Monday, 3 May 2010

Mobile interface for Cambridge Libraries

Today sees the Beta launch of Camlib, a mobile interface for Cambridge libraries. It has been tested with iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices (revision: apparently it's also working on Opera Mini browser on Blackberry).

Link to interface:
Link to info:

Much of the new functionality is linked to log-in - those without a Cambridge Library account can log in with our test user (using library barcode login):

Surname: BLOGGS

[NB please use Mr Bloggs to explore CamLib, but refrain, if possible, from making any requests under his name ...]

CamLib is developed from the Cambridge Libraries Widget, with extra functionality and lots of bells and whistles thrown in. It's written in jQTouch, a JQuery library which gives the look and feel of a native app in a web interface.

We thought long and hard about what people were likely to want out of a mobile library interface, and came up with Bookbag, a new piece of functionality which allows you to build a list of items from your searches then email it to yourself (or anyone else for that matter). Viewing content on a smartphone can be difficult, and nobody wants to be copying classmarks from phone to paper - BookBag allows you to discover now, and consume at your leisure.

CamLib also links out to full text and Google Books (where available), though we can do nothing about the mobile-friendliness (or otherwise) of external sites. It will link out to Google Maps (or a floorplan in the case of the University Library) to help you locate items. On iPhone/iPod Touch there is a neat tie-in with the inbuilt mapping functionality which allows you to use the Directions button to find out how long it will take to walk to your book! (untested on Android)

Otherwise, it does everything the widget does - view and renew loans - place, view and cancel requests - view library profile etc.

CamLib builds on the ideas, work and concepts that have emerged from the Arcadia Project - indeed, a mobile interface was one of Arcadia Fellow Tony Hirst's direct recommendations. In this sense it still counts as an "Arcadia Product", even though the project is now being funded by JISC!

No comments: