iPad, uPad, we all Pad

So, we got our very own library iPad2 to work with, so we can learn how to help students use it, especially with ebooks.

[Please do not consider this an endorsement of any product; we simply need to be able to work with what students here happen to own.]

This also lets us see how our online services look on tablets, which is becoming increasingly vital.


I’m going to work using the assumption that a student probably had a choice between getting a laptop or getting a tablet, and chose the tablet (in this case, an iPad).  I expect this will be the case for many students (and I can just hear a parent complaining “how many gadgets do you need, anyway?!?!”).

That means that they need to be able to use the iPad (or whatever tablet they got) alone to access and download library services and ebooks.

First, since this is an iPad, I created a “generic” Apple ID for the library.

I set up the iPad2 on our campus network using the basic instructions, and connected with no tweaking.  Very simple.  The minor complication came from having to move to a spot in the building with better wi-fi strength (my workroom is not suited for that).  Once I moved, everything went smoothly.

I registered with the library’s new Apple ID and said yes to the iCloud so we can backup the iPad to it.

I got the iBooks app and downloaded the iPad user guide to it.  One lonely little free ebook on the simulated wood shelving…

I also downloaded the Amazon Kindle app.  I might test with it a bit.

Downloading an ebook

Then came Bluefire, the app which should let me read our own DRM-protected epub format ebooks.

This is available for Apple iOS and Android.  I used the Apple Apps store to find and install it.

1. Load the Bluefire Reader, and tap the bottom of the screen to get the menu bar.

Select “Info”.  The first item is to authorize the Adobe ID.  I used the generic one I set up for the library.  It’s just an email address and password.  Bluefire recognizes it and authorizes this device for any Adobe Digital Editions ebooks.

2. Go to our catalog, pick your ebook, and download it.  You go through the regular checkout login via Ebscohost, and download the ebook file.

3. You get a popup that asks if you want to open this in Bluefire reader.  You say yes.

And that’s it.  It downloads into Bluefire, which seems to be a pretty decent ereader app, and you’re in business for the period we allow the checkout.

Okay, that’s fairly impressive.  The directions I had earlier for Bluefire required emailing the file to get it on the iPad, and clicking on it, but apparently Bluefire has improved so it’s a simpler process now with no intervention with another computer needed.