Magazine article Computers in Libraries

How iPods Can Do Double Duty @Your Library

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

How iPods Can Do Double Duty @Your Library

Article excerpt

Faculty members at the State University of New York--Oswego are increasingly assigning videos, posters, and other multimedia projects in their classes. Penfield library has been expanding services to support these assignments. this includes the development of a multimedia production room (MMR; oswego.edu/mm) and the hiring of a learning technologies librarian (Ltd. the MMR has a PC and a Mac computer, both of which have Audacity, Camtasia Studio, the Adobe CS 6 Suite, and other editing software. The LTL teaches classes in multimedia production and conducts one-on-one meetings with students who need extra help. In addition, Penfield has started providing equipment for students to check out so they can make their own videos.

The Flip video cameras were among the first devices that we purchased. Demand had grown along with the number of devices we made available. However, in the spring of 2012, we decided to evaluate our lending program. While the devices had proved popular, garnering 38-56 checkouts per semester, we have also started losing them to wear or loss. Since Cisco Systems, Inc. has discontinued the brand and is stopping support as of December 2013, we thought it unsustainable to buy new Flip cameras to replace the old ones. After researching other dedicated HD video cameras, we realized that for very little extra cost we could get iPod touches and increase the functionality of the video recording devices that we are lending. Since we also were lending digital voice recorders, we saw the iPods as a way to replace them as well.

Why iPods?

After reviewing other types of cameras, it was determined that iPods provide much of the functionality previously provided by the Flip video cameras and would be a good replacement for them. They can produce high-quality HD video plus they have both a camera and voice recorder software. These are all necessary components for student projects. In addition, iPods are a well-known brand familiar to most users.

To further enhance the students' projects, slingshot tripods and multiple Blue Microphones' MIKEY digital microphones have been purchased to allow users to increase the quality of their videos. The tripods can sit on a table and are easy to manipulate. They also fit any smartphone. The microphones are designed for the 30-pin iPhones and iPods, so we had to purchase a lightning adapter for each. The tripods, microphones, and adapters are all checked out separately from the iPods so anyone can borrow them for use with a personal device.

We originally planned to purchase iPod touch 4's in order to capitalize on the Apple brand and its popularity. In addition, the devices function as a point-and-shoot camera as well as a video camera. During the planning process, the iPod touch 5 came out, so we adjusted our plan and went with the newer version.

Each iPod is packaged in a plastic bag with a lightning cable, a wall adapter, a carrying pouch, and a set of instructions. One of our librarians made cases for the iPods and wires out of fleece. Each device came from the manufacturer with a wrist strap, which we originally kept with the iPods. However, we are not replacing the straps as they get lost, and patrons are not getting fined if they lose them. The bags are labeled and bar coded to match the iPods.

Since the iPods are so small, it was a challenge to find a way to label them and package them to be circulated. The small size makes more than a couple labels impossible, and we need (at minimum) a bar code and a campus asset tag. Through the Apple Store for Education, you can request that the iPods be engraved at no extra cost. You must call to request the engraving, since it cannot be ordered online, but it is much more permanent and will not fall off as labels do.

It was determined that the loan period for the iPods would be the same length as the Flip video cameras. They circulate for 1 week and can be renewed, but we ask that the renewals be done in person. …

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