Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Academic based Library Services

Application, Challenges and Prospects

Textbook, 2020

57 Pages



Shehu, Abdullahi Bala (BLIT, MBIS, MLIS): Librarian/lecturer with Baze University Abuja, presently a Ph.D. Scholar under the mentorship of Associate Professor KP Singh, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Delhi. His research interest includes ICT adoption in library services, Information Literacy skills, social media adoption to improve library services. Shehu Abdullahi Bala has written about 12 research publications and he can be reached at .

Idakwo, Sunday Innocent CLN holds Masters, Bachelors and Diploma in Library and Information Science. Currently a Librarian/Lecturer with Baze University, Abuja. He is a PhD Scholar in the Department of Library and Information Science University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His research interest includes ICTs application in library operations, collection development, Information Literacy skills, and electronic librarianship. Idakwo, Sunday Innocent has many publications to his credit in both national and international publications. He is married with three (3) children. He can be at reached at


Mobile technologies have provided faster access to information and communication and at the same time also challenging libraries to rethink and remodel their service by adopting technological changes since mobile devices has become an essential part of people's lives. Mobile devices revolutionized communication and changed the pattern in which information is been accessed, information can be accessed using mobile devices anywhere anytime in a convenient and timely manner. As these new devices such as smartphones, tablets, and e-book readers are already part of the mainstream and adequately utilized in various types of libraries in developed nations of the world, libraries of developing nations such as Nigeria must do the same by adopting and implementing mobile technologies in Nigerian academic libraries, since the advantages have been known to be enormous and research has shown that library patrons prefer to access information over Mobile devices.


With students, librarians and libraries in mind, this text explains mobile technologies, its application, origin advantages, status, various examples and the newer methods of information delivery using mobile technologies adopted in developed nations of the world, Mobile databases, catalogs, also describes the present status of mobile technology adoption in Nigerian academic libraries, challenges and way forward.

Chapter 1 traces the emergence of mobile technologies in Nigeria, describes the concepts of the library its importance, the status of Nigerian Academic libraries and types of library services offered by these libraries to meet the mandates of its patrons. Chapter 2 explores mobile technologies presently available in Nigerian academic libraries and describes the need for mobile technology implementation in Nigerian academic libraries and finally describes various types of mobile devices in vogue. Chapter 3 moves into the details of explaining the various types of mobile services in academic libraries, practices in various libraries in different parts of the world, various mobile databases, catalogs, applications, subject guides, etc. Chapter 4 highlights the advantages of Mobile technology application in academic libraries, the essentials that are to be considered before the implementation and adoption of mobile technologies in academic libraries, and lastly, the chapter explored newer mobile technologies used in advance countries to deliver information services. Chapter 5 focuses on barriers affecting the adoption of mobile technologies in Nigerian academic libraries and the way forward.


I have to thank my parents for their love and support throughout my life, especially my father Pharm M.B. Shehu Thank you for giving me the strength to reach for the stars and chase my dreams, May ALLAH reward you for the concerted effort. I also acknowledge the efforts of my colleagues Isah Yahaya Abdullahi and Innocent Sunday Idakwo for their contribution towards the completion of this book.


1.1 Introduction

The word Library was derived from a Latin word Liber meaning “book”. A library is a collection of books and non-book materials that are acquired, organized and displayed for patrons to make use of. Furthermore, libraries have provided spaces for individuals to acquire intellectual and physical skills to be beneficial to their society. Libraries provide a conducive environment for recreation, research and community meeting. In the view of Nwezeh and Shabi (2011) dissemination of information is the major function of the library. They tend to acquire materials that are processed, preserved and disseminate them based on the objective of what it was set to offer.

Over the years, libraries have evolved by providing information resources (book, journal, magazine, and encyclopedia) in electronic formats due to the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption, information resources are now known as Electronic Information Resources. These Electronic Information Resources are sources of information in digital formats that can be accessed with a handheld device or over a network. ICT has improved and also enhanced the functions of the library by providing access to Information Resources from different parts of the world with ease with just a click of a button. ICT has been central and a driving force for these changes in libraries.

Libraries in the 21st century are beginning to tailor their services and acquire or subscribe to electronic sources of information like electronic journals, electronic databases among others due to the growth in the use of smartphones and reduction in the cost of data.

1.2 Types of Libraries

Libraries are majorly categorized into four major types, namely

1. National Libraries
2. Public libraries
3. Academic libraries
4. Special libraries

1.2.1 National Libraries

This library is owned and financed by the Federal Government of a country and are charged with serving the information needs of a country. This library serves as a legal deposit of all publications written in that country by researchers and authors. In Nigeria, by the Legal Deposit Decree Number 29 of 1970, the National Library of Nigeria becomes the national depository of all published and printed works of the country. Section 4 (i) of the decree requires the publisher to deposit a certain number of copies to the National Library of Nigeria at this own expense for permanent preservation. This number of copies are as follows

i. 25 copies of all Federal Government Publications
ii. 10 copies of State Government Publications
iii. 3 copies of all Commercial Publications

The function of this library is to collect and preserve all information resources in the country and to also provide publishers with ISBN and ISSN.

1.2.2 Public Libraries

Public Library is a library that is financed and managed by the State Government or by a board set up by the State Government. This library is referred to as the peoples' University because it caters to all the information needs of the public/society in terms of books and other sources of information. This library is for the general public with no restriction to gender, sex, age and status in society.

Public library serves to promote educational needs for the society, promote and provide an avenue for people to display their cultural materials and be identified with. Furthermore, this library due to its serene environment, recreational activities for the public such as audio-video centers, television for showing the history and educational movies among others are parts of the built- up of the public libraries.

1.2.3 Academic Libraries

Academic library is found in the higher educational institution of learning. Academic library is the backbone of a college, polytechnic, and university because it is charged with the provision of all educational needs of the institution where it is found. They provide all the teaching, learning and research need required by researchers, students, and faculty members to ease their information need as such there are regarded as an integral part of the College, Polytechnic or University it serves. The libraries are the hearts of such institutions and without them, the body cannot last long (Chaturvedi, 1994).

1.2.4 Special Libraries

Special library is a library that serves a particular or specialized group of people in an organization. It could be described as a department in charge of acquisition, dissemination and management of knowledge in a specialized organization for its users. This library acquires literatures that are specific in nature and mostly relates to the information needs of its organization. This library normally place emphasis on effective information building and retrieval rather than mere increase of it's collection (Oyedum, 2006)

1.2.5 Nigerian Academic Libraries

The main function of academic libraries is to meet the purpose and objectives of its parent institution. Though, these libraries are charged with providing access to information resources in order to enhance teaching, research and community services. Oyegunle (2013), opined that this library is an information centre that supports and equips its community members with knowledge in order to enhance the growth of the community.

Historically, the first institution of Higher learning was the Yaba Higher College that was formally opened in 1934 charged with the provision of vocational and professional training of secondary teachers, training of medical, agricultural and forestry assistants. Furthermore, University libraries in Nigeria dates back to when University of Ibadan was established in 1948 as part of University of London before Nigeria got her independence from the British. For over a decade it was the only University in the country. After independence it became the responsibility of the Federal Government. The University of Ibadan Library inherited Yaba Higher College 10,000 collection of books and 18,000 collection of Henry Carr's private collection in the fields of sociology, psychology and humanities which served as a nucleus in building its collection.

Furthermore, additional universities were established in the Eastern, Northern and Western regions of the country namely University of Nigeria Nsukka in established 1955, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and University of Lagos both established in 1962 to meet the educational needs of people from those regions in order to increase the number of students' enrolments into tertiary education in the country.

