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Canadian academic libraries and the mobile web

Robin Canuel (Humanities and Social Sciences Library, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Chad Crichton (University of Toronto Scarborough Library, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 29 March 2011



The purpose of this paper is to assess how Canadian academic libraries have responded to the rapidly evolving mobile environment and to identify gaps in the services provided, while suggesting areas for future development.


The paper conducted an examination of the mobile content and services provided by the libraries of the member institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Based on this examination, the paper describes the current state of mobile librarianship in Canadian academic libraries. A review of the literature places the investigation in its broader context.


Only 14 percent of AUCC libraries currently advertise some type of mobile web presence, with mobile web sites being prevalent over downloadable apps. Examples of content and services are highlighted to illustrate current trends and to provide insight into future directions for developing mobile services.

Practical implications

This study raises awareness of the importance of mobile technology for academic libraries and the need to address the lack of mobile content and services provided by most Canadian post‐secondary institutions. The paper also identifies best practices exhibited by the surveyed libraries.


This is the first exploration of this type into how academic libraries in Canada have responded to the mobile environment. The value of this research is in helping libraries identify and address shortcomings in the mobile content and services they provide, and in highlighting efforts by libraries to address their users' needs in this area.



Canuel, R. and Crichton, C. (2011), "Canadian academic libraries and the mobile web", New Library World, Vol. 112 No. 3/4, pp. 107-120.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited