The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a usability study of information search on mobile devices, seeking to understand mobile computing best practice in the design of library services.
Three second‐year undergraduate students took part in this semester long study. They are loaned iPods with a Wikipedia copy to use as desired. Usability data are drawn from search logs recording titles of the articles searched and an internet‐based survey completed by students.
Students characterize the nature of information searched for on the Wikipedia iPods as recreational. Students did not utilize the iPods for academic research. Search logs show students viewed articles primarily about objects.
The results of this paper do not show generalized principles of mobile search. More data collected from additional sets of users are needed in order to articulate principles of mobile search.
If it is the case that students will primarily make use of mobile computing for recreational or leisurely purposes then library services on mobile computing platforms must be designed accordingly.
The paper presents methods for the study of information search though mobile computing and poses questions resulting from this paper that require further study.
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