These libraries had good infrastructure and since then relied on foreign donors for information resources to enable smooth operations. Though like any Nigerian University libraries in the country it had issues with budgetary allocations, inadequate professional staff and limited technology advancement.

With the advancement of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the early 2000s, these libraries began adopting ICTs into its operations. ICT has changed the traditional methods involving library activities and services by providing a brand new dimension for teaching, learning, and research in higher institutions in the country. With the aid of ICT, libraries can store, retrieve, share and manage information through the creation of websites and educational databases. This innovation has changed libraries in the academic environment. Librarians and libraries are now tasked with improving their skills and knowledge to be able to handle the information demands from their users.

1.3 Library services

Library services are the activities that have to do with library and information resources, library facilities and staff in order to meet the information needs of library patrons with ease. These services could be backend not visible to patrons and frontend which is visible to patrons. The following are services offered in a library;

1.3.1 Circulation service

The circulation unit is the eye of the library. This unit is charged with charging and discharging of books to patrons. The circulation service involves the registration of new users, keep records of the total number of registered users and sending overdue notices to patrons holding library books. Furthermore, this service involves displaying of books to the patron based on either pure or mixed notation of classification number the library adopts. In Nigeria, most academic libraries use the Library of Congress classification scheme to provide ease of retrieval of books for use. In the era of ICT, traditional circulation services are now automated with the use of Integrated Library System like KOHA, Millennium and Sierra for faster checking in and out of library books. With this software, patrons can now hold a collection right in the comfort of their homes or offices.

1.3.2 Serial Service

This service involves the provision of newspapers, magazines, journals and other publications that are published at regular or irregular intervals at a given period. The serial service is tasked with the responsibility of providing current newspaper and journal publications and regular renewal of subscriptions to this publication. Nowadays, libraries subscribe to electronic copies of newspapers and then send these newspapers daily to its patrons through their emails.

1.3.3 Social media service

Social media are online websites, applications or technologies people use to share information, video, text, opinions and engage in peer-to-peer communications that are published in a social environment like Facebook, twitter, Instagram among others. A lot of libraries are using these tools to render services to their clientele. With libraries using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp to keep patrons well informed on the current trends of activities in the libraries. Most libraries in Nigeria are beginning to use these platforms to market their libraries to meet the information needs of the tech-savvy. Furthermore, in a study by Rogers (2009) a respondent stated that “important don't do it justice. Any library that is not using Web 2.0 technology is not only hurting itself but it is also hurting the future of all libraries”. With these social media platforms librarians can now interact with their clientele on a real-time basis, so also share and collaborate with other institutions to improve service delivery.

1.3.4 Electronic library service

Electronic library is a library that use computer terminals and an internet connection to provide a medium to access electronic information, these electronic information are sources of information in digit formats that are accessed with the use of computers and handheld devices like smartphones and tablet. Electronic library services provide clienteles with access to educational databases irrespective of your geographical location and access 24/7 days. With this service now, librarians are charged with providing awareness and training users on how to use these subscribed databases and how to build queries to get their desired information in the face of a growing collection of electronic information.


According to Ranganathan (1931) library is a growing organism as such it is dynamic and tends to adapt to technological changes. Technological changes are enhancing the creation, storage and dissemination of information tremendously. These technological changes involve the use of electronic information resources, internet, social media tools and mobile technology.

Mobile technology is a technology used for cellular communication. This technology uses a platform called Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The platform allows people to make use of single frequencies to restrict interference from individuals. Over the years, mobile technology has evolved from a simple phone call and messaging to being used in GPS navigation and internet. Furthermore, its growth has led to advancements in the network from 2G network to 5G networks with improved access speeds. Mobile technology through smartphones, computers and tablets are becoming more popular. As such libraries are leveraging on the advantages of this technology by using it to meet the information needs of its users.

Library users are tech-savvy, they make use of smartphones and tablets for easy access to information and communication as such librarians need to integrate this technology to enhance service delivery. With the use of smartphones and other portable devices, access to electronic resources is now easy without the need to visit the library. The following are the advantages of mobile technology

1. It saves time
2. User-friendly aid
3. Ability to access information
4. User participation

While the disadvantage of this technology is

1. It's not cheap to implement
2. Low speed in transmission
3. Inconvenient input and output

1.5 Application of Mobile Technology Service in Library

Libraries can make use of mobile technology to offer the following services

1. Libraries can create groups on mobile apps like WhatsApp to provide reference services to patrons making it easier and faster to answer user's queries sitting in the comfort of your home. With this, current awareness services and selective dissemination of information could be easily done on this platform.
2. Mobile technology has enhanced the way SMS is sent to clientele on different information on what is going on in the libraries. Messages can be sent to patrons on overdue notice, new arrivals, and links to electronic resources databases. SMS messages can be sent to a particular group user using a free application and website/client.
3. Mobile technology is increasingly used for internet connectivity due to its portability and libraries are leveraging on this advantage by designing webpages that are optimized to suit the screen sizes of these mobile phones and also to ensure ease of navigation/surfing on these pages.
4. Mobile technology has enabled the use of e-book, e-journals among others with the aid of portable e-book viewer software like Adobe Digital edition and Bluefire on android OS. This software makes it easy for researchers to arrange their electronic resources based on author, title or year of publications and get their metadata online. Electronic resource publishers tend to use this software to provide access to 24x7 access to subscribed resources be it IP based or remote access mode of access. User ID and password are used in order to provide login to these educational databases.

1.6 History of Mobile Phones in Nigeria

The history of mobile phones in Nigeria cannot be complete without mentioning the history and approval of Digital Mobile Licence (DML) auction conducted in January 2001 by the Nigeria Communication Commission which is the regulator of the nation's telecommunication sector. Though the system started working on 6th August 2001. The auction was adjudged to transparent by the World Bank and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with each license going for a staggering amount of 285 million dollars (NCC, 2017).

The arrival of this service into the country brought an end to the monopoly Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) enjoyed for years. This could not have been possible without deregulating the telecommunications market during the military regime in 1992 by the then Head of State General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Though it was not until 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy under the Presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo that the sector enjoyed full deregulation against all manner of politics, fear, and expectations.

ECONET was the first to start operation introducing pay as you go package and two days later MTN started its operation with the same package offering to their customers per minute billing services. Not until GLOBACOM Nigeria who was offered a second national carrier status to begin its operation after paying 200 million dollars. The coming of GLOBACOM in the sector brought an option of pay by the seconds or per second billing charges to customers to enjoy its own share of the market. With SIM cards going as much as 10,000 nairas as against now where SIM cards cost as low as 100 nairas in 2020.

There is no doubt with GSM in Nigeria the demand for mobile phones became imperative. Only the rich and wealthy within society could afford the cost of a mobile phone. Despite the cost of this mobile phone, it could only make calls and send Short Message Service (SMS) with monophonic ringtones. Furthermore, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung phones were among the first entrant into the communication sectors with mobile phones like Nokia 3310 and Motorola T10, T191 among others.

The communication sectors within 19 years have grown at an astronomical rate with different mobile phone brands in the country today with better functionality, quality and cost-effectiveness. Nigeria with an estimated population of 206.04 million people is one of the leading countries with an unprecedented boom in the mobile phone market. Though the forecast for 2020 shipment of mobile phones predicts Nigeria as the number one country in Africa as the largest market for mobile phones replacing South Africa. O'Dea (2020) reports that Nigeria has an estimated 170 million mobile subscriptions and has about 40 million smartphone users in the country due to the network expansion and GSM companies currently investing in 4G and looking into how to adopt 5G network upgrades.

