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Interview Data

  1. UCSF
  2. UC Berkeley
  3. UC Davis
  4. Phone Interviews
  5. Interview subject stats


Staff, Clinical Fellow

  • staff, clinical fellow
  • power user, does research on mobile in medical environments
  • owns Palm, iPad, iPod Touch, laptop
  • struggles with using library resources on phone because of authentication. “I do sometimes use the library for journals, but I haven’t gotten around the VPN issue to actually be able to pull up the articles”
  • (on laptop) likes to search library resources first, but uses Google when off campus because of authentication: “At the county hospital, I can’t really access all the library resources…that’s when I tend to use things like Google”
  • texts and email are interchangeable, but likes that email can be organized: “I like email because it’s easier to store emails and look at them later.”
  • prefers PDFs for articles (rather than paper copies) because she has an organization system on laptop: “When I download from pubmed, I put them into Endnote so that when I write my paper later I don’t have to go back and do that step”


  • faculty, neurology
  • iPhone, laptop
  • mostly uses email, some apps to read documents and learn Spanish
  • has an app (Docs 2 Go) that allows him to open email attachments (Word docs and PowerPoint) on his phone
  • will access a research database (shared with collaborators) on mobile to look something up quickly
  • doesn’t text much
  • prefers to do web-based things on his laptop, but will do something quick on his phone: “I use them for very different things. If I’ve got my laptop with me, I would rarely use this [iPhone]. I would this for very quick, like looking in the dictionary or something like that. Pretty much everything web-based I would use the laptop”


  • 4th year PhD student
  • uses an iPod Touch when she has WiFi access; has a regular phone without internet
  • doesn’t have a computer at home (laptop stolen), so iPod Touch is how she accesses internet from home
  • struggles to use WiFi on campus: “I’ve tried that with every device I’ve ever had, and it’s never worked for me. And I’m not sure, I think I have to have a special login.”
  • doesn’t use many library resources
  • doesn’t want to read PDFs from PubMed on her device: “I can’t imagine reading a whole science journal on my iTouch”
  • isn’t sure if she can open PDFs on iPod Touch: “I can’t quite imagine just because usually when I’m using PubMed I’m looking for a PDF of the article, and I don’t think…can you open PDFs on it [iPod Touch]? I don’t know actually”
  • has a “super techy” friend who tells her about apps
  • would like an app that tells her about things around her (if she had an iPhone): “If I had an iphone that could gps me and could like tell things around me, I find that to be really cool”
  • texts a lot with friends, but wants official things through email (takes them more seriously)


  • archivist
  • owns a BlackBerry, laptop
  • doesn’t use apps extensively
  • uses phone mostly for personal email, some for work
  • doesn’t want to read a PDF on his phone: “try to avoid PDFs. If I really want to read it, I just read it at home”
  • finds email and texts interchangeable because they show up at the same time, but emails are available across devices: “If it’s in an email, it’s in my inbox, in my device. It’s automatically everywhere. So that might be more useful.”
  • keeps notes for himself in draft emails: “A lot of times I compose an email and save a draft and just go back to that. It might not be the most elegant solution, but it seems to work for me”
  • uses desktop at work for reference work with patrons (either local OPAC or OAC), web master work, access photographic database and create and manage entries, word processing, Archivist Toolkit (
  • Could envision doing some reference work on a mobile device if he’s away from his desktop- though it’s not practical at UCSF because when he’s away from his desk and in the stacks or storage area he’s down in the basement area and can’t get a signal anyway
  • One example of when they needed a portable internet access device was when they set up contract workers with laptops to help check catalog records for a rare books collection processing project. The workers were working down in the basement sub-level.
    • When looking at OAC, he often has two needs:Quick preliminary information of which the collection overview information is fine so that he can get the UCSF collection number and see an abstract of the collection.
    • For more in depth research, he likes to do keyword searching over the container list. Highlighting and also showing how many hits is important part of his research workflow here.

