The final outputs of this project will include a mobile phone application which, in the first instance, will be coded natively for the iphone platform. This application will enable students to record and organise references to any books and journals they utilise. It is anticipated that the application will also be able to generate references specific to relevant articles within each Journal (those that include Digital Object Indentifiers anyway). The application may utilise an active form of recording (which might include scanning a barcode or utilising a QR code) but we will also be looking into the possibility of embracing Near Field Communication technologies such as RFID tags (the Uni’s Chemistry Faculty has implemented the use of these throughout its library).
The mobile phone application itself will have two functional elements to it. The first will be the “surface layer” which will provide the facility for students to organise their bibliographical references. The second will be the provision of usage data to the library. The latter will be of considerable benefit to the library since unless an item is physically removed (booked out) then gathering information on usage patterns for resources is extremely difficult. They will therefore be able to start filling this information gap.
Benefits to Institution and wider HE community
If such a methodology were to be made widely available to, and adopted by, students it is feasible that the data collected by libraries could be used to inform future purchasing patterns and stock levels for books and journals. Libraries could then begin to more closely match requirements to the items they stock with potential for saving money on unrequired items by reducing purchasing, shelving, admin and preservation costs.
The product will be made available freely within the HE community and other institutions interested in looking into or developing this technology may therefore make a start using our application and research as a platform.