In Nigeria today, many mobile phone companies have employed and empowered a lot of Nigerians due to the large investment done in the country's mobile phone market. International mobile manufacturing companies with its plants in Nigeria like Afrione and others having stores in the country like Transsion company makers of Tecno, itel and infinix phones, Samsung, Oppo among others.


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Rogers, C. R. (2009). Social Media, Libraries and Web 2.0: How America Libraries are Using New Tools for Public Relations and to Attract New users. _Libraries_2009-5.pdf



2.1 Introduction

In the 21st century, mobile technologies have become integrated into our everyday lives, practically everyone uses a smartphone especially in the developed part of the world, information access is increasingly shifting away from an online environment and into the mobile environment, libraries in the advanced world, especially the academic, have deployed the so-called “Mobile Library Services” the idea of mobile library is on wireless network capability, internet and multimedia technology( Wang and Latham, 2015). Because of the presence of these technologies today it is common to see a student with his or her head buried in a smartphone screen and it is ubiquitous on college and university campuses, this millennial generation as they are called with the age range of 18-25 have a very different view of information access than their parents and grandparents (Reese, 2013). It is common to sight these young adults walking down the street, in elevators, even during classes with iPhones, Androids, and other similar devices as their companion rather than them go to get needed information they prefer their information need and wants to be answered immediately with speed and accuracy using smartphones, which led to the generalization by Aiguo (2013) that the future is mobile and any library that has no initiative or plans to incorporate mobile technologies in their services is already on the verge of extinction as the present library system has passed the mere stage of the traditional way of offering services to recently Knowledge management centers, but recently developing countries are moving towards the jet age, mobile technology is penetrating all sphere of our lives, the technology is changing the way people communicate and access information people who visited the library in the past for specific information are now able to access such information with a click on their smartphones, tablets, Laptops, E-readers, etc. therefore it is paramount for academic libraries especially in developing countries to take the advantages and opportunities to provide information and library and information science (LIS) professionals should fully deploy and exploit the opportunities inherent in mobile technology applications and services, including hand-held devices to provide world-class and ubiquitous services to patrons.

2.2 The Need For Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Academic Libraries.

Literature survey on the use of mobile devices to deliver library services in Nigerian academic libraries is low Akunsi et al (2017) surveyed the use of smartphone among paraprofessional library staff in Olabisi Onibanjo university Nigeria, the study revealed that the paraprofessional staff had various categories of smartphones but they are mainly utilized for personal use like social media, calls and that the use of these smartphones to provide library services and routine was low. In another study by Amuni et al (2014) the authors assessed the information service provided through mobile technology from the library user perspective of two universities in Nigeria, the finding showed that the library users were in possession high-end internet-enabled mobile devices which were used for information search, the finding also depicts that the understudied academic libraries do not provide any information services through mobile technology and the study concluded by emphasizing that the library users want information services to be provided through mobile technology. Therefore there is a need for integrating mobile technologies in Nigerian academic libraries, the next section discusses the key need of mobile technologies integration in academic libraries, which is divided into two sections below, the first part discusses the relevance of quality information and the mandate of an academic library.

The main mandate of every Academic library is to meet with the information needs of its clientele with the recent technology proliferation and with all kinds of information just a click away or rather at once fingertip, which gives rise to poor information quality and poor information quality gives rise to poor decision, and a decision can not be better than the information upon which it is based and a critical decision based on poor quality information can have serious consequences, therefore the academic library is tasked with the need to provide up to date relevant quality information to meet the expectations of the organization that pays its way, while another academic library might see it as an intrinsic need- the library doing his job well is sufficient.

The second part discusses the revolution of mobile technologies.

Korturski and Sconia (2014) said that mobile technologies are opportunities for higher education to reach their constituents in new and compelling ways. The report implied that academic libraries would find them to be the ideal tools for bringing reluctant researchers to the library, mainly for their convenience. It's not hard to see why—in 2008, mobile phones were in the hands of more than 4 billion users, a 61% penetration rate worldwide. That same year, mobile users sent and received 2.3 million text messages. By 2012, the mobile phone is expected to outsell personal computers in developing countries like Nigeria, has seen its populace overwhelmingly embraced the use of mobile devices as an integral part of their everyday lives. As of 2015, Nigeria ranks 7th in the world list of mobile phone users and 1st in Africa on the world list of internet users. Nigeria is also 7th with 86,436,611 internet users. Also in a 2015 profiling of countries that love smartphones by e-marketers, Nigeria was ranked 17th in the world. The country was said to have 23.1 million smartphones in 2015, and this figure is expected to increase to 39 million by 2019. A high percentage of the users of these mobile devices are found in the institution of higher learning, therefore incorporating mobile information service in academic libraries in Nigeria is paramount. (Shehu and Gabasa,2019). Another interesting development according to an article in the Economist the internet is on its way to becoming mostly a mobile medium and soon there will be more mobile users than desktop users. With these important factors, the libraries and its services especially libraries in developing nation like Nigeria are left with no other choice than to join the mobile bandwagon to realign their strategies and services to suit the mobile users who are connected to educational opportunities from virtually anywhere, making almost every situation a potential learning environment, because it is observed that Nigerian academic libraries are just starting to make their first step into the world of mobile learning especially learning through mobile phone. (Shehu and Gabasa,2019)

2.3 Types Of Mobile Technologies

Different types of mobile technologies could be used to utilize, access and retrieve information, Bennett (2015) posit that in the last ten 10 years the information been shared among the user is greater than any information process and retrieval at any point in time in the history of mankind and that it has been the fastest-growing and most widely adopted type of information technology today, it is the primary means of communication today in the society. Currently, there are four major mobile carriers in Nigeria: MTN, Globalcom, Airtel, 9mobile which have different technologies available and different capabilities as well as smaller carriers like Visafone, Emirates telecom corp. With these carriers, users could utilize a mobile device every day to immediately access and retrieve information.

According to George (2019) mobile computing devices have some characteristics, these include but not limited to the following:

(a) persistent access to the Internet,
(b) a variety of downloadable applications,
(c) used as a communication device, specifically phone and SMS (text) messaging, and
(d) small enough to carry in a pocket or handbag

According to Guo, Liu, and Biefield (2018) common mobile devices utilized for mobile services in the library include:

(A) Laptops

According to Wikipedia a laptop is often called a notebook, and it is a small, portable personal computer (PC) with a "clamshell" form factor, typically having a thin LCD, LED or HD computer screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid of the clamshell and an alphanumeric keyboard on the inside of the lower lid, The clamshell is opened up to use the computer. Laptops are folded shut for transportation, and thus are suitable for mobile use.] Its name comes from lap, as it was deemed to be placed on a person's lap when being used.

B) Smartphones

Smartphones are class of mobile phones with high-end capabilities such as stronger, extensive mobile computing systems, multimedia functionality, the present generation smartphones facilitate wider, quality software functionalities, high speed, web browsing over mobile broadband and capable multimedia functionality such as music, video, camera, and gaming. Academic library patrons which are the major users of smartphones will need a mobile-based website of the library, Librarians should come with a smartphone app to access the library resources. Most smartphones today use screen technology and surpass the computing power of early computers, smartphones are classified by software that runs on the device such as android, apple ios, windows phone.

C) Tablets

Tablets are usually the one-third weight of a laptop, light and portable with a typical screen of 7 to 9 inches with a mobile operating system and touch screen display and a rechargeable battery in a single thin flat package. Some tablets might have cell network capability while others don't have such.

D) iPod/Mp3 players

iPod/mp3 players are portable media players they have the capabilities for music, photos, video and game transfer and in most cases, also serve as external storage. This device can be used in the libraries as audio/video tours, so that students can explore the library at their convenience and also listen/watch library instruction audio/videos in the comfort of their homes.