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UC Berkeley

Student 1

  • undergraduate. will be a 2nd year student next year
  • will be a psychology major
  • has an iPod Touch, an LG Rumor (smartphone), and a laptop
  • prefers to use laptop, but doesn’t always carry it with her. doesn’t always have internet at home, so sometimes uses phone
  • finds phone really difficult to use. iPod Touch is easier but doesn’t always have it with her.
  • mostly uses phone internet to check quick things, like Facebook while in class
  • uses online library journals but not on phone (doesn’t like reading more than ~10 mins on phone)
  • (on laptop) saves article URLs (bookmarks) rather than PDFs
  • “I probably wouldn’t look for something new on the iTouch just because it’s kind of a pain. But if there was something that I knew was already there and was just looking for it, I might do that. Everything is usually a little more awkward, a little slower, a little bit harder. It’s just usually just not worth in unless it’s something that I absolutely need.”
  • would prefer emails from library rather than text. doesn’t think library notifications require urgency of text message
  • “If it’s something that I might need to access while I’m on the go, or something I want to have with me, I’ll save it in a text message to myself. If it’s something I want to access at home, then I’ll email it to myself.”

Student 2

  • PhD student, just finished first year
  • specializes in plant ecology and biology
  • uses a Google Android HTC phone and a laptop
  • laptop is always first choice if it is available
  • uses the library extensively, though not through mobile phone
  • has used ILL (on laptop) , would have liked more communication to know that request was not being filled (by email)
  • uses online access to journals on laptop (Biosis, Jstor). goes to the library site first to access
  • doesn’t use her phone for reading. memory is too small, doesn’t read PDFs well
  • likes to write notes on physical paper when studying
  • texts but only for personal reasons. likes separation of work and personal
  • emails materials from her phone to her laptop
  • would really like to have mobile library catalog search on phone: “If I’m up at Mott garden and could see if there’s a book that’s available or somewhere where I can’t use wifi where Airbears won’t go so that I can have some alternate source of information access.”

Student 3

  • PhD student, School of Information
  • heavy primary source user
  • regular phone without internet, iPod, laptop
  • uses finding aids (digital and physical) from a variety of places (OAC, State Archives, National Archive), to lead her to other sources
  • frequently visits physical archives to look at physical finding aids, local databases, and physical primary source items
  • most material she needs isn’t digitized: “Most of the time when stuff is digitized, it is a nice hint of what to look at, but it’s not going to be my data set”
  • when it is digitized, doesn’t know what in collection has been digitized and why: “It’s really hard to figure out what got digitized and what didn’t”
  • knowing why an item gets selected for digitization is important to her
  • takes her own high-quality images of materials (sometimes uses OCR to scan documents). has at least 10,000 photos
  • needs a big, high-quality monitor to really look at images
  • “Using online archives, you need a really amazing monitor. The newspaper text…you have to zoom in and pan around. I dream of the day I have a nice big monitor.
  • For maps, you really need a big monitor to decipher the text and the handwriting”
  • “Knowing what stuff in that box has been digitized and what hasn’t would be really helpful to know on the fly.”
  • reference materials would be really useful on the fly, such as changing organization names, who’s who

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UC Davis

  • 3rd year undergraduate
  • sociology and pre-med
  • has an LG eNV (she thinks, doesn’t know for sure what it is called), an iPod Touch, and a laptop
  • shares a phone plan with her dad, doesn’t have data on her phone (even though her phone could have internet)
  • her mom’s phone is the same and does have internet, so she uses it a lot when she goes home
  • has a laptop but doesn’t normally carry it unless she has a paper to work on
  • prefers to use her laptop to do real work: “I prefer to use my computer for big things that I have to do, like if I have to do a paper or research.”
  • uses the iPod Touch for internet during the day, but uses computers in the library if she needs to read anything long: “Sometimes when I bring my iTouch, when I have work to do here, I go over my emails and stuff like that, or if I have to go to a webpage, I have to do that fast. Otherwise I just go to the library if I have to print anything or reading anything bigger or longer.”
  • (on laptop) uses the library catalog to search for things (took a class on researching in the library), but not on her phone or iPod Touch
  • hasn’t tried to access library resources on her iPod Touch because she thinks it would be complicated: “It’s a little complicated to do on the computer so I haven’t tried on the iTouch”
  • (on iPod Touch) looks at slides from class, checks to see what her classes are. let her friend register for classes on her iPod Touch, but it was complicated because she had to put in 3 passwords. “It was a pain but she did it”
  • prefers notification by text because she doesn’t always check email during the day: “If something were to happen during the day, I’d rather get it by text”

