JCDL Workshop on Mobility, Devices and Digital Libraries

This workshop will provide a forum to study and discuss the implications of both human mobility and mobile and ubiquitous devices for digital library research. The organisers represent different research communities, each of which would have a useful contribution to the workshop. The event itself will bring together an emerging community of interest and provide a springboard to encourage innovative mobile DL research.


Mobile devices are increasingly important parts of the digital environment. For digital libraries the impacts are varied and widespread: handheld computers used as document readers; lectures downloaded to MP3 players and iPods; book covers photographed to capture details of needed documents; in South Africa mobile phones are commonplace whilst desktop computers are rare; emerging reading devices such as the paper display Sony Reader and note-taking support on digital paper provide new media for digital text. Widespread wireless access means that library subscribers increasingly require access from off-site, unpredictable locations whilst roaming, creating challenges for authentication and rights management etc.

Despite the widespread availability of PDAs, iPods, e-Book readers, mobile phones and other mobile devices, there has been relatively little public research on the use of mobile technology in digital libraries. Where DL interaction has been studied on mobile devices there have been interesting insights into the usability and design of both the mobile devices themselves and DL interfaces. The different processing power, displays and networking speed of mobile devices when compared to desktop computers means that standard DL architectures and protocols need to be significantly re-engineered.

Similarly, the mobility of library users has seldom been addressed – yet there are growing problems with providing consistent access to material when readers move from one network to another. The implicit role of location and mobile technology in the task context also provides an opportunity for practical yet intellectually stimulating research.

Finally, the use of a mobile device to access documents can change the way technology is perceived and handled. As Buxton (1995) has highlighted moving away from: “Fitting the square peg of the breadth of real needs and applications into the round hole of conventional designs”. These new design possibilities mean the potential to increase the impact of digital libraries across user groups. Such changes lead not only to new display and input interactions, but also new issues of organisational usability, trust and security of both personal data and library content. Cathy Marshall has identified these types of changes in her reading and annotation research. This has also been noted in mobile phone user studies where ‘personal’ phones are socially exploited to encourage discussion or interaction between people.

Topics of Interest

Papers and position papers are invited on the following topics:

Submissions on similar, related topics are also welcomed.


Digital library developers, providers of DL services, computer and information science researchers with an interest in the usefulness, effectiveness, usability of or development of mobile services or devices in a library context. Through this workshop we hope to establish a network of those working with or interested in mobile digital libraries.

Workshop Format

Attendees wishing to give a full presentation will be expected to submit a four page paper in ACM conference format for review. Those with provisional and early work and wanting to give a short presentation should submit a two page ACM format paper for review. Submissions should be emailed to George Buchanan (g.r.buchanan@swansea.ac.uk) on or before the 14th May 2007.

Full presentations and position papers will be reviewed for inclusion in the workshop proceedings. The committee will make a selection of up to 8 papers for presentation at the workshop. Position papers are not mandatory for attendance at the workshop, but are encouraged by all participants.

Ample time will be set aside for discussion, considering the relative novelty of the field. Presentations will generally be of 20 minutes for full presentations, with five minute presentations for position papers.

The workshop proceedings will be distributed in print during the workshop and electronically via the workshop website. A journal special edition based on the same theme is in preparation, and participants will be encouraged to submit extended versions of their contributions.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: 14th May 2007

Acceptance Notification: 21st May 2007

Final Versions: 28th May 2007

Workshop: 22nd June 2007


George Buchanan, Swansea University

George Buchanan is an established researcher in both the fields of digital library and mobile usability. He has created several systems that deliver DL features to mobile devices that have been field tested in the U.K., New Zealand and South Africa.

Matt Jones, University of Wales, Swansea

Matt Jones has recently returned from New Zealand (where he worked with the New Zealand Digital Library) to help establish the Future Interaction Technology Lab at Swansea University, UK. He has been actively involved in mobile research for 10 years, is an editor of the International Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing and is the co-author of Mobile Interaction Design (Jones & Marsden, 2006; John Wiley & Sons).

Programme Committee (to date):

Anne Adams, Open University, United Kingdom

David Bainbridge, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Cathy Marshall, Microsoft Research, United States

Stefano Mizzaro, University of Udine, Italy