E) E-readers

E-readers are known as electronic book readers are small portable tablets/computers designed for reading books and periodicals, which are stored in a digital format such as PDF, HTML, RTF, ASCII, the main advantages of these devices overprinted book are portability and the ability of thousands of books with less weight in comparison to a book and also the convenience provided due to the add-on features. Examples are Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook. They are limited e-content and provide basic wifi connectivity to the internet. According to Gleason (2015) e-reader screen provides better readability than a tablet.


Amuni, S. I., Adetoro, N., & Olatunji, S. E. (2014). Mobile technology and information services provision: perception of library users in selected universities. Global Science Research Journals, 14, 2169-3078.

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Chapter three outlines and discusses the mobile applications and mobile library websites utilized in the library especially academic libraries.

3.1 Introduction

In this generation, traditional library web services are been reworked into the mobile setting,

The rise of the mobile platform can be traced to Apple's release of the iPhone on June 19, 2007. With the release of iPhone consumers now had access to a mobile computer in their pocket. (Clark,2012). It wasn't just about texting and calling anymore here was a computer with a full web browser and optimized operating system built for computing in the mobile system with limited bandwidth and connections. Portable media browsing, media creation (images and videos), full website viewing and other actions commonly associated with desktop PCs are now part of the mobile environment. This affects the way library services are delivered forcing the librarians to integrate mobile technologies into the library since studies have shown that library patron prefers to use mobile to access the library catalog, library websites, therefore, it is imperative for libraries in developing countries to introduce and integrate mobile service into their services. The history of mobile development in libraries in brief, but growing quickly as one might expect, one of the first libraries to enter mobile development was the district of Columbia public library in 2009 and released it to iPhone (Clark,2012) the DCPL was the first to attempt to translate a traditional web service into a mobile setting. Today almost all academic libraries in America have one way or the other integrated mobile technologies into their library services, the early application can be traced to 2010 where the North Caroline state university NGSU campus introduced the Wolfwalk app.

3.2 Mobile Library Websites

What is the mobile web? Mobile web is simply a world wide web that is accessed through a mobile device ranging from a cellular phone to an iPod touch to smartphones. It constitutes the entirety of the internet and is not limited to websites that have been specifically designed for mobile viewing. Handsets and mobile phones which have Web capabilities can search and browse the internet from anywhere they can get a cellular signal. Websites that are made especially for the small screen appears as scaled-back versions of their desktop counterparts, often with a numbered menu system for quick access to content. (Krosi, 2008). The mobile Web opens up a world of knowledge that can be accessed on-the-go by shoppers, travelers, readers, listeners, and newshounds with an information need, the impact is also been felt in libraries all over the world. One university library is already making it possible for students and researchers to check on the availability of lab computers while on their way to the library and so many initiatives introduced to make library services interesting and irresistible to the new generation library users again the library web site provides access to the catalog, databases, information about events and programs within the library, directory and location information, and directions on how to ask for help. A patron might think they are simply going to the library web site to look for a book title, rather than process the fact that they are navigating to the library's web site, which contains access to the catalog. Libraries in developing countries should start taking the initiatives of how to apply some of these emerging technology services to their libraries. Even though some academic libraries in Nigeria are already by introducing mobile versions of their websites for their patrons to access on the go-to library catalog search, portable exhibit information, subject guides, e-journals, and library hours, all formatted for the small screen. Some libraries in Nigeria have established a web presence of their library resources through library management software, some examples are listed below.

Table 1

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Again Some Academic libraries in developed nations have in house native library apps that have more features, such as managing the library account or scanning the barcode of a book to check its availability. Which can be downloaded mostly from AppStore for iPhone and Play store for android enabled operating system. Here are several examples of library Native apps New York Public Library (iPhone, Android;, District of Columbia Public Library (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android;, Seattle Public Library (iPhone, Android; app),MIT Libraries (iPhone, Android;, North Carolina State University Libraries ( developed a Library Mobile Tour (iPhone, Android) and a historical campus guide, WolfWalk (iPhone) (Kim,2013)

3.3 Mobile Library Application

Several mobile library applications or apps are designed to cater and improve the services of libraries most especially academic libraries, with the ubiquitous and pervasive technology in the 21st-century apps or application app is shorthand for application or software that typically runs on a mobile device and are classified into a hybrid, native and web application. This section outlines and discusses some of the known mobile library applications and mobile learning

I. Boopsie for Libraries: It is a mobile solution for libraries developed by a

company called Demco, it aggregates libraries across the world and provides access to their catalogs, library location, hours and events, epubs and others, for a fee some of their Customers include the Seattle Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, New York University Law School and Brown University. Access at
II. AirPac (Innovative Interfaces): It offers a mobile version of the Innovative Interfaces for the library catalog and also incorporates features such as cover images, integrated library locations with Google Maps software, request and renew items, and more. Contact Access: at
III. Library Anywhere: It is created and sold through LibraryThing, Library Anywhere is a mobile catalog for any library. It Includes mobile Web and apps for iPhone, blackberry, and android. Prices range from $150 annually for schools to $1,000 for universities(additional fees may apply). Access at (Barile,2011).
IV. Catch: This app allows users to create notes (via text, voice, or video) and save them to ‘spaces' or ‘Cloud' as it is commonly known, the basic free plan offers users three spaces which can be private or shared with other users and 70MB of content per month or slightly more. Access at
V. ScienceDirect: Science direct is under the Elsevier which is a world­
leading publisher journal in fields such as Physical Sciences and Engineering, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. It offers the mobile version known as SciVerse, the app is subscription-based. Access at sciverse- mobile-applications/overview
VI. Readcube R ead cube is a mobile app that enables its users to search PubMed and Google Scholar from within the application itself. Users can take notes on their PDFs as they read and can later search within their annotations. Access at (
VII. AccessMyLibrary: It is a free mobile app that is available both on Android and Apple Ios, it works in conjunction with a college or university library's databases. Students and faculty would have to log in with their university email addresses to access the online resources available to them from the Gale database, it allows the students to download full-text articles from electronic journals and other scholarly publications and read them on their mobile devices.

3.4 Mobile Learning Application

- Evernote: with Evernote users can create text, video, and audio memos. All content within Evernote is searchable, including text within snapshots. Notes can be synchronized to Mac, PC, and Web. Evernote works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile. Price: Free. Access at: ( Barile,2011).
- Zotero: is an open-source citation management software. The mobile version of Zotero allows you to access and edit your Zotero library on your tablet or mobile device. Zotero also bookmarks and lets the user save items from your mobile device's browser directly to your Zotero account. While there are no official Zotero apps for mobile devices, there are several third-party solutions like Android Apps: Zandy, Zojo, Zed Lite etc.
- Udemy: udemy is an application designed for learning about all kinds of subjects from web design and photographs to data analysis, personal development, with udemy internet connection is not required as long as all necessary download has been made in an area in which a user wishes to learn about. Udemy incorporates audio, video, text to enhance the learning experience, access at https://udemy. en .uptodown. com/android
- Coursera: is a mobile learning application with collaboration with various universities and organizations, you can improve your skill in the various subject area with Coursera from business analytic, to learning various computer programming language such as Java, PHP, etc. access at
- Dropbox. Dropbox is online cloud storage, which is available both on mobile and PC, with dropbox a user can store, sync, and share files online and across computers. Access your dropbox, download files for offline viewing, and sync photos and videos to your dropbox from your mobile device. Dropbox works with iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. Access: (Barile,2011).
- History: Maps of the World. This app was developed by Seung-Bin Cho it showcases high-resolution historical maps of the world from the 4th to the 20th centuries. Features include category/era views and keyword searches. History: Maps of the World works with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Access: world/id303282377

3.5 Mobile Reference Service

- Skype: skype is described as a window to another world, it is a telecommunications application that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches via the Internet. Skype also provides instant messaging services. Users may transmit text, video, audio, and images, it is a good application that is utilized for reference service in the library, as it enables librarians to directly communicate either through video or audio or text to solve a clienteles' information need. Access at
- Chat Messengers: chat messengers such as Yahoo, Gmail, American Online (AOL) are providing an online platform for libraries are starting to supplement existing online chat reference to provide instant reference service to library patrons, others include google voice to provide an instant audio reference. An SMS reference service can be integrated with a mobile library website as well as be integrated into other chat reference services.

