Monday, February 18, 2002

The Library and the Pocket PC
I went into this project with great expectations of being able to test the use of the Pocket PC in accessing various library provided resources such as our vast array of databases, e-books, library catalog and the Internet in general. Because of the decision by Raylink not to provide drivers for wireless access, I was unable to test use of these resources directly. I will now summarize what I was able to test and do with the IPAQ.

I found that by using the Avantgo Internet service, I was able to view and use many webpages effectively. Especially useful were those such as news and weather services that change frequently. I set up my laptop and the IPAQ to synchronize the webpages. I synchronized them frequently, which allowed me to access the web offline via the IPAQ.

I experimented with using the IPAQ to read e-books. The Microsoft E-book reader is easy to use and I found it quite satisfactory. I am sure such uses for textbooks and reference material via e-books will make the use of the IPAQ as a reading device ever more important.

The IPAQ has potential as a presentation tool because of new programs that allow you to display PowerPoint presentations on it. All that would be needed is the proper interface between the IPAQ and the projector. I successfully converted several of my presentations and they worked well on it including animations and sound.

The IPAQ has huge potential as a tool in the library. Combined with a barcode reader/scanner it could be used to do book inventory. Used with a wireless connection, it could provide a reference librarian with a tool to access the library catalog and other resources while helping patrons around the library. I have used my laptop with wireless in this way.

Personally, I used the IPAQ as a PIM (personal information manager) much in the way I use my laptop. I kept it docked to my laptop when I was in my office so I could keep -email, calendar, and tasks synchronized. I used it frequently to read and write e-mail, which was later, sent when I docked the IPAQ to my laptop.

Overall, my experience with the IPAQ was very positive. Wish I could keep it!

Bill Drew
Associate Librarian
SUNY Morrisville College Library

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