Student 2

  • undergraduate student, 4th year going into 5th
  • art studio and history major
  • owns an iPhone, was planning to wait in line all night for the new iPhone that night
  • considers himself an expert iPhone user, teaches friends how to use theirs
  • has used his phone to register for classes. finds the passwords difficult but OK since he doesn’t do it everyday
  • finds entering passwords on his phone a hassle, so he doesn’t use campus WiFi (uses cellular instead): “I wouldn’t go through all the hassle to use the internet at school. I just use the internet that AT&T provides”
  • avoids searching for things on his phone unless he has to: “I don’t really search for a lot. I already know what I’m looking for. You can usually wait till you’re home unless you really really need it.”
  • doesn’t like reading PDFs on his phone: “I tried, like when the professor sends PDFs, but I’m not great at reading it off of the screens”
    uses his phone to take a picture of something he needs (like his class locations) and emails it to himself rather than typing it out

Student 3

  • junior, exercise biology major
  • LG eNV Touch (“highest thing before a smartphone”) with a data plan; also has a netbook
  • tethers his phone to his netbook
  • on his phone, uses shortcuts to take him to websites like Facebook, Google maps, My UC Davis
  • prefers to read and take notes on hardcopy, finds reading on phone or netbook difficult and distracting
  • on laptop, reads some journal articles from library, requests textbooks (hard copies)
  • likes texting when he needs it immediately, but texts are temporary (deletes them)
  • saves drafts of text messages (about 10 at a time), with names of songs he likes, passwords

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Phone Interviews

Teaching Librarian/Special Collections

  • iPhone, desktop at home and work, iPod for music
  • special collections librarian. also teaches freshmen how to use special collections
  • uses lots of applications for personal use
  • takes lots of work-related pictures using phone. sends pictures to patrons, photographs call numbers (for example to send to her father to tell him about a book he would be interested in)
  • since her phone is a personally owned device and not issued through work she is conscious about deleting work-related items that she might capture on it
  • about 15% of students come to her asking about an item and looking at phone with bibliographic info (must have finding aid info there)
  • wants an email from the library rather than a text message. finds text message more similar to IM
  • uses OAC finding aids (on computer) frequently: “the finding aid is the bread and butter”
  • would like to have finding aids more accessible from mobile, so she can call it up when talking to a student or a direct a student on his/her phone
  • wants a combined resource for databases like Calisphere and OAC. wants finding aids to be more visual