3.6 Mobile Databases

A database is a data structure that organizes data for easy accessibility, it is an organized collection of data or information that is stored and accessed electronically, with the mobile database, portability and transportability is the unique feature. A lot of online vendors and publishers have designed the mobile version access to their resources online because of the ubiquitous and pervasiveness of mobile technology. Some of the common databases are discussed below:

EBSCOhost Database: EBSCOhost offers a variety of proprietary full­text databases and popular databases from leading information providers. EBSCOhost provides seamless access to the EBSCO host (host) or EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) interfaces via mobile devices without the need to download an application. Simply access your library's EBSCO host resources from a mobile device and a mobile-friendly version of the site will display. Besides, you can also download the mobile application for the iPhone at the app store.

WorldCat: the world's largest catalog, it is the world's most comprehensive database of information about library collection and integrates libraries from developed nations of the world which house some of the most authoritative and unique resources in the world cat has a mobile app which is intimated for mobile devices. Access at (

Proquest database is a database with global information-content. It is a technology company that was founded in 1938 as University Microfilms by Eugene B. Power. ProQuest provides applications and products for libraries. Its resources and tools support research and learning, publishing and dissemination, and the acquisition, management, and discovery of library collections. It is available on a subscription base, the database is optimized for mobile access for mobile at The standalone application in progress.

IEEE: Which stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a research database for discovery and access to journal articles, conference proceedings, technical standards, and related materials on computer science, electrical engineering and electronics, and allied fields. It contains material published mainly by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and other partner publishers. IEEE is optimized for mobile access and also provides a standalone mobile application that is downloadable at App Store and Play store access at (

Bio-One Database: is a database of over 200 subscribed and open-access titles in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. In 2011 it released bio one mobile which is optimized for mobile devices With this new mobile interface, all content from BioOne's 167 journals and book series is available for easy access to faculty, students, and researchers via their iPhones, Androids, and Blackberry smartphones. Access at

Lexis-Nexis: is a provider of legal, government, business, and high tech information sources, it deals with all types of legal information sources and it has a mobile site for use of smartphones for legal research, it is compatible with all mobile devices and mobile application is available at both AppStore and play store markets. Access at hub/b/mobile-solutions/posts/lexis-com-17 4-mobile-site


The mobile statistic shows the use of mobile is growing and libraries must try to meet the demand of their patron if libraries and librarians are going to compete and survive in the world of a giant such as issue of cost is always a problem in integrating mobile technologies in libraries especially in developing economy like Nigeria. Training and ensuring that the staff of libraries has the skill to implement mobile projects and resources can drastically reduce the effect of cost.


Barile, L. (2011). Mobile technologies for libraries: A list of mobile applications and resources for development. College & Research Libraries News, 72 (4), 222-228.

Bridges, L., Gascho Rempel, H., & Griggs, K. (2010). Making the case for a fully mobile library web site: from floor maps to the catalog. Reference Services Review, 38(2), 309-320. Doi:10.1108/00907321011045061

Clark, J. (2012). Building Mobile Library Applications:(THE TECH SET®# 12). American Library Association.

Harmon, C., & Messina, M. (Eds.). (2013). Mobile library services: best practices. Scarecrow Press.

Kim, B. (2013). The present and future of the library mobile experience. Library Technology Reports, 49 (6), 15-28.

Kroski, E. (2008). On the move with the mobile web: libraries and mobile technologies. Library technology reports, 44(5), 1-48.

URLs and-Android?language=en US


This chapter discusses the advantages of mobile technology based on academic library services, prerequisites for implementing mobile technology­based academic library services, mobile library services in academic libraries in Nigeria, mobile library services and new ways of delivery information in advanced countries.

4.1 Advantages of Mobile Technology based Academic library services in Nigeria

According to National University Commission data of Nigeria, there are 43 federal universities, the oldest dating as far back as 1948, there are 48 state universities cutting across the 36 states of the country and about 79 private universities the data also gave list of accredited polytechnics to be 29 across the country each of these higher institutions with its own libraries. These libraries are intended to serve students, academic staff and other university staff, and they are also open for public use to support research, owing to the rapid development of higher education in the country and the recent technology proliferation, The prevalence of mobile technology is forcing libraries to change the way they provide services to reach as many users as possible, and users are increasingly attracted to the idea of using library services over their mobile devices. (Hamad and Hamarsha, 2018). Therefore, it is important that the academic librarians in various higher institutions of Nigeria realize the benefit of incorporating mobile technologies to enhance library services. This section will discuss some of the advantages of applying mobile technologies to library services.

As stated in other chapters, libraries can better serve their users by embracing the growing capabilities of mobile technologies, they can promote and expand their existing services by offering mobile access to their websites, creating a mobile-friendly online public access catalog (OPAC), supplying on the go mobile reference services and by providing to multimedia content such as e­books, journals, video, audiobooks, etc. The audio and video section is no longer restricted in the library, but rather as a content that can be downloaded streamed and viewed on the move.

4.1.1 Support distance learning

The advancement of mobile technology has opened up a myriad of learning opportunities for students in higher learning institutions who need to cope with a complex and demanding learning environment.(Hussin, et al). With mobile technologies, the learning process is no longer limited to the four walls of the classroom or internet environment, mobile technologies provide a convenient way of communicating and computing, Users can receive emails, instant messages in text forms or multimedia formats, lecture notes, and audio and video files in 4G formats.

4.1.2. Time-Saving

Timely availability of information resources anywhere anytime eliminating wait time in the library for charging and discharging function (circulation), library OPAC can be easily accessed to know the status of resources whether available or on reserve.

4.1.3 Mass Access

Multiple users or library patrons can access a single information resource in the library at the same time.

4.1.4 Personalized service

Personalized service helps users to interact with library staff to seek specific information or reference away from the library.(Malathy and Kantha, 2015).

4.1.5 Ability to Access Information

Information access from anywhere at any time will be of great help for users who cannot visit the library in person and provides a constant link to required information resources or directly send information to the library patrons mobile device using various available android and ios application.

4.1.6 Access to Print-disabled Users

Mobile technologies assist in providing services orally to visually and physically impaired library users, thereby enhancing their library experience.

4.1.7 Location Awareness

With the advancement in mobile technologies now, mobile communication enables libraries to offer location-based services /content through global positioning system (GPS) capabilities. Libraries can guide the users to the location of specific documents or services through maps and navigational tools (Malathy and Kantha, 2015).

4.1.8 Limitless Acess

All online resources accessible on their desktop also become accessible through mobiles.

4.1.9 User-friendly Aid

Familiarity with their own devices and technology helps the users in accessing information quickly and does not require orientation and training. Mobile users are using the facilities on mobile phones like SMS, instant messaging, web browsing, e-mail effortlessly to communicate. Most of the features are pre­installed on mobile devices.

