m-Libraries Conference 2009, Second International m-libraries Conference

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

The library on the phone: assessing the impact of m-phone access at UNISA library

Buhle Mbambo-Thata

Last modified: 2009-07-06


The University of South Africa (UNISA) Library implemented AIRPAC module of the INNOPAC Millennium library system in 2008.  Through that module, the library website was configured for handheld devices.  After a careful implementation process, that included wide consultation, several layers of tests and marketing, the full roll out of the service was set for 2009.  Usage of this technology fitted well with the University's view to reach students wherever they are.  Furthermore, as the largest distance education library in Africa, UNISA library has a client base of over 250 000 students.  It is, therefore, imperative that a variety of methods are used to reach its diverse client base.  It is, in particular, critical to use tools that remain relevant and affordable to younger generations.


This paper discusses how the UNISA library implemented the usage of mobile phones to deliver library service to distance learning students.  The paper outlines a careful and cautious approach to the implementation of Airpac, a process that was pioneering work in Sub-Sahara.  The paper discusses the impact of mobile delivery of such services as SMS notices, OPAC, database search and retrieval of articles.  It discusses the impact on staff within the library, the service processes and the users.  The paper is based on survey of students and staff on the impact of the first six months of the service implementation.  It outlines lessons learnt and highlights possible improvements to the service.

Full Text: PPT