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Overcoming barriers to e-reader use in education
Address problems one at a time
While electronic readers seem to be an innovative way to educate patients, the fact that they are new means there will be problems to address when implementing them.
One issue is infection control because the touch screens cannot be disinfected with any cleaning solutions currently available. To remedy this problem, staff members at the Community Health Library within the Samuel and Sandra Hekemian Medical Library at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center are investigating the purchase of special cases. Brands they are considering include Aquapac Whanganui Electronics Case, TrendyDigital Waterguard waterproof case, and the iSkin Duo. These cases can be disinfected when the iPad or Nook is returned to the library. (For information product web sites, see resources, below.)
Because the cases are far less expensive than the e-readers, they can be replaced if they deteriorate after 40 or more cleanings, says Barbara Reich, MLS, AHIP, director of the medical library.
A good checkout policy needs to be in place as well, because iPads and Nooks are much more expensive than a book or DVD. Patrons of the library at Hackensack University Medical Center will be able to take the e-readers off-site, but they will need to have the cost covered by a credit card. If the device is not returned, the patron would be charged.
"If we were not going to allow people to take the devices out of the library there would be no need for the e-readers, they could just read everything on a computer. But portability is important for us in this type of a project," says Reich.
To protect against loss or theft of the iPads and Nooks at the Resource and Learning Center at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, patients are asked to leave their driver's license at the learning center when they check out an e-reader.
When selecting an e-reader to use in a library, note what digital rights management (DRM) govern the use of the device, says Reich. DRM is a system used to protect the copyrights of electronic media, but it might prohibit the use of an e-reader as a lending device in a library. To learn about the DRM on a device, staff at the Community Health Library read articles written by librarians who had started e-reader projects. These were uncovered during their literature search. The product web sites would sometimes have the information, and some online articles about e-readers had information as well.
In some cases problems will need to be worked out. For example, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey has to have a purchase order with a company in order to do business. Currently the Apple App store does not offer purchase orders for their products.
To learn more about cases for iPads and Nooks to help with protection control, visit the following web sites:
Aquapac Whanganmi Electronics Case. Web: www.aquapac.net/usastore/water-electronics. Cases cost $45.00 for iPad and $32.00 for Nook, plus shipping and handling.
iSkin Duo. Web: iskin.com/ipad. Case for the iPad is $39.99 plus shipping and handling.
TrendyDigital Waterguard Waterproof Case. Web: trendydigital.com. Case for an iPad is $19.99 plus shipping and handling.