Mullins, K. (2017). Research Plus™ mobile app: information literacy “on the go”. Reference Services Review, 45, 38-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/RSR-03-2016-0020
Descriptive Summary: This is a study of how librarians can develop a mobile app for students with information needs. This study at Long Island University showed that students wanted mobile access to library resources and databases for research purposes, but that even when issued iPads, they were not using them for this research. Even though most students have access to mobile technology, lack of direction from faculty and lack of digital literacy combine to make the use of the technology low at present. It was decided that useability needed to be addressed to increase student use of this mobile technology. Academic libraries have an opportunity to work with faculty and students to help increase understanding of how to use the mobile technology. Favoring a native app, the study used the ADDIE approach: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation in deciding how best to increase the use of mobile library technology. In each of the phases, students were surveyed to determine how to best develop the information literacy app. The study used an app called Research Plus™. The app was designed to walk students through the steps of mobile research to increase useability. A second purpose was to meet student information literacy needs, in accordance with the ACRL (Association of College and Research) standards, even in a mobile platform. The features of the app included everything from choosing a research topic to evaluating the resources. The app was approved for beta testing at the time this article was published, although the author notes that money and time constraints when studying an ever-changing technological landscape make the study more difficult.
Evaluation: Although this study was done in an academic library, I think it could easily be adapted to public library use. A major focus at my library is to make our mobile applications more accessible and useable for our patrons. Many of our patrons use our databases for research purposes, but it is our goal to make it so they can do so “on the go”. If an app like Research Plus™ were available to the public, then mobile information needs could be better met.
Keywords: Information Literacy, Mobile Technology, Mobile Resources, Academic Library