9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

Services for Handheld Computer: First steps towards the Mobile Library

The hospital is one of the most suitable workplaces for handheld computer. Questions arose at the point of care, at every time, distant from the next computer - but the need for quick and reliable answers is high. The very information sources essential for finding the right medication, looking into a classic textbook or practice guideline, checking the blood values can easily be offered via a handheld computer. As the mobilisation of information increases, the quality of patient care increases too.
Since 2003, the Medical Branch Library of the University Münster successfully implemented a rental service for handheld computers. The library lend out seven PDAs, i.e. Pocket PCs and Palms, for 4 weeks each. A total of 21 Resources were offered via these devices: E-books, Pharmacopoeias, Coding Schemes, Medline, Journal TOCs and abstracts, Evidence-based Medicine resources, Clinical & Laboratory Medicine Tables, etc. Up to 100 researchers and clinicians are using the devices as well as the applications, which the library licensed campus-wide. The overall usage as well as the satisfaction rate and users needs were evaluated and will be discussed. The library concluded the project by establishing three lines of services for the handheld user community:
1. Lending PDAs: The library as a storehouse
2. Licensing Applications: The library as a filling station
3. Providing Support: The library as a knowledgeable institution
Thus, the library is on the move to become a “Mobile Library”, which will make it\'s services not only available at a physical place, let it be the library itself or the library\'s homepage at a desktop computer, but to everyone everywhere. The mobile library offers offline and online (WiFi) applications for Tablet PCs, Smart phones, Personal Digital Assistants, and whatever device which may probably emerge.