Follow-up: iPods for library training

Since I posted about the idea of a medical library offering iPods pre-loaded with library training materials for use while in the library, I’ve gotten three leads on such things.

Divine Instruction
Ratcatcher left a note to let me know that a comment at Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web from February of 2005 described the same idea being applied at the Duke Divinity School Library, where they placed “an iPod on Reserve checkout with library instruction, lectures, and chapel services.”

Since the librarians only work 8-5 M-F and the library is open additional hours, we decided to record some audio instructions for using a couple of our more popular (and complex) tools. We plan to add recordings of community lectures and services from our Divinity chapel services. One iPod feature that we’re excited about is the ability to speed up or slow down playback (when saved in Audiobook format) so that time-starved students can listen to a lecture at a faster rate. Conversely, our students who work with English as a second language can slow things down.

Medical Library InfoPods
Another medical librarian emailed to tell me about “InfoPod” audio tutorials offered at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Buffalo:

As a way to assist you with your information-seeking efforts, the HSL web team has developed MP3 files to deliver brief audio clips to help guide you through the HSL web site and electronic services and resources.

This service is similar to the kind of assistance the Reference Department provides routinely over the phone. Click on an “InfoPod” icon and the audio clip will “walk” you through the process.


It looks like EBSCO is starting to use Podcasting for marketing and promotion for medical information products and services.

They’ve got a couple of DynaMed podcasts up which are interesting. After a brief message describing DynaMed, they go over highlights from articles added to DynaMed in the previous week. (If you’re interested in these, here’s the feed to subscribe to.)

I asked a contact at EBSCO where their use of Podcasts was going, and was told:

Here’s what we’re planning for the immediate future:

  • Weekly DynaMed “new articles of interest”
  • Short interviews with key EBSCO Publishing executives on key industry topics
  • Information about upcoming interface changes
  • Possibly walk-through training sessions

Each of these could conceivably be very useful to libraryfolk, but I’m most enthusiastic about that last one: “walk-through training sessions.”

How cool would it be for the creator of the tool to provide compressed audio or video to walk the user through training in the use of the tool? (Hint: The answer is “very cool.”)

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