Despite advocating for neutral design (not tied to one particular platform or device), I have been interested in libraries that are looking at iPhone/Touch/Pre applications to provide catalogue searching, collection information and so on. What I would love to see is a general library app that helps librarians and users find and access libraries all over. As anyone who uses public libraries knows, that information can get buried on council and municipality sites, and even academic libraries have found that their homepage links have been disappearing in increasing numbers.

What could such an app include?

  • Maps of all publicly accessible libraries near you (location aware) and at a given location worldwide
  • Information about access – can you use the Internet without a membership card? Are there access gates? Are books on open access shelves?
  • Are there local traveller services? One thing that has always struck me in all of my travels is how few libraries make available information about the local area in a prominent spot. So often I have had to be buried in the collection to find street directories, local maps or local travel guides, or ask at the reference desk for the librarian’s copy. It has always seemed like an obvious and easy service that libraries could provide since they have the resources already and because libraries are so often located in key areas in cities and towns.

Originally published on the semanticlibrary.net blog