Posts Tagged ‘m-library’
It took me years to get an iPod because I really didn’t want to fall for the hype and I had convinced myself that I had no need for an MP3 player because I had many other ways of listening to music whilst on the move (my mobile phone, and the car stereo!). However, I got an iPod Touch for Christmas and even now, in March, I’m totally thrilled by it. I use it not just for listening to music, but also for checking my emails through my home wireless, surfing the internet (it’s so much quicker and easier than waiting ages for my MS Vista laptop to start up) and playing the odd game in a few spare minutes (I’m addicted to looking after fish at the moment!).
After using it for a short amount of time I started thinking about how useful the iPod Touch could be in a library environment and started seeing it as the “Librarians Little Friend”. For such a small device it is amazing how immediately anyone can access information. The iPod uses what are known as “apps” which are little applications that can be downloaded and installed onto an iPod using the freely available iTunes software. The iPod comes with a number of apps pre-installed: a calendar, photos, contacts, maps, stocks, weather, notes, clock, calculator, iTunes, videos, mail, voice memos, safari (the internet browser), music and the app store. These cannot be deleted but can be moved onto other pages out of the way.
So what use are they for libraries? Well, this will sound very pathetic, but when you’re watching television and an advert for the iPod Touch or the iPhone comes on the screen, pause it and have a look at the applications available. Just doing this now on one of the adverts on YouTube I’ve found the following applications all suitable for the iPod Touch (remember that out of the box the iPod Touch doesn’t have a microphone so not all apps created for the iPhone will work on the iPod): MultiLevel (a spirit level – 59p), Google Earth (FREE), Classics (classic literature – 59p), Google (FREE), Pianist (£2.39), NYTimes (FREE), and the First Aid Pocket Guide (59p).
I recently set up an iPod Touch for demonstrations to libraries and searched around to find the most suitable apps for libraries. This is the list of apps I downloaded from the iTunes Store:
|Concise Oxford English Dictionary and Thesaurus||17.99|
|UK Car Driving Theory Test||1.79|
|GCSE Maths Revision||0.59|
|Revise A2 Biology Unit 1||1.19|
|Jamie Oliver Meals||2.99|
|Haynes Car Tips||2.99|
|Studysets – Psychology||1.79|
|Brain Tutor 3D||0|
|National Geographic World Atlas||1.19|
I was stunned at how inexpensive a lot of the reference apps are. In the main these are full applications and are updated regularly free of charge if you follow the instructions (the UK Car Driving Theory Test was recently updated to the 2010 edition at no cost).
The beauty of the apps are that they take little time to download and install. For example, a learner comes to the library desk requiring some information to help her with her A2 Biology course. There’s plenty of material in the library already, but there’s also an A2 Biology app that could be useful. The library assistant gets out the iPod Touch for loan, plugs it into the library computer and iTunes automatically starts. The A2 Biology app is located within the iTunes Store and installed on the iPod within a couple of minutes. The learner is then loaned the iPod.
All this and I haven’t even mentioned the internet browser and bookmarks! Have a go at accessing your eBooks through ebrary and adding a bookmark to your Home Screen – it now looks like an app!
Tips for libraries
- If you are going to use multiple iPods on the same iTunes account, then when you set up each device remember to turn off the automatic sync facility – you really don’t want to be storing anything that the learners may have downloaded
- Once you’ve got your iPod Touch set up as you wish – create a backup. It’s most likely that you will need to restore it to this backup regularly to delete any changes that learners have made. (This doesn’t take too long to do)
- Each app comes automatically with 5 licences therefore it can be installed on up to 5 devices using the same iTunes account.
- Users will download their own material to the iPod therefore don’t buy iPods with tremendous amounts of storage as it will just take you longer to restore it
- When you set up the library iTunes account, do not register a credit card. Instead use iTunes vouchers – the only stipulation with an iTunes account is that you have to provide some form of payment. iTunes vouchers mean that you can spend the majority of the credit and then even if learners guess your iTunes password, they cannot purchase apps or music for any more money than is left from your iTunes vouchers – so spend up!
- Investigate iTunesU through the iTunes store. There’s a massive amount of free learning material on here that can be transferred onto the iPods.
- To use most of the apps you need to make sure that your library has Wi-Fi internet access
- Buy a case and a screen protector for each device. They are much cheaper to replace than the iPod!
- If you’re unsure of whether they are worthwhile, give some to the library “floorwalkers” as a trial to use when answering learners questions.
- If you are having problems connecting to the iTunes Store, ask the IT department to add the following trusted domains to your college web filtering software: itunes.apple.com, ax.itunes.apple.com, albert.apple.com, gs.apple.com
- Ask your library system vendor whether they are creating an app for your LMS that can be used by learners/library staff to search the library catalogue whilst on the move
http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/collection.php?collectionID=714 – iPod and iTunes in the Classroom
http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=5R6HF - Ashton Sixth Form College LRC induction session using the ipod touch
http://swem.wm.edu/services/iPods.cfm - Earl Gregg Swen Library (US) iPod Touch loan programme
http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=M-Libraries – M-Libraries
So, give me your comments. What do you think about the iPod Touch? Does it have a use in the library? Have you found some good apps suitable for “loaned” iPods? If so, let me know.
Update – June 2010
Parat solutions, an American company, have released a multiple iPod Dock called the Parasync. This device will synchronise up to 20 iPods simultaneously thereby saving loads of time. It looks good too. As far as I can work out it’s only available to order direct from them in the US. Have a look at: http://www.paratsolutions.com/parasync