Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day in a life of librarian - My week

Curious about in academic librarianship in Singapore as a career? Try So you want to be a academic librarian in Singapore?

Okay, I foolishly agreed to do this  Library Day in the Life Project which is basically a project where librarians agree to blog or Tweet about their work for a day or a week.

Why do this? Well I suppose this would help people who always wonder what librarians do, or for people who are thinking of joining the profession in Singapore. Do note that this is just one librarian's experience in one academic library in Singapore. (Ivan Chew over at the Rambling Librarian blog has covered the Public Librarian side for years)

If there is anything I've discovered about librarianship, it's this - Every librarian's job is different, often radically different, even if both are in the same institution or even at the same department (I'm with the Information Services department at Central Library). Depending on your inclination, talents or position, you can be doing very different things, or at least have a different mix of duties. This is one of the things I love about librarianship.

Monday  25/1/2010

Started the week by going for half day course "Making the best out of 2010". I'm not a big fan of such courses, I would rather be back doing library work really. But during a break, I did manage to catch up with a colleague and she told me about the work she was doing on environmental scanning of ebooks. I recommended the excellent No Shelf required blog as well as the mobile libraries blog.

After lunch, I met a honours year student to help with her honours thesis. Her topic was a bit theoretical, and during my earlier prepartion I didn't manage to find much. However I was able to find her the full text of an article she wanted but couldn't find.

I was interrupted mid-way through by a phone call from yet another honors year student, requesting a information advisory session, he needed help finding statistics on Singapore. I suggested he email me with more details first.

I returned to the student and also directed her to the Phd thesis from which the paper she was interested derived as well as showing her the typical tricks like how to find the full-text article from a citation (many pitfalls!), proxy bookmarklet, use of document delivery etc.

A colleague of mine who was observing (he was supposed to learn from me??) also chimed in with some interesting comments. After the student left, I briefed my colleague about some of the things I have being doing from the handling of the Twitter account, to the analysis I did last year on LibQual+ as well as usage reports from our web servers. Also made him aware we were evaluating LibGuides and LibAnswers. He updated me about the lean sigma project he was working on, we had a little discussion about some basic statistic issues, including concepts such as the Central Limit Theorem.

I headed home and after dinner, I answered a round of emails including an email  from the student who called earlier asking where to find statistics about Singapore. I also decided to see if  I could update my post about the use of Zbar as a barcode scanner for Iphones . In that post, I figured out one could scan barcodes with one's Iphone and instantly do a search in any library catalogue (including ours , NLB etc). But the search that was used was the not the mobile version of our catalogue.

I quickly discovered our mobile catalogue was an old version which did not support Iphones. Also found there was a newer version that did support it, will check with our IT department to see if I can get it up some time. 

I accidentally lost the full version of the rest of the week, so this is from data pierced together from looking at my online calender and emails sent out. Sorry!

Tuesday  26/1/2010

  • Attended tutorial by colleague on use of Factiva for issues tracking
  • Attended meeting with research staff from a newly formed institute to discuss how we can provide research support - this is probably most interesting aspect of my work this week but I don't feel at liberty to reveal more. Really interesting work here
  • Followed up with student from advisory session on Monday through email
  • Continued to work on evaluation report

Wednesday  27/1/2010

  • Manned information desk in the morning  
  • Spent some time thinking about the use of bibliometrics in a project I'm involved in
  • Attended Departments strategic planning meeting to discuss tasks for 2010
  • Ad-hoc meeting to discuss the number of EndNote training sessions to be held
  • Provided some support for colleague asking about wiki
  • Finished reading paper on SNIP (Source normalized Impact paper) - new feature added by Scopus

Thursday  28/1/2010

  • Discussed new features of Encore upgrade + Scopus with colleague
  • Manned reception desk in the afternoon - Many unusual queries.
  • Discovered now provides full-text of Straits Times
  • Colleague consulted me about functional specs about mobile friendly site of upcoming portal review
  • Discussed with colleague aspects of the upcoming portal review , my portion involves somehow incorporating widgets similar to Netvibes, Igoogle (not quite sure)
  • Trying to figure out if I should attend a course "Writing for social media" by @ramblinglibrarian probably the most famous librarian in Singapore (if a librarian could ever be said to be famous!), but the course fee is quite costly.