4.2. Prerequisites for implementing mobile technology-based library services

It is advisable and important to have a carefully planned requirement and for librarians to be skillful, to effectively design the kind of library services to be offered on mobile devices. For any academic library to effectively provide technology services certain factor has to be put in place, such as follows:

a) Necessary hardware and software has to be acquired after an extensive market survey
b) The library must provide a physical and virtual environment for using mobile devices and accessories, digital information base and information products designed for e-platform is an important prerequisite.
c) One needs to ensure that the customers having mobile phones of different network operators are in a position to avail the services to be provided in the library
d) Security and authentication are very important regarding digital mobile content particularly due to the availability of web content on a 24x7 to prevent hacking, virus, and loss of data.
e) it is a prerequisite to optimize library OPAC, website, and databases for mobile devices and introduce new services wherever possible.
f) Librarians should be trained and retrained on ICT skills to effectively manage mobile technology services in the library.

4.3 Mobile library services in Academic Libraries of Nigeria

Because of increasing numbers of library patron use of mobile technology especially in an academic setting, academic libraries, especially in developing nations like Nigeria, need to support their services with mobile technology use, because many patrons are becoming more comfortable with using mobile devices for information seeking and prefer quick access to information that mobile devices provide (Gleason, 2015). To remain relevant in today's mobile environment, Nigerian academic libraries need to provide mobile information environment because this provides innovative services to users who already sees the library as a place for physical book storage. Mobile technology library services that are familiar in the Nigerian context include the following:

4.3.1 Short Messaging Service (SMS) reference service

The consideration to make library services available on mobile platforms has gained recognition, although mobile technologies are not pervasive in comparison to the developed world basic mobile technology services like SMS is been adopted in a lot of university libraries in Nigeria to alert users for new book notice, overdue notices library circular, recently subscribed E- journal/resources, change in library timings/information about upcoming events. University library of the Federal University of Lafiya, for example, generate overdue notices automatically sent directly to library patrons, if a patron fails to return the material to the library at the due time. Besides, SMS reference service is also gaining recognition in Nigerian academic libraries, it allows a library user to send an SMS to the librarian with the use of their mobile phones seeking clarification or understanding of a particular information deficiency.

4.3.2 Instant Messaging (IM for reference Service)

Some reference queries go beyond SMS, some mobile application such as WhatsApp, Telegram facilitates and ensures that synchronous reference transaction is performed most hastily, and also web-based communication technology such as yahoo messenger, google hangouts facilitates communication.

4.3.3 Mobile OPAC (open-access catalog)

Academic libraries in schools like the Federal University Lafiya, Covenant University Otta provide mobile access and view to their OPAC. You can view Covenant University mobile OPAC at and for the Federal University Lafiya at Http. M. and several other academic libraries providing such services while some are on the verge of implementing such services. Web- OPAC of the academic library sites includes different types of search strategy and tactics in a condensed manner which is easily visible in desktop and provides faster search results while it becomes slow when accessed on mobile devices. The mobile-optimized online public access catalog provides a simple search facility against the author, title. (Madhusudhan and Ahmad, 2017).

4.4.4 Mobile Document Supply

According to Mtshali (2018) The mobile environment and technology present new opportunities for sending document requests and scanned images and monitoring the use of collections as well as the automation of administrative operations. Mobile document supply is in vogue in a lot of academic libraries in Nigeria, this is a result of the proliferation of the use of smartphones among the younger generation which constitutes more than 70 percent of university students.

4.5 Mobile library services and new ways of delivering information in advanced countries.

Mobile technology is said to be the only technology that has received massive acceptance in the developed and developing countries of the world (Ocran, 2017). Academic libraries in the advance world are already serving their users by leveraging on the growing capabilities of mobile technology, they have mobilized and currently promoting their traditional services by offering mobile access to their websites OPAC and other initiatives to provide rapid services and put their libraries on the map. According to Peterson and Boon (2017) an estimated 83 percent of academic libraries in developed nations like America, England offer online audio content and online video content, in the same vein, Villoldo (2012) highlighted that academic libraries in Britain have developed and implemented varieties of mobile applications such as mobile collections, mobile library instruction, mobile databases, mobile library tours, mobile learning, library SMS notifications, mobile library circulation, QR codes, access to services (such as reserving study rooms and checking out laptops and e-book readers), this is evident in Richmond university library, Newyork university libraries. This section gives an overview of mobile initiatives already in vogue in libraries of developed nations of the world which should serve as a guide for academic libraries in developing nations like Nigeria to adopt to improve their library service delivery.

4.5.1 Mobile Library Application

Mobile library applications are a mobile dedicated piece of software that enhances the library user's experience to access information in an elegant consistent way, this library apps are coded and developed with a specific operating system that is mobile device compliant. Through these apps, users can access networked information that is linked by the applications. These applications commonly have features like search, bookmark, annotate, link and highlights content from scripture, curriculum, lesson manual, etc. for example North Carolina State University developed a library mobile application with features like group finder, live webcam feed, an instant chat system with the librarian, the live webcam makes it possible for users to monitor the location of library remotely.

University library apps can provide users access to the library catalog, databases, and library guides from the palm of their hand remotely Users can also lookup library locations, borrower information, library news, and ways to contact librarians. Also, the location-based services are available only on a library mobile app that picks user interests in terms of mobility (Madhusudhan and Ahmad, 2017).

4.5.2. QR Codes

QR code is a short form of quick response code, QR code is a two-dimensional code that contains 100 times more data than a simple barcode. QR code can be read by a QR reader on a camera-equipped Mobile device (Cellphone, Tablet, iPod) QR codes, used mostly to provide a link to content on the internet, are increasingly seen in many locations. QR code can be used to access the electronic version of a physical document over the internet, the codes are also used for simply saving information (for example, phone number, address, library call number) to a mobile device. QR code can store maximum information up to 7089 characters numeric only, 4296 characters of alphanumeric and binary (8 bits) 2953 bytes in single barcode and single code can be divided into 16 portions of code at maximum. A QR code is capable of reading with high-speed in 360° (Omni-directional). (Madhusudhan and Ahmad, 2017). Many academic libraries of America like ( Codes) (Syracuse University), range end signs linking to subject guides, Ryerson University Library and the University of Bath provide an MP3 download through a QR code, while the Mudd Library at Lawrence University provides a QR code linking to the virtual tour (Whitchurch,2011). Many of the academic libraries in a developed nation like the ones mentioned above created high -tech spaces called commons (information commons, learning common or Knowledge commons) to attract students to the library, this library spaces aside from providing a high-tech environment for students, have also provided another space for students to study and work, Librarians of developing nations like Nigeria need to understand that students want to feel connected to and involved with information, students are more social now than ever before and application of QR codes are means of encouraging this kind of interaction. According to Madhusudhan and Ahmad (2017), some of the popular uses of QR codes in the library include: I Library audio tour

ii. Group study room scheduler
iii. Marketing/promotional materials
iv. Linking from print to electronic journal holdings
v. Providing an electronic alternative to physical books
vi. Promoting online audiovisual materials
vii. Embedding video help
viii. Bringing external resources into the library
ix. Finding appropriate help
x. Taking the catalog record with you
xi. Linking from course syllabi

There is an urgent need of Nigerian academic libraries to start thinking of implementing QR code because it did not only saves time but it also makes library services aesthetically appealing.

