Thursday, June 13, 2002

Great workshops/interesting encounters

Chicago Library System is having what it looks
like will be a great workshop on handhelds and libraries "A Handheld Workshop." The
speaker/presenter is Theresa Ross Embrey, automation coordinator at CLS. I guarantee
this will be a wonderful workshop! Theresa is one of our own "handheld librarians;" she is
a great speaker, and knows what she is talking about! Having been to CLS, they also have
a great staff and a great director of continuing education! Ir's no surprise we are seeing more
and more workshops for librarians on the wonders of handheld computing. Here is a description
of the workshop from their web page:
"Whether it’s a PDA or a cell phone with text messaging, handheld devices are being increasingly used from the boardroom to the soccer field. With many of these devices adding wireless capabilities, libraries have a unique opportunity to reach out to their communities in new ways. This workshop will provide an introduction to the variety of handheld computing devices, policy decisions a library might encounter, and provide a survey of the various applications available to your library and its users.

Instructor: Theresa Ross Embrey"

You can't beat the cost of $20 either. CLS is having some other great technology workshops I have not seen
elsewhere, one on blogging by Dawn Tortorella, and one on viewlets. Viewlets are streaming training, presentations or demonstrations. How many know what a viewlet is? Looks an awful lot like flash.
Congratulations to CLS for some exciting and innovative programming!

I dreaded the end of our PDA project, but today was a busy PDA day at the reference desk!
I am going to log these encounters because they are very interesting and comprise more of my day
than I realize. First we had a resident come in who wanted me to look at her Handspring Visor and
see if she needed any other tools. She hade Five Minute Clinical Consult, Epocrates, MedCalc, MedRules,
and a few other small programs. She wanted "Harriet Lane" but she did not have room on her handheld.
Her battery was also very low so she went and got new batteries in the middle of our session. We had
a physician come in wanting "Harriet Lane" in print. Our print copy was not in, so I gave him one of our
handhelds with it on it. When I offered it in handheld format, he did not question it, just said ok, took
the handheld and used it. He must have had previous experience, because he did not need any assistance
using the handheld, but this is the first time, I have referred a customer to reference material on a handheld
computer when the print was not in. Another resident came in to look at our pediatrics handheld just
to view some of the materials on it. He was interested in Pediatric Consult and asked how much it was.
Then I received a call from one of our semi-retired physicians who is a great success story! At Christmas,
his wife checked out one of our handhelds for him to try because she wanted to buy him one for Christmas.
He liked it, and she bought him a Palm! A few weeks ago, he was in the library showing me the clinical
tools he had, but also all the personal programs like a baseball statistics program, all the names and addresses,
etc. He was very excited. Today he called; his computer had crashed and he wanted to make sure the data
on his Palm would sync up to the reformatted hard drive and not wipe out his information. These are the
people who make work worthwhile! Peg and I will also be doing a resident orientation on handhelds coming
up. This will be interesting - our first time doing the handheld orientation for residents using Margi to Go.
We certainly didn't have that last year!

Do you think people naturally like the operating system they start out with the best? I started by learning
the Palm OS, and I feel very comfortable with it. Now, I am learning a Pocket PC. It is pretty amazing,
but I find I am much more comfortable with the Palm.

Mark Glissmeyer from sent this story and commentary on PDAs vs. calculators: (Thanks, Mark!)
"I saw this article I thought your readers might be interested in. It is a CNN article on calculators vs. PDAs-

They discuss how the Texas Instrument calculators are becoming more PDA like – “The company's new 1.5-megabyte TI-83 Silver Edition -- retails for about $130 -- comes with an address book and organizer and can be loaded with nearly 100 programs from spreadsheets to the periodic table of elements.”

It also points out the power of PDAs- “PDAs are being embraced by many U.S. school districts, where they're used for everything from collecting data in science classes to managing security at football.”

I also like at the end how they point out one important difference though- “Students are permitted to use calculators on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but because of the potential for cheating using infrared messaging, PDAs are banned.”

Sounds to me like a low-cost PDA for students is needed without infrared possibly? It’s tough to say because beaming data is so important too. The price comparison will change though as prices are dropping on PDAs all the time. When good color screens gets down to $200 or less then that may make a big difference too.

More info on these calculators is available at this TI calculator site . They also have a link to that article."

Mark also points to an interesting site on how to build your own ebook library:

On Jenny's blog, she mentions "Adobe E-Books Go On Loan at Libraries"
""Adobe Systems released Content Server 3.0, software that lets libraries loan and distribute eBooks written in the company's Portable Document Format. Content server lets administrators offer subscriptions, set expiration dates that disable the eBook on the borrower's computer, and provides packaging and encryption options for Internet delivery.

Content Server is available through eBook software providers Ebrary, Baker & Taylor, Follett and NetLibrary; through Adobe distributors including OverDrive; or from Adobe's eBooks Web site. The software costs $5,000 per site hosting as many as 250 eBooks, and $1,000 for every additional 500 titles." [ZDNet, via]"

Jenny points out many libraries will not be able to afford this, but she mentions groups of
libraries getting together.

How do you keep up? There is so much exciting "stuff" going on! Any tips: appreciated.

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