Last week I attended an excellent in-house staff training at UCB led by Fleur Helsingor of the Kresge Engineering Library on what it takes to make an existing website mobile-friendly using HTML, XHTML, and CSS. This is a topic on the minds of many, and Fleur deftly covers the range of issues involved in this PDF guide:

“A few years ago, if you wanted to make your website accessible to visitors with cell phones, handheld computers, and other mobile devices, you had to create a separate website for them using a special markup language such as the Wireless Markup Language (WML) instead of HTML. There’s no need to do that now — modern mobile device browsers can handle conventional web pages coded in Extensible HTML (XHTML). You can use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to present your existing website’s content in a mobile friendly way.”

I highly recommend taking a look at Fleur’s guide if you are considering making your library (or any other) site readable by mobile devices. An excellent point Fleur makes is that many of the conventions that make mobile sites readable by mobile browsers (code consistency, XHTML) are also best practices in web accessibility.

For more recent activity on mobile devices and libraries, take a look at the Summer of Mobile Library Services post at the TechSource blog, which includes information on the second m-Libraries conference happening currently in Vancouver, BC, and the upcoming online Handheld Librarian conference in late July. Also, the University of Cambridge survey-based m-Libraries: Information use on the move report provides interesting findings on mobile library/information use in the UK.

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