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Grunigen Medical Library Supports PDA Use for Medicine

Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are useful for professional, clinical, and educational purposes in the healthcare fields. For healthcare professionals, PDAs facilitate quick access to frequently needed and updated information. PDAs fit the mobile environment required of most healthcare professionals through their ease of access and use. In addition to its advantages in the clinical setting, healthcare professionals can have the health sciences library at their fingertips wherever, and whenever, they need access through their PDAs.

The Grunigen Medical Library’s (GML) current PDA service includes demonstration programs on four different types of PDAs, including the iPod Touch, Blackberry, Palm, and PocketPC. Users can try the devices and programs before purchasing. GML circulates three iPod Touch PDAs for extended periods in order to let users try the devices and the program content in the clinical setting. Three additional iPod Touch PDAs will be available for borrowing this summer. The borrowing program enables users to make informed purchasing decisions. It gives them an opportunity to consider which PDA technology and software best meet their needs. Unlike trying a device at a local electronics store, the Grunigen Medical Library provides users an extended trial period for testing PDAs with the appropriate software content.

Many of the GML resources currently available for the handheld devices include medical reference texts, calculators, drug resources, and laboratory tests. New programs in medicine as well as programs in medical specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics, ophthalmology, geriatrics and orthopedics will be available on the six iPod Touch PDAs this summer.

The Grunigen Medical Library has created an excellent subject guide on PDA resources (libguides.lib.uci.edu/pda), tutorials, and training materials. GML offers instruction tailored to specific user groups, individual consultations, demonstrations, and workshops to meet user needs.

To help GML determine the level of interest in the PDA program, users will be asked to participate in a short survey from July 1 through October 31, 2010, when they return the borrowed PDA. The survey will determine type of use and the most valuable program content.

For more information, contact Judy Bube, Research Librarian for Medicine (jlbube@uci.edu or x46650).

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