 Friday  29/1/2010

  • May have to revisit some of the analysis and work I did last year with LibQual+
  • Showed a colleague how to use Tungle, to schedule team meetings
  • Tweeted about a maintenance issue with one of our online standards
  • Attended sharing session on proposed changes in the performance management system 
  • Discussed with a colleague the program for the upcoming workshop I will be doing for graduate students (not discipline specific)
  • Continued to evaluate and write report on LibGuides.

So there you have it. A day in the life of a inexperienced librarian in one of the largest academic libraries in Singapore.










Thursday, January 21, 2010

Location based services/pages your library should claim or monitor

Location based apps and services are getting a lot of buzz these days. Users can create webpages for each location, and usually they can check in to indicate to friends their location,earn points to gain "Mayorship" and/or post reviews and tips. In many cases, these services provide legitimate owners of these locations to "claim" the location.

Here are a few sites with such services that you should claim or monitor to ensure the information listed is correct and to monitor comments or even respond to them.

1. Librarything Local

What is it?

A LibraryThing initiative, this lists libraries and bookstores around the world. Users can add events, add their favourite book stores etc. It aims to be "become the web's best, most complete source for finding bookstores and library—and for the events they throw".

How to claim

"To claim a venue you must have an active LibraryThing account and convince us you're legit. An email from an official-sounding address is more than sufficient. Send emails to with the venue number or link along with your user name." 

Why claim?

Unlike the other services in the list, it does not allow users to add comments, though anyone can add events. Recently Librarything released  the Local Books iPhone app. This free app which is currently featured in the appstore has built in local features allowing users to find the closest bookstores and libraries that are listed in Librarything Local and access information about the place (call the phone number listed etc). This has potential to be a poor man's mobile site for libraries, unfortunately it does not allow users to search the catalogue. Though LibraryThing can easily add this but I wouldn't hold my breath as it would compete with the newly launched Library Anywhere.

2. Google maps+Google places

What is it?
You must leave in a cave not to have heard of Google maps . What you have not heard is that Googlemaps, they are now linked to the new Google places . Essentially each location on Google maps has a separate information page (click on "more information" on Googlemaps)
You can add, contact information, photos, Youtube video, opening hours, add events etc. Anyone can also add reviews.

In some ways this is an improvement on the Libraries on Google Profile idea, I blogged about last year.

Once you have claimed the location, you can even go the "local business center" service in your local profile and look at the dashboard to see how many times the pages was requested. You can add coupons to your Google map listing which customers can print out and use. Any libraries tried this?

How to claim

There are two ways to claim, but the easiest is probably via phone. Set up the contact number and request authentication. Enter the code given and you claim the site! 

Why claim?

This is Google maps, the most popular maps application in the world, surely it pays to claim the information page linked to it to ensure information is accurate, being aware of the reviews posted there is also important obviously.

3. Yelp

What is it?

I covered this last year here and I wrote that it is an "online review directories (location based) that list businesses such as restaurants and users are encouraged to comment and rate such services." Do note that Yelp is available only for selected cities in the US and the UK.

Since then Yelp has started to add checkins similar to services like FourSquare

How to claim

Similar to google places, you verify you are the owner via phone.

Why claim?

Many libraries are already listed on Yelp with many reviews , see this and also listen to this interview.

4. Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt,  Brightkite etc

I've covered, the use of Foursquare by libraries.

As far as I know these location based services don't allow businesses to claim locations yet, still in the case of  Foursquare, users can post comments and tips, so it's still worth monitoring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Library IPhone apps - a short list

This post has being superceded by this updated list 

I was listening to @griffey and other top North American Librarians at
the ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting, via Ustream and Jason mentioned he knew about 3 library IPhone apps and wondered if anyone knew of more.

A month ago, I happened to be curious about this, so while on a long bus ride, I did a search on IPhone appstore for keywords library, libraries, university. The last was based on the idea that university iphone apps would have library functionality as well.

Here's the list I have

1. MLNlibrary
3. WorldCat
5. UH Library
6. HK libraries (searches consortium of HongKong Libraries
7. Library Navigator (Tokyo) (similar to above but for Tokyo Libraries including National Diet Library)
8. Dukemobile (Part of University IPhone app)
9. iUsask (Part of University IPhone app)
10. Northwestern (Part of University IPhone app)

Somewhat different is NC State "Wolf Walk" (not Catalogue related)
There should be more I'm sure.

