What is Tablet Computing?

In the past two years, advances in tablets have captured the imagination of educators around the world. This category is led by the incredible success of the iPad, which at the time of publication had sold more than 85 million units and is predicted by GigaOM to sell over 377 million units by 2016. Other similar devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Kindle Fire, the Nook, Sony's Tablet S, and the Microsoft Surface have also entered this rapidly growing market. In the process, the tablet (a device that does not require a mouse or keyboard) has come to be viewed as a new technology in its own right, one that blends features of laptops, smartphones, and earlier tablet computers with always-connected Internet and thousands of apps with which to personalize the experience. As these new devices have become more used and understood, it has become even clearer that they are independent and distinct from other mobile devices such as smartphones, e-readers, or tablet PCs. With significantly larger screens and richer gesture-based interfaces than their smartphone predecessors — and a growing and ever more competitive market — they are ideal tools for sharing content, videos, images, and presentations because they are easy for anyone to use, visually compelling, and highly portable. Tablets have gained traction in education because users can seamlessly load sets of apps and content of their choosing, making the tablet itself a portable personalized learning environment.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • Libraries need to understand how students and teachers make use of this technology, and they need to make use of it themselves as a teaching and operational aid. - cathrine.harboe-ree cathrine.harboe-ree May 3, 2014
  • tablets can be used as 'remote control' devices for other technology, libraries could provide blue tooth enabled devices in study spaces for students to interact with (eg. large screens for group work) - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 6, 2014
  • tablets are also useful devices for rapidly collecting and publishing information (eg. videos, photographs, podcasts) features that could allow students as citizen journalists to interact more with the library and the university; likewise members of the public which could have applications for feedback options and consumer response messages - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 6, 2014
  • Not only are faculty members and students using tablet devices, but many colleges and universities now have tablet programs, similar to laptop ones where they are providing incoming students with tablets. Since much of an academic library's user base has access to these devices in one way or another, it's crucial that they know how to use them so that they can offer programming and resources that are compatible with them. Libraries are lending iPads and tablet devices, providing app workshops, mounting iPads in their libraries for patron use, offering access to them at "device bars" in information commons settings, etc. - ellyssakroski ellyssakroski May 7, 2014
  • On a very basis level (also for mobil devices): Are the information that we provide via webpages in a nice way accessible via this devices (responsible web design) - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski May 9, 2014
  • Content increasingly available in responsive design format e.g. HTML5 - potential for the change in what the book might become - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Do libraries have a role to play in ensuring equity of access to this technology? Should academic libraries be lending devices preloaded with apps required for coursework? - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph May 6, 2014- Marwin.Britto Marwin.Britto May 10, 2014
  • The avalanche of apps created for use on this technology indicates how successful it has become, however this is also an indication of how difficult it will be for libraries to engage with it meaningfully. - cathrine.harboe-ree cathrine.harboe-ree May 3, 2014
  • I think that because of the sheer number apps available, this is an excellent opportunity for libraries/librarians to act as filters, providing reviewed and curated lists of apps for particular subject areas, functions, etc. as well as provide workshops on use, etc. - ellyssakroski ellyssakroski May 7, 2014
  • Influence academic publishers in producing content which can easily be accessed on tablets - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014
  • Open Access publishing growing rapidly will mean more tablet access. Research content published in institutional repositories made available - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Tablet computing in particular and Consumer technologies in general will shape the way people engage with information. On a personal level and in working and study environments. While it is unsure which software, format or carrier will be leading in 5 years, I am convinced it comes from consumer technology in combination with faster access to Internet via new broadband technology. - digicmb digicmb May 10, 2014
  • This technology can reshape people's engagement with information and resources. - cathrine.harboe-ree cathrine.harboe-ree May 4, 2014
  • Library websites and web services should not only be mobile friendly for small screnn devices but also consider the way web resources are used with tablets. Responsive design should be adapted and interaction by gesture control or multitouch has to be supported.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler May 7, 2014 - I second this point!!! - ellyssakroski ellyssakroski May 7, 2014 - piguet piguet May 8, 2014 - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski May 9, 2014- Marwin.Britto Marwin.Britto May 10, 2014
  • Library programming should change to incorporate apps, librarian knowledge of new technology should advance with the times, not only so that they can answer patron questions, but so they can add value to their organizations by taking part in the discussion about what's next.- ellyssakroski ellyssakroski May 7, 2014
  • This technology (together with mobile apps) gives libraries new possibilities (and challenges) for teaching "information literacy". - piguet piguet May 8, 2014
  • Is PDF the right technology to present texts on the long run? - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski May 9, 2014
  • Fixed tablets around library buildings used as OPACs and information points, staff providing mobile support using tablets, tablets using NFC or similar to provide AR experiences trigger instant downloads of books etc - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Monash University Library staff have been using tablets for teaching and collection management for some time. They work within a peer-to-peer model in order to ensure that they make use of the technology as effectively as possible. - cathrine.harboe-ree cathrine.harboe-ree May 3, 2014
  • Staffordshire University using tablets as OPACs and staff providing roving support - DaveP DaveP May 11, 2014
  • add your response here

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