Policy Brie No. 3, June 2010
Tere’s an App for Tat!
Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations
As the information revolution continues to unfold, libraries will experiment withmobile devices and services to support the information needs of their users whereverthey may be. The adoption of mobile technology alters the traditional relationshipsbetween libraries and their users and introduces novel challenges to reader privacy. Atthe same time, the proliferation of mobile devices and services raises issues of accessto information in the digital age, including content ownership and licensing, digitalrights management, and accessibility. This policy brief explores some of these issues,and is intended to stimulate further community discussion and policy analysis.
Bringing the Power o the Internet to Lie on the Go
Mobile technology is altering and extending the ways we communicate,conduct business, teach, learn, entertain ourselves, and make consumer deci-sions. It is bringing the Internet into our daily lives, enabling the retrieval andbroadcast of information from anywhere at any time. Through mobile connectiv-ity, information is becoming intertwined with our lives more profoundly thanis the case when we sit down at a desktop or even with a laptop computer.Mobile computing and communication services are spreading rapidly. Researchsuggests that in 2009, there were nearly 250 million wireless data-capable devicesin use in the United States.
Adoption rates for mobile technology dwarf thosefor nonmobile technologies; for example, there are eight times more iPhone/iPod Touch users 2 years after their launch than there were AOL users 2 years after its launch.
At the end of 2009, there were 4.6 billion mobile cel-lular subscriptions worldwide, representing two-thirds of the world population.
Timothy Vollmer is a consultant to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Ofce or Inormation Technology Policy(OITP). This policy brie is the result o a literature review, consultations with selected library and technology policyexperts, an exploratory panel session at the 2009 ALA Annual Conerence, a presentation at the 2009 Library andInormation Technology Association (LITA) National Forum, and iteration among OITP committee members.
Through mobileconnectivity, inor-mation is becomingintertwined with our lives more prooundly than is the case whenwe sit down at adesktop or even witha laptop computer.