Essential Research Mobile Apps for Librarians

by Stephanie Noell
previously published 11/3/2014

Essential Research Mobile Apps for Librarians

stephanienoellWith so many people using their phones and tablets for everything, it is important for all of us to be aware of the mobile applications for research resources. Many of the research databases that libraries subscribes to have free mobile applications for their resources. These apps allow users to access many, if not all, of the same resources that they can access via the library’s website. It does not matter if a library serves the general public, a university community, or a corporate community, there are free apps for many of their research databases and this article will cover just a few of them. As with many apps, users must create an account with each company so that they can access their saved content on the app from wherever they are.

Perhaps the most inclusive free mobile app is the app for EBSCOhost. EBSCOhost provides users with access to information on millions of articles in hundreds of databases (many of which are library staples). These databases cover everything from history to english, from medical best practices to environmental issues. No matter what your user’s research need, this mobile app will have access to a databases with some relevant resources! With this app, users will be able to search on their phones or tablets for peer-reviewed articles, previously saved searches, and more.

For many libraries and archives, users come in looking for genealogical resources. Lucky for them, offers its own app. The app allows users to view family trees that they have created, upload content (which they can create by taking a photo of essential documents and photos using their phone’s camera) and search the resources on the site for more information. So, as users travel and pick up new resources for their genealogical research, Ancestry can come with them and document everything that they find. It’s a pretty sweet deal!

In cases where users are looking for music resources, Naxos Music Library’s mobile app might be of interest. As the largest classical music library, Naxos offers millions of songs from thousands of albums for your listening pleasure and needs. If you are looking for more romantic music or music for exercise, Naxos has thematic compilations that are right up your alley! There are even a number of contemporary, non-classical artists for those who might enjoy electropop or classic rock artists. For those interested, Naxos is available on iPhone and Android devices (the latter of which is being updated next month)!

For users who are working on papers, book, articles, and anything else that requires them to track their research, there are numerous bibliographic management products that offer accompanying mobile applications. Some of the most popular library products include RefWorks and NoodleTools. Both of these applications allow users to save bibliographic information for items using several citation styles. While NoodleTools only allows users to save information in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, RefWorks covers those style guides as well as hundreds of others. Users should still double-check their citations before considering their works complete, but these apps will certainly help them on their way.

While the above apps are currently available, many databases have apps on the way, too. The most notable mobile app to look forward to is the Alexander Street Press app. Alexander Street Press offers more than 100 databases filled to the brim with exclusive content, including the incredibly useful American History in Video database, which allows users to witness historic American events as they are captured on film in over 1260 titles. These videos can be educational for casual users and researchers alike, so we should all be on the lookout for this mobile app next year. To tide you over until then, check your library’s databases to see if they, too, have created mobile apps to aid users in their research.

Stephanie Noell is a Special Collections Librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. She earned her BA in Philosophy from the University of West Florida and her MA in Philosophy and MSLIS from the University of North Texas. In her spare time, she collects comic books, trains for roller derby, and supports the arts in as many ways as possible.