IPad and the National Archives: the second date

Picking up on this morning’s blog post on my first visit to the National Archives at College Park with my new IPad, I am now sitting in the textual research room writing this post on the IPad.

After visiting the emergency vet hospital where our sick girl has been since Sunday night, I went to MicroCenter to get a clear skin for the IPad so that I can comply with the NARA security rules without trashing my new tool. I arrived and zipped through both security checkpoints with no problems. The new skin isn’t too bad to look at and there are no I’ll effects to the IPad’s performance.

I went directly to the consultation room to get some additional advice for locating the Civilian Conservation Corps records my client needs. After speaking with a helpful archivist and taking notes with the IPad, I used my HTC Droid to shoot digital photos from the inventory and finding aids. Sadly, since NARA does not have an electronic request system like the one recently implemented at the Library of Congress, I had to use a pencil and manually complete a request slip for the records.

While waiting for my records to arrive I revisited the records I had pulled yesterday to make more complete notes for my client. With that done, I went off the clock to shoot a photo of the IPad in the field and to tap out this post.

There are clearly some limitations to the IPad. One big one is the lack of a USB port for scanners and other peripherals. I got a workaround for that issue by getting a USB camera adapter from Apple. Although I am not working with a real camera today, if I Needed to work with images I can plug my camera into the IPad or simply plug my SD card into the adapter to download the images.

The appearance of wi-fi service for researchers really changes the landscape for NARA research. Previously if I wanted to email things to clients from the research room, I had to create a PDF on the laptop and transfer it via USB to my BlackBerry for emailing. Now, I can login to the NARA access point and except for certain fire-walled servers, I can freely access the Internet from my own computer, be it this IPad or a laptop.

Another potential issue that likely will require a workaround is the need for speed typing and a keyboard. My regular IPad case is not compliant with NARA security and it folds into a stand. I’ll probably end up getting a docking keyboard or a dock/stand and wireless keyboard sometime down the road.

Now it’s time to go back to work. Signing off from the textual records research room at the National Archives at College Park.

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