Category:About this site

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Academic researchers benefit from support services and infrastructure when they are working within the campus environment but when they undertake field research they are often left with very little in the way of support or guidance. This can lead to vulnerability of their research data and inefficiencies in their work. This is particularly true when researchers rely on paper data collection in the field. Paper records are very vulnerable to loss or destruction. They require transcription into a computer which means additional investment of time and introduction of errors during the transcription process. Data collected using mobile technologies means the data is safely and securely stored on a server with appropriate backup and redundancy. The data is immediately available for review or analysis. The mobile technologies can also introduce additional functionality such as GPS locations, photos, immediate data validation, and more efficient data collection.

This wiki site is informed by three phases of work. The first was a literature review to determine what had been published about the use of mobile technologies in field research. The second involved working with and testing the technologies to become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. The third phase was working with actual research projects in the field to test the viability of the various approaches. This included a trip to Bolivia to work with researchers there, made possible by a Research in Librarianship Grant from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

Wayne Johnston is a Librarian at the University of Guelph Library in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He can be contacted at wajohnst@uoguelph.ca

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