4.5.3 Mobile Collection:

In the 21st century, mobile collections are available in different formats from references to audiobooks, e-books, music, video, etc, these resources are available over the web or can either be loaded by library personnel on equipment available for checkout depending on the nature of the collection and can be accessible from the users' mobile devices. some of the mobile collection databases are discussed below : Google Books

A mobile version of Google's Book Search is also available to those with an iPhone or an Android, this platform provides access to more than 1.5 million mobile public domain books in the United States and over 500,000 outside the United States. Some academic libraries in the United States choose to link their OPACS to Google Books, allowing handheld devices to access these versions, which are enhanced for small-screen reading, for example, the University Libraries at Murray State University have linked their Voyager OPAC ( to Google Books, offering patrons the choice to read a book full text online, see a Limited Preview, or just glimpse an “About This Book” abstract. (Mardhususdhan and Ahmad, 2017). Audio

Mobile devices can store audio lectures that can be listened to anytime. For example, the Crouch Fine Arts Library at Baylor University offers audio reserves 2G so that all listening assignments are in the palm of the users' hand. They loan preloaded iPods with listening assignments and organize them by course and teacher. These iPods are available for a 12-hour checkout and can leave the library too.

4.6 Mobile Audio Tour

For library patrons in busy academic libraries in the developed nations such as the Simmons college library the USA and Duke University libraries that offer audio/video tour services for their mobile devices such a tour helps a patron to know the university library system. The mass adoption of Mp3 players and iPods presented an unheralded opportunity to address a limitation in Arizona state university Charles Trumbull Hayden library because of the influx of new students every year to their campus and many of them attend library tours, scheduling tours, and staffing was always a challenge. Audio tour downloads to mobile devices combined with tour signage onsite enable students to take a library tour at their leisure. (Bucynski, 2008).

4.7 Mobile Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has emerged as a new interactive technology and its unprecedented way of complementing the physical environment with virtual annotations offers innovative modes for accessing commercially-relevant content. It allows a level of immersion that no virtual equipment can provide. Augmented reality has been already used in many applications as surgery, an inspection of hazardous environments and engineering. The use of Augmented reality in libraries is penetrating (Madhusudhan and Ahmad, 2017). Application of Augmented reality in some academic libraries in developed nations of the world for example university library of Texas A&M and also Miami University, Ohio uses AR to help with shelf based work and it is viable Augmented reality differs from Virtual reality in such a way that Virtual reality completely immerses users in a synthetic world without seeing the real world, AR technology augments the sense of reality by superimposing virtual objects and cues upon the real world in real-time. According to Han (2012) augmented reality applications represent a profound opportunity for increased access to print and digital library collections, these applications bring about a greater melding between the physical and digital environment. This interconnection is a desired feature in our era as many library resources exist digitally and many libraries maintain large legacy print collections and continue to offer access to both. Some examples of the use of Augmented reality are discussed below.

4.7.1 Physical Book Stacks Browsing

A use case scenario in the application AR in the bookshelf exists in the University of Illinious Urbana-Campaign, Hahn (2012) gave an instance consider a first time user to a library. Orienting in the book stacks is both a challenge and also an incomplete introduction to the totality of available services of the library. The new student may consider the physical book stacks to be the only available library resource. The new student is not aware of the digital items of the collections. With an augmented reality service in the library book stacks, the mobile app user can use the software to first identify the stacks that she is in (i.e. identify a subject area of “dictionaries”), and then the software will overlay a range of digital content to this physical presence, once the meaning and subject area of the shelf are identified by the software. The student can also learn about historical circulations for any book that the augmented reality program can identify. The student could also then tap on her phone for more recommendations based on the identified book.

A mobile augmented book stacks application is quickly accessed from a user's Smartphone and does not require users to enter a search query; it allows them to use their stacks location and Smartphone as a query point for additional library information.

4.7.2 Library Navigation

Library navigation is expected to solve the problem of library wayfinding, these wayfinding problems include understanding call number or another library-specific numbering. The system can direct the user to the correct object, other potential features for attention tunnels in libraries include navigation in near space. A practical application of library navigation is according to Joiner (2018) the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in Austria started my “library app” this app had features such as navigation, services outside the library like a literature walk, managing the media, etc, the main idea of “my library” was the development of Smart library, where smart technologies are integrated part of the users' experience, “My library” is an image- base AR app for mobile devices.

4.7.3 Optical Character Recognition

Another important use of mobile technologies in academic libraries is the use of optical character recognition software mobile application to assist persons with special abilities like visual or hearing. Many such people are often unable to access information because there is no special interface for them. Mobile devices such as smartphones which have screen readers that can help the disabled to access information. Visual or vibrating alerts, relay services, and hearing aid compatibility devices make mobile phones accessible for the users with hearing impairment while those with physical disabilities such as blindness need features such as voice recognition and auto text (Shehu and Gabasa, 2019). Madhusudhan and Ahmad (2017) stated the relevance and application of OCR in the academic library as a mobile app that use modified OCR software to check a suggestion database to identify library resources that will support the assignment or topical interest; checking against a database of course reserves for the class and other relevant sources of data (course-specific help guides), and suggesting library resources and research databases that are relevant.

4.7.4 Facial Recognition

In many academic libraries in the USA, the use of traditional full work station computer to connect to a scanner that scans the patron's barcode is been replaced with circulation librarian use of library smartphone to scan a patron picture ID, the picture that is scanned does a feature detection and patrons recognition in other to charge out patrons item. This technology is far fetched in developing nations as many academic libraries of Nigeria are struggling with mere computerization and implementing the use of a barcode system for charging and discharging operations.

4.7.5 Identifying Building Services and Collection

The prototype use of this AR application is been tested in the University of Illinois, and the University of Yale, this application can identify buildings by simply holding the phone's camera up to the building, it is particularly useful for a large university campus or institutions with multiple library sites. The user of this augmented reality app can use this to identify the name of the library building and the hours of the library building. It can tell users when it will be closing and overlay information such as current computer availability, technology availability or even seating availability in the library. (Shehu and Gabasa, 2019).

4.7.6 Mobile Database

According to Kroski (2009), he emphasized in his paper that it's not only libraries that have seen the writing on the wall concerning the mobile web; academic software and database providers have started taking portability to heart. The scholarly citation management application endnote has rolled out mobile functionality for Pocket PC owners with its X1.0.1 release. Factiva's news database has a search interface for mobile web users, as does the Westlaw legal research database. Library patrons can access detailed company information while on the road through Hoover's Mobile, and the National Library of Medicine makes it possible for medical students to research remotely through PubMed for handhelds and several other mobile databases initiatives, mobile access is in greater than demand ever by library patrons as such it is paramount for all academic libraries especially that of developing nation to augment their services with mobile presence. The mobile database has gained impetus, for example, Murray (2010) lists several databases in his blog, including music Online and the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which have developed apps for mobile devices. Alexander Street's Music Online app allows subscribers to cross-search hundreds of thousands of audio recordings, scores, videos, and full-text music reference materials as well as update playlists.

4.7.7 Mobile Printing

Mobile printing allows users to print documents from their mobile devices by wirelessly connecting to a printer that is network connected. However, the implementation of this technology is hindered because of its dependence on the capabilities of mobile devices. The operating systems of many mobile devices do not include print capabilities and the user must download software to enable this function. (Shehu and Gabasa, 2019) .

Figure 10: Wireless Mobile Printing


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We all own up to the fact that Mobile technology has made communication and information sharing very effortless and timely, mobile technology application in libraries has facilitated librarians to provide very fast information services, librarians in developing nation like Nigeria are aware of the enormous benefit of mobile technology and its application to library services, especially with the influx of smartphone usage coupled with the fact that research has shown that students of all levels have a desire for mobile applications and technologies to be incorporated into their education, In Nigeria, mobile library service is yet to gain prominence, this might be due to certain challenges. Chapter 5 outline and discuss some of these challenges, the disadvantages and the way forward.

