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SMS‐based content alert system: a case with Bundelkhand University Library, Jhansi

Sridevi Jetty (Central Library, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India)
John Paul Anbu K. (University of Swaziland Libraries, Matsapha, Swaziland)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 4 January 2013




Short Message Service (SMS) is an application that is widely used by all types of mobile telephone users. Integration of these short messages for marketing different products and services has become a common practice in e‐commerce. This study aims to look at how SMS‐based mobile alerts can be effectively implemented in libraries for successfully marketing the library services and providing value‐added services. This study seeks to follow‐up an original pilot project conducted by the University of Swaziland and Emerald Group Publishing on SMS‐based alert services for a smaller group of users on Emerald's Intouch platform. In this new study the authors aim to try the same project with a combination of multiple databases and a heterogeneous user groups on an independent platform.


With the experiences gained from the UNISWA‐Emerald pilot project on SMS alerts a similar project with a wider scope was attempted at Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India, where an attempt was made to see whether a similar content alert system, based on the prototype suggested in the pilot project, can be effectively implemented using the same technology on an independent platform with a semi‐automated system compared to the manual system of the pilot. The methodology, findings, data and the experience gained during the pilot project as well as the follow‐up project are predominantly used in this paper.


This study confirms that the prototype suggested in the pilot project can be implemented on an independent platform with multiple databases by using the same parameters. It proves that a successful SMS‐based alert service similar to a SDI service can be implemented using the SMS messaging and have the potential to successfully market library services to its patrons.

Research limitations/implications

This project is a second in the sequence where the authors have tried a heterogeneous user group and mobile alerts consists of the different databases subscribed to by the university library. The alerts were dependent on the effective e‐mail‐based alerts provided by the publishers. The keywords used were generalized and the users provided the keyword based on their personal needs. The major limitation was the manual transmission of the SMS, which needs to be automated with a script. Another limitation was the maximum size of SMS texts. Whenever the texts exceeded 140 characters, only hyperlinks were sent with the actual content being kept as a webpage in the server.

Practical implications

This project can be implemented as it is since it generalizes the process of implementing a result‐oriented SMS‐based alert service.


This study presents a method for implementing an SMS‐based alert service in libraries. With the experiences gained in a series of practical environments the authors have attempted to document the practical experience, which can be implemented in its present form. With mobile alerts gaining prominence in library services and very little material are available on SMS‐based alert services in libraries this may serve as an important milestone in integrating such a service into the future integrated library services.



Jetty, S. and Paul Anbu K., J. (2013), "SMS‐based content alert system: a case with Bundelkhand University Library, Jhansi", New Library World, Vol. 114 No. 1/2, pp. 20-31.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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