Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Resource Wednesday: Mobile EBSCO

A quick question: Today's resource is a mobile app for the EBSCO database products.

We're looking at how much interest there is in other kinds of mobile apps, including whether it's worth investigating, say, a mobile catalog interface for our catalog. Our current stats show that most people don't use mobile devices to look at our catalog or webpages. If you'd be interested in something like this, drop us a note (in the comments or on our Facebook wall) letting us know what kind of device(s) you use, and what you'd find especially useful.

Let's set the scene: So, you're walking down the street, and you get an urge to look up that article for your research paper. You pull out your smart phone (or your iPad, or whatever other portable device) and head straight to the EBSCO databases, and settle down to read.

Sound unlikely? Actually, it's quite easy. EBSCO, one of the big database providers (and from whom we get a wide range of databases) has a nicely designed mobile app that does just that. Once you set it up and authenticate your account, you can do searches in most of the databases EBSCO provides to UMF wherever you are.

[Here's a secret: part of me thinks that looking stuff up in databases from my phone is sort of silly, even though I love my phone for all sorts of other information seeking geekiness. But part of me thinks it's incredibly awesome to be living in the future.]

What does it look like? Let me show you some shots from the iPhone version. (Since I only have the iPhone, I haven't had a chance to look at other versions, but this should give you an idea. If anyone with other devices - Android smartphones, or whatever, feel free to let me know, and I'd be glad to post a followup.)

initial screen: EBSCO mobile iPhone app
Once you install the application (more about that below), this is the first screen you'll see. From here, you can see recent searches, access saved searches or articles, and get help.

The settings tool will let you select specific databases to search (that's up above what you can see in this image), and adjust some other preferences, like searching for full text articles, peer reviewed articles, or limiting the publication date. You don't have as many choices as you do using a web browser, but you have quite a few.

Try a search: Here, I've tried a search on "mountain lion". You can see there's a number of different results (over 3,000!), and I can sort by relevance or date.

 See that Refine button in the top left? If I touch that, I'll get a bunch of options to refine my search. I can limit it to specific subject headings (as shown below) or journals. Touch Ok and I've got a limited set of results.

Reading: If I click into a particular article, I'll either see whatever information is available about it. If that's an abstract, I'll see the abstract and a button to see if full text is available. If a PDF is available, I have a few more options - I can view the text of the article, download the PDF, or email the abstract (or PDF, if I've already loaded it) to myself.

So, how do you get this tool? First of all, you need to have a device it'll work on. Supported devices include
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • iPod touch
  • BlackBerry
  • Android Smartphones
  • Windows Smartphones
  • Dell Axim
  • Palm
  • Pocket PC
Wander over to the EBSCO mobile access page, and click on the button for your device.

It will bring up a window on screen giving you additional information. For non-Apple products, it will direct you to a FAQ page with instructions. 

For iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, it will direct you to click the link at the bottom of any of the EBSCO database pages. If you click that link, you'll be prompted for an email address. EBSCO will then send an email with a link (for Apple products) to the app store, followed by an authentication link. Copy and paste that into the browser on your device, and it'll set you up with all the same access you'd have had from a computer on campus. Pretty slick! 

Try it out, and let us know how it goes! 

No comments:

Post a Comment