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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Mobile libraries (alternative meaning)

    I have blogged here about the new e-book readers. New screen technology and ever-better memory puts a whole new spin on the term mobile library - now you can carry your personal library in your pocket! 200 books is probably enough to count as a personal library - and probably enough to be pretty useful most of the time.
    It seems that I am not the only one to be excited by the prospect of of a portable, personal knowledge bank. Megan Fox, Web & Electronic Resources Librarian at Simmons College, opened the second day of Computers in Libraries with a keynote entitled, "Planning for a Handheld Mobile Future". She wasn't just talking about e-books and e-libraries, but about all those other handhelds that - in the States, at least - are accessing information and providing library services: cell phones, PDAs, iPods, GPS devices, tablet PCs, ultra-PCs, gaming devices, and smart phones. Her paper went on to point out that some "traditional library content" (encyclopaedia, reference titles) is now being made available for these devices.
    I wonder how these new devices - e-book readers in particular - will impact on libraries, and I wonder how many libraries are planning for that impact? Maybe it seems unlikely now, but why wouldn't students in 5 years time be carrying around all the books they need for all their courses on a device like the iRex iLiad, on which they can make notes and write essays?

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