Library Databases Go Mobile

If you use a mobile device–a Blackberry, iPhone, or other gadget–you may have found that mobile versions of websites can make a huge difference in getting the information you need. Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other highly-trafficked sites redirect mobile users to sites optimized for small screens and lightweight browsers.

We’re just starting to see this trend in our subscription databases: Ebsco, which provides Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, and several other databases, now has its own mobile interface, and the Naxos Music Library has launched an iPhone app.

These are welcome developments. Even on the usually forgiving iPhone, Ebsco’s standard three-column layout is a mess, pages take minutes to load, and full-text PDF files aren’t viewable. The mobile site fixes these problems, even if pages still load a bit slower than we might have hoped.

Record in Windows Mobile

An article displayed on iPod Touch

search results on iPhone

Search results

Mobile sites come with trade-offs–fewer features are the price one pays for a simpler layout–and Ebsco’s is no exception. A few examples: search results pages lack the “Limit your results” box that allows you to quickly filter out abstract-only results and select a date range (use the “Search Options” link instead); you can’t add items to a virtual folder for later review; and there’s no advanced search screen. So, if you are going to be doing some serious research, do it from a full-fledged computer. But if you just need do some relatively simple searches and e-mail articles to yourself, the mobile version should fit the bill.

For now you won’t see the mobile site listed on our databases page, and you won’t be redirected to it automatically, so you might want to add the following URL to your bookmarks:
http://0-search.ebscohost.com.lasiii.losrios.edu/login.aspx?authtype=ip,uid&profile=sccmobile

If that seems a lot to type on a small keyboard, you could use the following short url:
http://bit.ly/sccebscomobile

Naxos Music Library logoMeanwhile, Naxos, which provides our streaming audio database, has developed a nifty free iPhone app. If you create a personal account on Naxos while logged in from SCC (no charge!), you will be able to build playlists from Naxos’ library of mostly classical and jazz recordings. Install the iPhone app, log in, and you’ll be able to stream straight to your headphones. Not bad! For more details, read this post from Naxos’ blog. (One tip: create your playlists in Naxos Music Library, not the Jazz Collection.)

Naxos iPhone app

Streaming a track from Naxos Music Library on the iPhone

Are either of these innovations useful to you? Let us know what you think!

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