BTW anyone know how to directly link to IPhone store for specific apps?

I should probably add these to the Library success wiki page . While I'm at it, someone should add pages for library related IPhone apps (and Android versions), such as barcode scanners (including QRcode scanners) like ZBar and Redlaser (also Google goggles type apps like Snaptell) , mobile apps that allow custom searches likeSpeedy Search, TheOracle , Database related apps like SSRN app, PubMed On Tap Lite or misc apps like CardStar, 
or Librarything's Local Books

Of course, Jason's point if I remember correctly was that mobile apps are doomed with the coming of HTML5, so this might be moot? 

Most of the apps above have very basic functionality anyway, basically just search and place hold, renew, check accounts etc. As the Krafty Librarian notes, you get bigger bang for buck and support more phones by creating a mobile friendly site!

The other option would be to just go for the newly announced "Library Anywhere" from LibraryThing which gives you a mobile app of your catalogue.

I also noticed SirsiDynix's BookMyne Iphone app.

"The free application locates nearby libraries and allows users to search library catalogs for available materials. Users registered with a library can also place and cancel holds at their library using their iPhone." (announcement)

One interesting to note is that while there are quite a few University Iphone apps out there (see below for a sample), I've found only 3, who bother to include library functionality, I wonder why?

If you can include Athletics (iStandford, m.UW etc), surely you can include library?

PS Okay I know I tweeted yesterday, I wouldn't do a Iphone blog post after 3 in succession, but what can I say, all the action is in mobile libraries today!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are your patrons using CardStar iphone app as their library card?

While doing research for another blog post, I stumbled upon this amazing Iphone application (they promise support for other mobile platform soon) called CardStar via Oak Park Library. I tweeted about it, and it seems to have gotten a bit of a reaction from the librarain community.

But what does CardStar do?

"Use CardStar to store your membership card information for numerous national and regional merchants (including CVS, Blockbuster, PetSmart and more). And when needed, effortlessly access your cards on-the-fly with a single touch from the CardStar home screen."

CardStar keeps an extensive list of merchants, including "hundreds of companies in nineteen categories - just enter your membership number and you're ready to go!"

Basically it generates a barcode, and you can use that in place of your card. Why carry lots of cards, when you can use your Iphone to store the barcodes? That's the idea anyway.

The detailed steps are as follows. First pick a category. In our case "library"

Then  pick the "company"

Enter the membership number

and it will generate a barcode on your iphone, which can be scanned like a regular barcode on a card.

While users can officially request CardStar to add "merchants" that are not listed,advanced users can also try to create the barcode themselves by choosing other libraries and selecting the correct code (by trial and error or some research).

What is surprising is that  as I blog this, CardStar lists over 60 libraries, from Algonoquin Library to Worcester Library, almost all I think are North Amercian public libraries including Library of Congress and one UK library Surrey Libraries. (I have my suspicions why this is so)

It's unclear how many libraries in the list of  CardStar "merchants" , actually know that they are on the list. One would think CardStar would have informed the libraries that they were being added, but sampling a few libraries I was not able to find any mention on their webpages, though this might simply mean they know about it but didn't bother to publicise it .

In fact besides Oak Park Library and Plainville Library both of whom officially support CardStar by listing instructions on their webpages on how to add their codes to CardStar (though I can't help but notice the irony that they are not listed as supported merchants!) , I was not able to find any mention of this on any other library page so far.

In fact the application seems to have being around since early 2009, and the only discussion or mention I could find from librarians is here and here  (though it seems subsequent to my Tweet, Laskaris and the thecorkboard seems to be testing it and getting it working for their respective libraries)

I did a quick look around and noticed that while there was quite a few comments by users trying to use CardStar with their library card on pretty much every blog entry on CardStar,  this seems to have mostly gone under the radar in the library circles?

It's unclear if this will work for all libraries, depending on the type of system, self-check machines may or may not work, but I think it's critical that librarians figure out whether it works on their systems, and if it does what is their policy with regards to using this.

If not you will get unprepared reactions such as this

or this

Personally I don't see any reason not to allow this, though understandably, if you are at the counter and you are suddenly approached by a user, trying to use a barcode displayed on his phone, your first unprepared reaction would be "no way, this is legal".

That's why it's important to be ready.

