Mobile device ownership among international business students: A road to the ubiquitous library

Yoo-Seong Song, Jong Moon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Technology was once believed to be a barrier to international students in using library services in the USA. This paper seeks to investigate mobile device ownership among international students as many academic libraries are rapidly introducing mobile library services. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was created to invite international students enrolled at the College of Business at the University of Illinois. In total, 101 valid responses were gathered. The survey asked ownership of three specific mobile devices among international students: smartphones, tablet PCs, and e-readers. Findings: A surprisingly high percentage of international students (82 percent) owned smartphones. While ownership of tablet PCs was also high, international students did not seem too interested in e-readers. While communication was their favorite activity using mobile devices, international students also frequently used mobile devices to access social networking sites and search for information. Practical implications: The results imply that international students may actually be more prepared than domestic students in terms of mobile device ownership. It is important for libraries to acknowledge this high ownership of mobile devices among international students and evaluate their mobile strategies accordingly. Originality/value: The paper examines an important student population that has often exhibited different information seeking behavior from that of domestic students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-588
Number of pages15
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Attitudes
  • Business students
  • Communication technologies
  • E-reader
  • International students
  • Mobile communication systems
  • Mobile device
  • Mobile device ownership
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet PC
  • Ubiquitous library

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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