5.1.1 Initial Cost/Fund

Initiating mobile technology application to academic libraries is expensive and resource-intensive, mobile applications are typically purchased by libraries through subscription license agreements with third-party vendors which can be costly to maintain for organizations with limited resources (Morgan, et al, 2019). This issue is compounded by the fact that libraries often need to purchase multiple mobile apps to adequately meet the variety of patron needs.

5.1.1 Low bandwidth

In Nigeria, internet speed on mobile devices is an issue, low bandwidth is the prevalence factor, slow downloading and uploading speed limit the acceptance and utilization of mobile technologies in Nigerian academic libraries. In Nigeria, most telecommunication networks are still operating on 2G (Second generation) and at most 3G ( third-generation) which is far inferior to 4G and 5G networks. The transmission speed, as well as the presentation of multimedia content, is much superior in 4G as compared to the previous two generations i.e. 2G and 3G. This technology enables the users to see images more fluently and hear voices more clearly and browse the Internet more quickly, this is a limiting factor in the implementation of mobile technologies in Nigerian academic libraries ( Iqbal and Qureshi, 2012). Halisco (2011) found out in his study that the bandwidth allocation to academic libraries in southwestern university libraries was limited and they did not have a separate bandwidth connection to provide internet services to their clientele.

5.1.3 Lack of Trained Staff/Skilled Manpower

Library professionals in Nigeria do not have adequate knowledge regarding computer applications and automation, Library professional, especially in Nigerian libraries, lacks basic computer skills, which retard ICT application to library services such as mobile services application while professionals having good ICT skills are leaving the continent or prefer not to join higher institutions and their libraries due to a combination of low salary/ benefits.

5.1.4 Lack of ICT infrastructure

Lack of ICT infrastructure is recognized as the main problem for new technology implementation. Effective information management will to a large extent depend on information and communication technology, Most African countries especially Nigerian academic libraries lack ICT infrastructure and appropriate basic ICT infrastructure required to support development.(Ocran, 2017)

5.1.5 Electricity Failure

Despite Nigerian rapid growing economy with the status of African largest exporter of oil and gas having reserves of natural resources such as coal, tin, diamond, etc, the government has failed to provide adequate electricity for its growing population, at best power supply is estimated at fours hours daily and can even go several days without any power supply, this pathetic situation cripples the agricultural, industrial and mining sectors, it also harms effective ICT service provision in an academic setting, since hardware facilities in the academic library need electricity to function.

5.1.6 Privacy and Security

Privacy is an issue for mobile technology in the library because client personal information can be exploited by third parties such as fraudsters, identity theft. Mobile technology in creating more service tends to expose the user to the potential invasion of privacy besides mobile technology integration it becomes difficult for libraries to maintain their privacy and security of their resources, thereby resulting in misuse leading to violation of copyrights laws, wrong distribution, modifying etc.

5.1.7 Lack of ICT professionals or experts

Lack of ICT professionals or experts is a major hindrance to the integration of mobile technologies in libraries. Because of this, a survey by Thomas (2010) indicated that though libraries indicate a positive attitude towards mobile web services, only a few had mobile web presence due to low skills among staff.


How people communicate, acquire, and share knowledge will inevitably affect the academic library. The widespread adoption of mobile technologies coupled with the increasing use of social media tools daily has impacted libraries in many ways. On the one hand, students have turned to access electronic sources so readily available online, something which has in many instances thrown the academic library into a state of instability. (Akeriwa, Penzhorn, and Holmner, 2014). Academic libraries in developed nations are taking advantage of the impact of mobile technologies on everyday communication, especially academic libraries of USA always working to offer more mobile access to a multitude of digital collections, libraries which is markedly different from African academic. Mobile devices have proved to be convenient and practical in terms of mobility and ease of access to information anywhere, at any time. .(Akeriwa, Penzhorn, and Holmner, 2014). Academic library in the developing nation needs to take the initiative to reform ICT and its application, especially in Nigeria to bridge the growing digital divide, The target of Nigerian universities should be to establish an institutional framework to fit into this new social end economic context because Nigerian universities have immense opportunities to succeed with mobile implementation in libraries, as mobile devices are fast becoming users' first choice of access. Although the basic use of mobile technology has already been established like SMS service, mobile OPAC in some Nigerian Universities, the benefits of further improving and implementing new mobile technologies amongst Nigerian academic libraries need to be explored quickly and efforts should be made to address the challenges. The following are suggested as a way forward

- Improve ICTs such as the internet, intranet, hardware, and software as well as internet bandwidth.
- A change of attitude by library professionals towards incorporating mobile services in the library: the increasing proliferation of mobile technologies means academic librarians of developing countries such as Nigeria most develop greater interest in creating mobile library service applications, creating mobile versions of their university traditional websites (Akpokodge and Lawal, 2015).
- Alternate source of power supply should be provided by the library to be able to power up the ICTs, this will forestall the problem of power outage since power Holding company of Nigeria (PHCN) is not reliable with power supply.
- Library staff training on mobile technology-based library services. Staff needs to be trained and developed professionally with new skills. This will reduce technophobia as Librarians will acquire diverse skills, knowledge and abilities concerning the use of ICT tools. It is required of staff of academic libraries to have well-built competencies in the provision of mobile technology-based library services. (Acheampong, 2019).
- Library management must make a very convincing case to the university management for the adoption of the technology; ensures the provision of funds to purchase ICT facilities and prior consultation with stakeholders while hatching the plan of mobile technology services delivery. This was about seeking to engage the key players to let them know what the library intends to do and possibly put up the framework for the implementation.(Acheampong, 2019).


Acheampong, E.(2019). Adoption and Implementation of Mobile Technology­Based Library Services in Ghanaian Academic Libraries (Doctoral dissertation, University of Ghana).

Akeriwa, M., Penzhorn, C., & Holmner, M. (2015). Using mobile technologies for social media-based library services at the University of Development Studies Library, Ghana. Information Development, 31 (3), 284-293

Akpokodje, V., & Lawal, V. (2014). A Review of Literature on Using Mobile Technologies to Change the Nature of University Library Service Delivery.

Haliso, Y. (2011). Factors affecting information and communication technologies (ICTs) use by academic librarians in Southwestern Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice. (e-journal). Retrieved from hilprac

Iqbal, S., & Qureshi, I. A. (2012). M-learning adoption: A perspective from a developing country. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13 (3), 147-164. Retrieved from

Shonhe, L. (2017). A Literature Review of Information Dissemination Techniques in the 21st Century Era. Library P hilosophy and Practice (e­journal), 1731.


Mobile web

Academic Libraries


AirPac (Innovative Interfaces)



Boopsie for Libraries


Chat Messengers:

Circulation service


distance learning



Electronic library service



Facial Recognition

Google Books

History: Maps of the World

ICT infrastructure


ile Databases

Instant Messaging

iPod/Mp3 players




Library Navigation

Library services

Location Awareness

Low bandwidth

Messaging Service (SMS) reference service

Mobile Audio Tour

Mobile Augmented Reality

Mobile Collection

Mobile Database

Mobile Library Application

Mobile OPAC

mobile phones

Mobile Printing


National Libraries

Optical Character Recognition

Privacy and Security

Proquest database

Public Libraries

QR Codes

Readcube 3


Serial Service



Social media service

Special Libraries






Excerpt out of 57 pages


Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Academic based Library Services
Application, Challenges and Prospects
University of Delhi
Library and Information Science
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
academic, application, challenges, library, mobile, nigerian, prospects, services, technologies
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Mr Abdullahi Bala Shehu (Author)Innocent Idakwo Sunday (Author), 2020, Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Academic based Library Services, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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