In the design and research methodology, we employed the questionnaire survey to examine how students used apps and the Web on mobile devices in finding information for the purpose of academic learning, social networking, and collaborative learning.
Our survey results showed that while the HKDI students were all smartphone owners and active users of such mobile communication devices, only a minority of them “frequently” use these mobile devices for formal learning purposes. Students demonstrated a keen preference to use search engines, social communications, and other diverse use of smartphones. Except for research and image/audio-visual needs, the majority of the needs and usage behaviour of these students is similar to mainstream university students. Therefore, our results recommends greater opportunities for libraries to develop services and facilities that could better fulfill students’ information needs, and to improve the outreach outside the library.
So why is this research of value to the library and information science literature? This is probably the first study of its kind to explore how art and design students use smartphones for learning needs. In particular, with recent capability of smartphones and mobile Internet speeds being comparable to desktops, it is vital to re-examine the rapidly changing environment and their effects on the needs of the library's users. I encourage you to take a read and explore the discussion and data from our research and see if it corroborates with your particular library context. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any comments, feedback, or question to share with us.