Remember, even if your library isn't currently listed as a supported merchant, it is possible a user can still use the advanced options to try to get it to work, so it is important to be prepared.

Is your library already listed in CardStar ? Were you aware of it? If a user approached you trying to use CardStar would you allow it? Why or Why not?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to check your library catalogue by using your IPhone as a free barcode scanner - ZBar & RedLaser

I tweeted the following on a whim.

Google Goggles if you are not aware is an android app (will be ported to other platforms), that allows you snap photos, and it then uses some form of intelligent image recognition system to figure out what the picture is about and pull out relevant information. It  works great for recognition of  book covers , though it currently only allows you to  use that information to search google books etc. Would be a nice hack if someone could get it to search any arbitrary library catalogue ,so users can go to a book store, snap the book cover and instantly check if the book is available in their library.

Toby Greenwalt (@theanalogdivide) , agreed and mentioned that he used the RedLaser app  on IPhone to do what I feel is the next best thing, which is to allow users to scan barcodes, and have it check his libraries' catalogue, presumably by ISBN. 

The instructions he gave were from the blog of Redlaser , which shows you how to create a search for any search string, so you can customize it for your library catalogue.  It's really quite easy to do, you can create searches specific to your library catalogue and offer them to users, which is what WorldCat has done.

But one issue stopped me cold, the RedLaser app isn't free! Though it isn't really expensive, in the words of Toby this meant it was not for "mass consumption", since users certainly will not pay for this.

I did a cursory search to see if there were free barcode scanners that  allowed you to create your own custom searches, but didn't come up with anything

However a few hours later, I coincidently ran into ZBar.

How does it work? First click on the camera icon and take a picture of a barcode. You should position the camera until it automatically recognizes the barcode and takes a picture.

Once you have taken a picture of a barcode  it will appear, the image above shows two barcodes that have being scanned and the ISBN that was extracted.

Then click on  any of the barcodes.  In my example, the second barcode is from the excellent "Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data" by Nicole C. Engard

By default it gives you 3 possible searches to work on the extracted ISBN, google search, amazon search, Internet UPC database.

You then click "Edit" on the top right corner

In fact you see 7 possible searches, but I think only 3 show up, because searches are selectively shown based on the information in the barcode.

You can change the order of each search, delete existing ones, but of course you should add new search to do a ISBN search of your library catalogue. I create one for LINC (Library Integrated Catalogue), which is our name for our library catalogue based on  Innovative Interfaces.

I will not go into how to handle the url prefix,  if you are reading this blog most of you should know how to already (basically do a isbn search, grab the front portion of the url, less the actual search string).

This is similar to the way Redlaser handles custom urls, but isn't ideal I think as sometimes you need to specify suffixes, but I think for most library catalogues this isn't a big problem (but will be so if you are talking about databases!)

You also need to specify the barcode types that this search will apply to. I haven't really researched this (there are many types including the currently popular QR codes), so I just select the ISBN-13 option.

Once done, LINC appears as an option, I also shifted it to the top option

Click on it, and it does a ISBN search of your catalogue

So now, you can go to any bookstore, or library, scan the barcodes of several books you are interested, and then with one click check whether each book is listed in your library catalogue. This is bit easier even compared to using custom search apps like theOracle , Websearch etc

A lesser use is that you can email yourself the links (click on the bottom left icon on the barcode screen)

This is just a rough first cut,  one idea : what about doing some form of xisbn search (or search search) so one doesn't miss out paper/hardback versions or different publisher versions?

Also interestingly enough the default option as a search named "Open URL", is this for Open URL resolvers??


Given the recent Library interest in QR codes , it bears noting that ZBar handles QRcodes as well, so I suppose one could encode urls into the QRcode, and then resolve it using the OpenURL search for your library???

Hopefully someone more technically skilled than me can play with this and put it to better use. The main problem against mass adoption of this is that adding the url is still quite geeky compared to the Redlaser method. But given that it is free, it costs nothing to try ,so librarians have no excuse not to try.

It could also be improved if you could set it to automatically search the extracted info against your default search (some barcode scanners automatically look up Amazon etc) rather then forcing you to to manually do it.

Yet another hairbrained idea from me, any comments?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Accessing library catalogue & databases on your Mobile phone

In one of the earliest posts of this blog I observed that libraries faced a uphill battle getting users to come to our web portals to use our databases to search. Libraries tried to work around this problem by using toolbars, opensearch plugins, bookmarklets, smart keyword searches to enable users to search immediately from their browser without the need to visit our webpages.

