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Are apps the future?
D. MUELLER (1), B. Anderson (2). (1) Iowa State University, Ames, IA, U.S.A.; (2) Vox Media, Ames, IA, U.S.A.

There was a paradigm shift in the print world when the web first came about. At first, existing publications were simply repurposed for the web. They did not take advantage of the new medium’s capabilities; they were just doing the same thing in a new space. It took years for people to see the web as a system allowing for far more dynamic interactions, like community formation around niche topics. Mobile apps and hand held devices take the communities and interactions of the web-era to a new and deeper level using precise location data, push notifications, and other capabilities. Yet we can also fall into the trap of repackaging the old. If we see websites as a new way to print static journal articles or if eBooks are just a cute way to get dynamic fonts and lighter loads for students – we missed it. If apps are a new way to blend content, images, video, and calculators – we again missed it. If apps are the next steps in strengthening communities and improving interactions, investing in talent and infrastructure to support and capitalize on these opportunities is necessary. We need to understand how to use apps to share data and interact with the people we serve. A vision and willingness to hire the right people will be required to create a system that powers many apps, websites, and research engines. Poorly done, we will have one-use siloes that wither and die. Our infrastructural decisions today will impact our ability to fully utilize these tools in the future.

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