By Wendy Sarubbi | April 9, 2012 11:21 am

Overwhelmed by the avalanche of iPad apps out there? The College of Medicine’s Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library threw out a lifeline at its Info Expo on March 29.

Medical informatics librarian Michael Garner shared his 10 most useful apps for the college’s staff and faculty members during the lunch-and-learn session. The list included creative alternatives to PowerPoint, strategic methods to work with colleagues, and smart ways to organize notes.

The techno tour kicked off with a presentation created in Prezi, a program that puts all content – text, graphics, and captions – on a single canvas instead of separate slides. Users can zoom in for details on a particular subject, and zoom out for the big picture.

Michael’s Top 10 included:

  • Dropbox. Easily share files, and access them on any computer or device. “This encourages collaboration,” said library director Nadine Dexter.
  • Goodreader. Annotate and view PDF and text files plus Microsoft Office and iWork documents, high-resolution images, and video files, and play audio files.
  • iAnnotate PDF. This makes editing and sharing PDFs a snap, and allows users to draw or write freehand with a finger.
  • Evernote. Create, organize, share and access your notes from any device.
  • Pear Note. Integrate text notes with audio, video and slides. Click on a particular section of text, and the program jumps to the related section of audio.
  • Noteshelf. Can’t type fast enough? Users can write notes by hand using a stylus, save the notes, add pictures, and email notes as an image or PDF. “I use this for grocery notes,” Michael said.
  • iThoughtsHD. This focuses on mind mapping – a visual way of outlining and brainstorming ideas.
  • Pages. With this word processor and page layout tool, Michael said, “You can do a lot of things to make documents look nice.”
  • Keynote. Create sophisticated animations and slide transitions, and quickly add photos and videos.
  • Terminology. Users can easily explore words and phrases to produce well-written documents and reports.

Fees for the apps range from free to about $10 but vary depending on the tiers of service offered.

In another example of adding zip to a presentation, the audience watched a video featuring two space alien characters discussing library services. Raney Collins, senior library technical assistant, put together the video using Xtranormal, a program that allows you to create a script and animate characters online.

After the video, the library staff led the audience in a game of library bingo and a raffle, awarding an iPod Shuffle and other prizes.

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