In a recent post, Guus Van Den Brekel  (Digicmb) , Coordinator Electronic Services at Central Medical Library, University Medical Center Groningen, posted a very similar and excellent post entitled "How to make library users start a search : 6+ ways to search outside "native" interface"

Combining the two posts, plus an additional method (desktop widgets) we get the following methods (grouped arbitrarily by me Digicmb might not agree)

1) Opensearch plugins

2) Custom Toolbars

3) Bookmarklets

4) Smart keyword (or Address bar searching)

5) Quick Links

6) Desktop widgets

7) Search boxes on webpages or personalised pages (Igoogle, netvibes)

These methods allows users to quickly do a search of the library catalogue or database without having to visit the library webpage. An interesting question, I would like to address in this blog post is this, how would this change if the user was on a smart phone?

Right now, mobile libraries is a hot topic. Database vendors like EBSCOhost, IEEE Xplore have mobile friendly sites (stripped down web pages which are low bandwidth and designed for smaller screen sizes and interfaces of mobile phones),  and many other databases will no doubt follow.  Library websites are starting to boast the same. Some libraries have even began to offer iphone apps. Mobile libraries blog is an excellent blog that provides comprehensive coverage of library services relating to the mobile environment.

Libraries are not the only ones bullish about mobile, according to the Mobile Internet Report by Morgan Stanley , they predict that the mobile market will be at least double that of the desktop market!

It seems to me that in the rush to create mobile sites, there is a bit of the "build-it and they will come mentality". Note that even if people began surfing on mobile phones a lot more, there is no certainty that libraries will benefit proportionally from this increased usage of mobile as they don't seem to have from the expansion of internet search since 2004.

So clearly libraries face the same problem again will users come to our mobile sites?When one realize accessing webpages is even more painful on mobile phones than on desktops, there is even less incentive for users to fire up a mobile browser, and try to enter the library url into the tiny browser.

But what about trying to making their services accessible outside of their webpage? For those with sufficient technical skill, creating custom apps (e.g. Iphone apps) is an obvious solution. Examples include  MLN libraryDCPL,  Hongkong Universities' UPLA as well as WorldCat mobile,  iStanford app, Dukemobile, iUSask is clearly the way to go. One simple tap and you are in.

 Some IPhone apps created by libraries and Universities plus Speedy Search, TheOracle and WebSearch

 University of Saskatchewan IPhone app 

IStanford app  allows students to search staff directory, apply for courses, check events etc

DukeUniversity app  with similar functions

Search different Hongkong Library catalogues with UPLA

DCPL Iphone App allows you to check opening hours locations and search the catalogue

MLN IPhone app, allows you to search the catalogue, as well as check your loan account

All these apps are really exciting!  But  for me, I would love to be able to quickly search my favourite database (Scopus, WOS, JSTOR) as well as library catalogue  through my university subscription as quickly as possible. Essentially, go to a list of searches, click on the one i want, enter search and the results appear.

Since none of the above Iphone apps do this yet, I was wondering if any of the methods mentioned above for desktops can be adapted for mobile phones? I'm going to focus mostly on IPhones, because it is currently the top popular smartphone. Another reason is because I currently own one! Will occasionally mention examples for Android based phones if I happen to know about them.

1. Opensearch plugins

On desktops this is by far my favorite method for searching library resources without going to the library website . It's lightweight, and easy to create for non-programmers. I maintain possibly the largest academic library related list of searchplugins here (Library catalogue, database, scholarly search engines, OAI archives etc)

The problem here of course is that Iphone's mobile safari browser does not support this (same for the desktop version). For other smartphones, I don't believe the mobile browsers such as Opera Mini, or even Fennec (Firefox mobile) support opensearch. Anyone know of one?

I would be tempted to say that most browsers are following Chrome's lead in combining search bar with the url address bar, add the lack of space in mobile and probably opensearch isn't going to be big in mobile browsers, except for the fact that mobile Safari browser does have a searchbar!

There is an Android Opensearch appliance though that you can use to get Opensearches to work.

