In keeping up with the rapid growth in mobile usage worldwide, the World Bank just relaunched the Open Knowledge Repository (OKR)—its open access portal to its publications and research—on an upgraded platform specifically optimized for mobile use. The relaunched OKR website, at openknowledge.worldbank.org, features a “responsive web design” that automatically adapts to the screen size of any device—whether desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
“Knowing that nearly half of OKR users are in developing countries where mobile devices are increasingly being used to access the internet, relaunching the OKR with responsive design was a no-brainer,” said Carlos Rossel, World Bank Publisher. “Now, when users access the OKR from their smartphones or tablets, they will have a greatly improved user experience.”
The benefits of this change will ultimately extend well beyond users of the OKR. The World Bank and @mire—the DSpace service provider supporting the development of the OKR—are applying the same responsive design principles in the development of Mirage 2, a theme for DSpace that will be freely available. DSpace is the open source platform on which the OKR is built, and it is used by more than 1,500 organizations worldwide for their institutional repositories.
The OKR upgrade brings other user enhancements such as improved search, related title recommendations, enhanced author profiles, and the adoption of a new Creative Commons license specifically adapted for use by International Governmental Organizations (CC BY IGO). Currently, more than 13,000 publications are available in the OKR in PDF and text formats. In the future, more file formats will be added, making the mobile experience even more convenient for users.
Since the OKR's launch in April 2012, there have been more than 2.6 million downloads of World Bank Group publications from 231* countries and territories around the world. The OKR was recently described by Creative Commons as “…one of the most important hubs for economic scholarship in the world." It was also selected by the American Library Association as one of the “Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2013.”
In coming weeks, the World Bank will also be launching a mobile version of the World Bank eLibrary—a subscription-based website with special features designed to meet the specific needs of researchers and libraries. Like the standard eLibrary website, the mobile version will supply search results at the chapter-level for its most recent titles, along with several user tools and features, such as individual accounts for saving searches and favorites, and customized content alerts.
*According to Google Analytics