Ready Text Reference

Cell Phone

In a recent Lifehacker article, it was made known that the SMS service GoLive! was making it easier to search Wikipedia via a simple text message. Users simply:

Text the words about <your search term> to short code 23907 and you’ll get back a link to a mobile-friendly, shortened Wikipedia page

Though the service charges you for web browsing on your cell, unlike other services which return a handy text message answer, there is something to be said for a system such as this in the realm of ready reference. What if we could link up Encyclopedia Britannica or the OED as a library service for text messaging. In earlier post I had mentioned the possibility of the I-Phone as a collection browsing tool, but what if our OPAC’s came ready made with a “light” mobile driven interface.

I must admit that I am not necessarily longing for the limited interface provided on most mobile devices, but another article made me see uses for cell phones on another level.  Through the use of Bluetooth technology, a device detection app called Proximity, and a bit of scripting; it is possible to command your computer to perform certain actions upon your arrival and departure.  For the library setting I could envision your library cell phone controlling the access to your terminal, setting you to away for your IM and Chat reference services, opening your email client, and maybe even keeping track of your departure for a meeting in your calendar.

Perhaps all this gadgetry and tinkiering really isn’t going to save us time or revolutionize library service, but sometimes knowing that you command the computer with nothing more than your mere presence; well it’s pretty sweet.

  1. 08/07/2007 at 8:37 pm

    Hi John, I work for GoLive! Mobile and thought I’d drop my two cents…thanks for the kind words on our mobile Wikipedia app. As you mentioned, right now the majority of mobile search apps return a SMS response, as opposed to our demo which returns a link to a dynamically generated mobile web site. Currently most of these use Google SMS-style (GOOGL), automated responses. Another group of them, which are up and coming, and in my opinion far more useful, are so called ‘human-assisted’ search queries via SMS. is an example of this…currently it’s web-based only but on their site it says they will be launching the SMS component shortly. Chacha’s service will apparently cost $.99 per query via Premium SMS billing, however some free versions of this type of service should also crop up. To me, human assistance is the killer app because, many times when you text GOOGL etc you get omputer generated results that aren’t exactly what you want…Our mobile Wikipedia service suffers the same problem…certain queries just won’t return what you want.

    Debbie Cranes
    GoLive! Mobile, LLC

  2. jennypants
    12/15/2007 at 8:09 pm

    Idetrorce is a bot. It is posting the phrase “very interesting, but I don’t agree with you” in blogs all over the place.

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