Genius Scan in the Library


Curious about the ways in which a scanner app might ease research, I decided to try Genius Scan for Android. This free app created by The Grizzly Labs makes use of the phone’s built-in camera. Essentially, scanner applications allow the user to take digital photographs, immediately process them for optimal quality and export them in […]

Do the Penn Libraries have Rosetta Stone?


We often hear this question at the Van Pelt Reference Desk, where I work as a Research and Instructional Services Librarian. Unfortunately, we do not have Rosetta Stone.  They do not make available their product to libraries, for institutional use, at a price that we can afford.  However, we do have some recommendations to those […]

Adventures in grading: Digital assignments, digital grading


The Situation Last year, on the day of the final of the last section of my course, I received my University-issued iPad.  I teach chemical information to graduate students and give a “practical” exam; the students are asked to search the literature and retrieve relevant information to answer a series of questions that I ask.  […]

Taking notes on video lectures – a digital literacy journey!


I recently got hold of a fantastic tool that allows me to take notes (“annotate”) video lectures.  It’s called VideoNotes. With this tool I can see my notes and the video in one screen, I can use my notes as an “index” to take me back to a particular spot in the video, and I can […]

Moves: A smart pedometer app

Daily count

Moves, free for iOS (iPhone only) Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to get active outdoors! You might be too busy with end-of-semester work to get in a long workout, but maybe Moves can help assuage your guilt. Moves is a free iPhone app that functions as a smart pedometer – it knows your every […]

Try Kanban for group project management


Group projects got you down? Can’t figure out who is doing what, what’s left to do, and how much has been accomplished? Consider Kanban to get things done. Kanban is a structured, clean, simple task tracking method, and it’s a bit more than a To Do list. First you make three piles for your tasks: […]

SoundGecko for text to speech: Still the best, and getting even better


True confession: I’m a student again. But this time, it’s not at Penn. I’m back in the saddle writing papers and cranking out projects, and I’ve been thinking how nice it would be if my computer could read my MS Word drafts to me while I chop away at carrots, making dinner. If NPR can […]

Two simple apps: Dragon Medical Search and Eponyms

Main screen

Dragon Medical 360 Mobile Search Available for iOS. Free. If you’re a health sciences student or professional on-the-go, you might be wishing for an easy, responsive voice search for your phone. Enter [the] Dragon – Nuance Communications’ granddaddy of dictation software and the industry standard for physicians’ medical dictation. Dragon has made a free iOS app […]

UCentral Unbound Medicine: Six resources in one app


UCentral Unbound Medicine For instructions on how to install, click here. Compatible with iOS for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Also available for Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. UCentral is a collection of references focused on evidence-based medicine. I downloaded the iPhone app and logged in with my Penn user account. UCentral includes the following […]

Two essential apps from Micromedex: Drug Information & Drug Interactions


Micromedex For instructions on how to install, click here. Compatible with iOS for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Also available for Android. Micromedex is the standard for comprehensive drug information. Their about page states that the app “contains concise information on 4,500+ search terms, covering generic names, including selected combination products, common trade names, therapeutic class, […]


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