The WorldCat mobile pilot has been launched and is compatible with the following phones and mobile operating systems:
- Windows Mobile 5.0
- Palm OS 5.4 or later
- MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.1 Java
Unlike the iPhone compatible WorldCat Website, this is a mobile application designed in partnership with Boopsie. Mobile users can search for library materials by entering terms for author, title, or keyword. By setting your location by zip code, WorldCat will direct you to the closest libraries that have the materials you want. The interface works with your mobile device’s mapping software to show you how to get to the library of your choice or it can initiate a phone call to the library for you.
I like the item display much better on the pilot application than on the mobile Worldcat site and search results are shown in convenient categories, for example, “sound recording” and “visual material”. On the mobile Website you have to choose one local library at a time to search for your item but the application, as mentioned above, automatically displays all of the nearest libraries that offer the item you want once you have set your zip code. On the downside, once I selected an item record to view, I was frustrated that the back button did not allow me to go back one page to the list of items from my search but instead took me back to the homepage where I had to enter my search term(s) again.
The pilot application had the option to email information on an item or to make that quick call to the library and I was hoping for these same features on the mobile application but they have not been included. And although the mobile Website offers some advanced search features, these are missing from the pilot application which surprised me. One last thing that I will mention is the “Menu” on the pilot application. Personally, I just do not like it, especially the “All Channels” button with a menu for various commercial sites and guides—this is not the reason that people go to WorldCat. Overall though, WorldCat’s new mobile pilot offers a better user interface and display than the mobile site and you will find it to be more like the WorldCat that you access on your computer.