2. Custom toolbars 

I really doubt custom toolbars like LibX or conduit toolbars exist for mobile browsers. Even if they did, I doubt few would use it, given that screen space is at a premium. In fact, even in the case of desktop use I wonder if browser toolbars are going out of fashion, given that most modern browsers now have a searchbar and the toolbar looks unsightly.

3. Bookmarklets 

For desktops, I personally find search bookmarklets less versatile then other methods.  Still given the lack of space in browsers, and the somewhat limited processor in mobile phones, using bookmarklets seems to be a good idea, particularly since most of them work with most browser.

 Click on bookmarklet and a dialog box will appear 

The main problem is that adding bookmarklets into Safari's mobile browser is not an easy task.

Particularly older versions of Iphones did not allow cut and pasting of urls and as a result, one had to resort to troublesome methods to enable users to add urls.

Here's how the university of Michigan libraries offered their proxy bookmarklet for mobile

1. Create a special webpage with a url in front followed by the needed javascript string.

2. The user bookmarks that page.

3. Then the user edits the bookmark and removes the front portion , leaving just the javascript string.

With the ability to copy and paste in the newer Iphones, it's a simpler now but still a pain.

Still, a perhaps even easier way would be to bookmark bookmarklets in Internet explorer and then sync then in Itunes!

Overall, though, given the fact that you have to jump through hoops to create bookmarklets in Iphones, I seriously doubt most users will bother, as even creating bookmarks with copy and pasting isn't easy.

4. Smart keyword search

Smart keyword searches do not work in Safari Mobile browser (not sure if they work with Firefox mini). However there are apps like Speedy Search ($0.99), TheOracle web multi-search (free but limited to 3 custom searches)  , or WebSearch (a free jailbreak app)  that allows you to set up custom searches. Open the webapp, click the search you want from the list of search engines and enter the search in a dialog box, and you will be sent to the results page.

 WebSearch app (lower right corner of SpringBoard)

WebSearch list of custom searches (LINC is NUS's Library catalogue search)

 WebSearch JSTOR search

 TheOracle app (lower right corner of SpringBoard)

The Oracle list of custom searches (LINC is NUS's Library catalogue search)

  Speedy Search app (lower right corner of SpringBoard)

Speedysearch list of custom searches (LINC is NUS's Library catalogue search)

TheOracle and WebSearch work very similarly. To setup a search you go to the page with the search then do a search for a specific keyword specified by the webapp in the search you want (Asdf for WebSearch, addthisoracle for The Oracle), and the Iphone app will automatically recognize the search url string and ask you to name the search.

Instructions on how to add custom searches for Websearch

Adding custom searches to TheOracle

This is similar to how the firefox addon Needlesearch works. However, my limited testing shows that these two apps are far less sophisticated in the way they capture urls compared to Needlesearch . For one thing they can't handle search engines using POST methods. Also databases that require you to specify the permanent urls like OVIDSP databases, Web of Science will not work using this simplistic method. There are other issues such that it also fails to capure the search strings for Scopus etc.

The speedysearch webapp allows you to directly specify the url needed, with TEXT as placeholder for the search term. This might be a bit more troublesome to setup compared to the method above, but it's more flexible and allows you to setup more search engines. I personally email myself the url strings from my desktop, then open the email on my Iphone and copy and paste them into Speedysearch

Adding custom searches to SpeedySearch

 5. Dashboard Widgets

Windows Vista allows one to create desktop widgets . Scopus for instance offers a desktop widget and there are  other widget systems like yahoowidgets and google gadgets (for google desktops). It's possible to create simple widgets and convert between them using various universal widget systems.

It seems that Android smart phones also offer widgets.

The Quick Search Box widget looks most interesting. Perhaps something like this but searches with your library federated search? Unfortunately widgets (dashboard widgets not web widgets see next section) are not available for Iphone users, not without jailbreaking anyway. 

6. Search boxes on webpages or personalized pages (Igoogle, netvibes)

The likes of Netvibes or Igoogle don't seem to work on IPhones well. I found Plusmo, which seems to be in the same class but designed for mobile phones. You can also create simple widgets that can be added to the Plusmo screen similar to how it works in Netvibes

7. Conclusion 

I must admit none of the methods above are particularly suited for the average user, and would appeal only to the most geeky users. Add the fact that I'm a very new Iphone owner, I'm just exploring the options available. Perhaps I'm just making things overly complicated as usual, and just creating mobile friendly sites & Iphone apps is all that is needed.

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