K-12 Educator

  • owns an iPhone, iPod Touch, mac desktop at home, PC desktop at school, laptop that goes between school and home
  • teaches 8th grade, English and History
  • uses Calisphere in classroom; pictures as writing prompts, primary resources for research projects
  • also has a smartboard and digital projector in classroom (kids use laptops)
  • uses smartphone frequently in the classroom to look things up for kids (using Wikipedia, Google image search, etc): “When it’s something where I need to look something up quickly like the meaning of a word or background reference information, I’ll look it up on the iPhone. It’s just faster, if I’m around the side of the room or not near the computer.”
  • finds phone faster in classroom for quick information (especially if not next to computer)
  • also uses phone to get around school WiFi restrictions (YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter)
  • load time is important in classroom
  • kids not allowed to have phones in classroom but she lets them anyway to look things up
  • reads novels on her phone
  • prefers applications to mobile websites (speed, completeness of information available)
  • likes subject-matter grouping in Calisphere: “For me, it’s the stories. I love going in an learning history from the way it’s threaded right now”
  • likes texting, for push notifications (i.e. from other teachers’ Twitter accounts or with teachers in the school)
  • for her personal use, would like a fun Calisphere app that takes you in a journey through resources: “For my own personal use would love an app that when you opened it up it was more geared toward adults, would pull you in with stories from history”
  • for kids, having mobile Calisphere as a complete research tool would be more valuable: “For kids, a fun app would be interesting, but I think they’d get more use out of more of a searchable app where they’d be able to say this is what I’m searching for, for California history, of I’m looking for information on this and have a wide range of primary source documentation come up, actual documents and pictures, references, everything come up. For their research purposes, I think that would be the most valuable for them as a research tool.”

K-12 Educator 2

  • technology specialist for district with 4 high schools
  • formerly a history and photography teacher
  • iPhone (personal), iPad (school-owned), laptop (school and home)
  • helps teachers use iPod Touches and iPads in classroom (have sets for classrooms to use)
  • iPod Touch and iPad sets are cheaper than having sets of laptops: “Many of the things that teachers want students to have students do as far as accessing
  • information and some interactive assignments can be done on these devices in a much more cost effective way than on a laptop”iPod Touch/iPad don’t require signing up for classroom time in computer lab. more spontaneous
  • different disciplines using devices in many ways (creating podcasts in language classes, inputting science class data, editing photos in photography class, etc)
  • loves using Calisphere on iPad. Can zoom in really well on materials: “[Calisphere on iPad] would be a really great thing to have in the classroom because you don’t have to march down to the computer lab and try to get a day in there. You could say, “hey, we’re studying the great depression, let’s go look at a few pictures. And so it’s a more spontaneous kind of thing”
  • kids are good at navigating non-mobile sites on the iPod Touch
  • would like a Calisphere app that walks through history or uses geolocation to tell you about materials around you: “I’m always fascinated when I see a historic photo and I go to the place where that was taken. I think that would be a really exciting learning tool for students.”


  • field ecology faculty. spends 2-3 days a month in the field collecting data
  • owns an LG cell phone (not a smartphone)
  • uses text messaging some
  • could access the internet if he wanted to but doesn’t have a data plan
  • has a laptop (for data analysis, doesn’t use it i the field): “The challenge for us is that our field work is super dirty and muddy, so bringing electronics to the field is a challenge”
  • uses multiple GPS devices in the field. GPS have data connection to make it really accurate
  • uses digital camera in the field. need to be high quality photos because they are normally used for presentations
  • data loggers measure conditions at permanent stations in the field
  • would be handy to have aerial images available when in the field, but too muddy to use those devices
  • would like to log data directly into devices, but it is too muddy. Right now data is collected on paper and entered in the lab

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Interview subject stats


  • UCSF: 4
  • UCB: 3
  • UC Davis: 3
  • Other:4


  • undergraduate student: 4
  • graduate student: 3
  • faculty:2
  • librarian: 1
  • archivist: 1
  • clinical fellow: 1
  • K-12 teacher: 2

Academic field

  • health/medicine: 3
  • library/archives: 2
  • psychology: 1
  • biology:2
  • information studies: 1
  • sociology: 1
  • history: 1
  • ecology: 1


  • male:5
  • female:9

Device ownership

  • iPhone: 5
  • iPod Touch: 5
  • iPad: 2
  • Blackberry: 1
  • other smartphone: 5
  • regular phone:2

Mobile internet usage (my assessment):

  • high (glued to device):6
  • medium (will use as needed):5
  • low (rarely use):1
  • n/a:2

Library usage (my assessment):

  • high (use lots of services, all the time): 4
  • medium (occasionally when needed for school/job):6
  • low (rarely use):4

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