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Mobile Apps & Sites for Research


What is the difference between a mobile site and a mobile app?

A mobile site is designed for use on touch-screens and screens that are smaller than a desktop or laptop screen.  A mobile site is used in a mobile device's Web Browser, such as Safari (iOS) or Google Chrome.  

A mobile app is an application specifically designed for mobile devices.  The main difference between an app and mobile site is that the app must be downloaded and installed via an app store such as iTunes (iOS devices) or the Google Play Store (Android devices).

Do all library databases offer a mobile apps and sites?

While mobile apps are becoming more commonplace, not every database that the library subscribes to has a mobile app platform.  Additionally, not every library database has a mobile site (i.e., a URL that is different from the desktop version of the site).  However, many databases are set up to automatically display a mobile version of their site when accessed on a mobile device.

Is there a faster way to access a mobile site? Can I create a shortcut?

Yes! A shortcut to any mobile site can be added to your device's home screen.  To create a shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. Access the site on your device.
  2. Open your browser menu (look for any of these icons in the top right corner of the screen:      )
  3. Click "add to home screen".
  4. An icon will now appear on your device's screen with your other apps.
  5. Click on this icon whenever you wish to access the database's mobile site

Why do I have to create a personal account before using a database's app?

Creating a personal account will allow you to access the library's subscription in the mobile app. It will also allow you to login to the app itself.  Finally, many apps allow you to save articles, save search history, create reading lists, and more - all of which is saved to your personal account. 

Are all apps free?

All of the apps listed on this guide are free to download. 

However, some apps may offer optional in-app purchases, or providers may change their Terms of Use to include a fee.  Sheridan Library is not responsible for charges accrued through the use of any of these apps.

I found an app for a library database that is not in this guide.  Can I use it?

Maybe! Some databases that the library subscribes to do have mobile apps but they do not support academic library subscriptions.  You can potentially use the app, but you will not be able to access library material through it.  Some databases with apps that do not support library subscriptions include: Safari Books Online, Factiva, and Gartner Research.

If you are unsure about using a mobile app, email