Using iPads and iPhones for roving reference enquiries

The latest issue of College and Research Libraries news has a very informative article regarding how their staff are making use of the iPad, http://crln.acrl.org/content/72/4/217.full and the challenges that they have come across.  For the last year we have made use of the iPhone to help our roving staff deal with information enquiries.  In the past they had a walkie-talkie so that they could contact the main information desk and vis-versa.  As part of our Portable Devices project we purchased a SMART phone and an iPod Touch.  Our roving staff tested both of the devices.  The testers prefered the large touch screen of the iPod Touch to the smaller screen and QWERTY keyboard of the SMART phone, but they still needed the telephone capability to  replace the functions that the walkie-talkies had. 

For the lat year, of our roving staff have been fully equipped with an iPhone, these phones are shared among the team and are housed in lockers in a staff area when not in use.  The staff normally connect to the internet via the university Wifi so they have been very low in cost to run.  I think the main benefit of the iPhones is that the roving staff can now look things, such as shelfmarks, up very quickly for our users when before they used to have to try and find a free PC (which could be impossible at certain times). 

Post by : Lisa Anderson

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