Saturday, March 09, 2002

Good morning! After my post about licensing, etc., I was very pleased to hear
from a vendor, Joe Cassels of Hospital Reps Inc.
Here is what he says about a product he is selling called InfoPoems.

"InfoPOEMs has followed our advice in offering an
unlimited-use license to institutions. At a certain
price ($9900 large hospital, $7900 Univ/med school or
midsized hospital, $5900 small hospital), the
institution can deploy the system in all of its forms
-Internet, Intranet, desktop, handheld/PocketPC,
handheld/PALM (pieces only), and Daily InfoPOEMs via
e-mail - to all of its faculty, staff, and students,
wherever they may be. As regards the handheld
application(s) specifically, unlimited
downloads/installs with no "locking" or "counting"

Beneath the institutional pricing, there is individual
pricing and group pricing (discounts for
multiple-individual licenses, such as from a Residency
or group practice).

On top of the institutional pricing, there is
multi-facilty pricing (i.e for a large health system)
and consortial discounting.

After 9 years (my group of 6 has 76 years total in the
field of clinical content applications), I firmly
believe in the "no-hassle" unlimited-use pricing as
one purchase option, and strongly encourage purchasers
to pressure everyone else to offer this type of

Joe, thanks for updating us on this product! If any other vendor sees this and wishes
to provide information on licensing, etc. it would be very helpful. As I do research in this
area, I will share it with this group.

After working on a project with electronic books in a higher education setting where there
was not much content available and moving into this grant project
with medical content, I was surprised about the number of products available for handheld computers
in the medical arena. There are literally hundreds of e-books or texts, including everything from standard
medical texts like Griffith's Five Minute Clinical Consult, to a web page on guidelines created by an individual
who is trying to cash in on the content creation gold rush. Some people have quit their "day jobs" in order
to create applications and content for handheld computers. I haven't found my "killer app" that would
make me a fortune yet!

Our library has ordered 4-6 products in specialty areas to put on handhelds we will loan out so that medical staff and residents
can try a variety of products and evaluate them. After this period, we are hoping to be able to identify
which products are most helpful/most valuable to a medical professional, resident, student at the point
of care. From a non-clinical librarian point of view, we can evaluate content by ease of purchase, download,
size, coverage, if it already exists as a standard text, etc, but after this project, we hope to identify these
products from a librarian and clinician point of view.

We are also examining this as a core service in the library and how the role of the library will evolve. With
licensing issues, how could a library offer an any time any place solution, purchasing products, making
them available on a secure web page to their patrons, and allowing the patrons to download them to their
handheld device? They could download it for a specified amount of time, then they would lose access to it
or it would disappear. The technology for this exists, but how will vendors work with libraries to achieve this?
For example, Skyscape allows users to download a free trial
of a product which gives them 15 or 25 trial uses. After that, they need to purchase the product. What a
great way to show off your product by giving people free use! With some other vendors, you have to send
a check in (horror of horrors if it is not a credit card!), wait for them to get back to you, which many of them
do not until after numerous phone calls and e-mails, and get an unlock code to get access to it. After
all of this, if you for some reason let your battery run down and lose it or get a fatal exception error and
have to reload, sometimes you have to get in touch with the vendor again to get a new unlock code.

Some licensing or anytime, anywhere licensing solution for libraries are necessary. Libraries will move
out of the device business - right now, as with other forms of technologies, libraries can play an
introductory role with new technology, but then as it becomes a part of daily life, they provide the content
or information for a device (cds, videos, audiobooks, etc.) To quote Tom Peters, "the pda really is a personal
information device." After educating our users on the technology, libraries will move out of the device business and
provide content and training.

I wish to compliment Bill Drew on the Wireless Librarian group. If you are not a part of
it you should sign up. Recently, there has been a great deal of sharing on costs and
implementations of wireless networks in the library setting. I hope through this blog and
our newsgroup we can do the same regarding handheld computers becoming a core library

Thanks again to everyone who contributes and to Bill Drew for his great wireless library group!
Thanks to Joe Cassels for providing a vendor point of view! Have a great weekend!

If you have any ideas for an anywhere, anytime library for our mobile users, please email me
at and I will post them to this blog!

The purpose of this blog is to share experiences regarding pdas in libraries. If anyone, vendor or librarian
wishes to share, please send me an email and I will post it here or if you would like to post, I can send
you an invitation to do so. We have certainly learned a lot in this process and have a lot of experience
to share. I know I don't wish to make the same mistakes others have made and wish to help others on
similar ventures. For some reason, I learn everything the hard way.

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