobile technology, and because sites like Foursquare and Facebook provide mobile web presences for our libraries, we became mobile libraries anyway.

And to those who are aware of my hatred of QR codes, yes, I did discuss them in a favorable light in this presentation. There are excellent uses for them. The problem is, too many libraries use them for non-mobile applications or fail to properly label the codes, giving users no indication of what purpose a code serves before they scan it. In the proper, limited applications (like the Project Gutenberg example in my slides), QR codes can work. But I reserve the right to trash them when they don't.

The second talk, titled "Making Mobile Work for Your Library," was a gentle introduction to mobile app development, discussing technical issues related to cellular data networks, mobile features available to app developers and the requirements of developing native and web apps for mobile phones.

SANDALL plans to post videos of the workshop at a later date.