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Leveraging apps for research and learning: a survey of Canadian academic libraries

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

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to assess the response of Canadian academic libraries to the rapid proliferation of mobile application (apps), many of which are useful for research, teaching, and learning.


A survey was conducted to identify existing initiatives that address the use of mobile apps to facilitate research, teaching, and learning at the libraries of the 97 member institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Based on this survey, this paper describes how apps are promoted, curated, organized, and described by today’s academic libraries. A review of the literature places this survey in its broader context.


In total, 37 per cent of AUCC member libraries include links to mobile apps in their web site. Larger, research-intensive universities, tend to leverage apps more frequently than smaller institutions. Examples of how academic libraries are promoting apps provide insight into how academic librarians are responding to the proliferation of mobile technology.

Practical implications

The results of this survey highlight trends with regard to this emerging service opportunity, help to establish current best practices in the response of academic libraries to the emergence of mobile apps, and identify areas for potential future development.


This is the first study of its kind to explore and describe how third-party apps are used and promoted within an academic library context.



Canuel, R. and Crichton, C. (2015), "Leveraging apps for research and learning: a survey of Canadian academic libraries", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 2-14.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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