Rural Emergency Medicine

Image Source: Medical Books by chris@APL

Have you ever thought, 'Oh, wish I did not have to carry around at least 5kg of books everyday.'

Aside from the workout it may give your biceps, lugging round books can be an absolute pain. So what can one do, to solve this crisis of gigantic proportions?

Get a laptop!
Before you read any further, the route I will take you along will require you to have either a laptop or netbook (if you don't know what a netbook is, it is basically a small laptop).

While I'm here I'll just give a quick plug for my laptop cause I think it's brilliant: The HP Tx2. Once you go to a tablet it's hard to go back.

Just to note here, with the exponential development occurring in the smart phone market, phones can also function as your own personal library. Albeit at this stage the screens are just too small for my eyes, and any larger, and you basically have a netbook. Apple's ipad, Microsoft's Courier, and other similar devices are looking at addressing this issue.

Go Electronic!
The most obvious answer to our problem is get rid of that physical weight and convert it into electronic megabytes. Aside from portability there are many other benefits of going electronic;
  • Access: Virtually instantaneous delivery and access as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Withstands the test of time: Books get damaged, lost and need to be replaced. Electronic copies can nearly always be found again.
  • Environmentally Friendly: You are preventing the mass murder of trees, that is required to meet the book publishing industry's quotas.
  • Interactivity: A more rich multimedia experience. E-Books can have embedded video, sounds and links to resources right across the globe.
  • Search: A greater capacity to search within documents for relevant information
    and much more....
It's all fine me telling you that electronic is the way to go, but where can you access such books in their electronic form?

So here are some resources to get you kick started.

Student Consult -
Gray’s Anatomy -
Google Books -

Don't want the more mainstream recommended text?
WikiBooks -

A Tip for GAMSATters
Wikibooks in a lot of cases can provide a viable alternative to purchasing or renting a book from the library. So before you go forkout those bills have a look at Wikibooks.
Go checkout what your university offers. More often than not, you will be surprised to see that your university fees actually do go towards a decent amount of educational electronic resources.

That should be enough to get you started.

Managing your Portable Library
Now that you've gone electronic how are you going to manage those resources? Well there's a handy application out that embeds itself into your web browser.

It's called Zotero.

When I first came into contact with Zotero I used it solely as a bibliographic manager. As they put it;
"It is an easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather, organise, and analyse sources and then share the results of your research."

Since then Zotero has evolved into so much more. I now use it as my ebook library manager as well. No longer do I have to search through windows explorer for what I want. Rather I just load up Firefox and away I go. Some of the benefits of such a setup are listed below;
  • Automatically capture citations
  • Remotely back up and sync your library
  • Store PDFs, images, and web pages
  • Cite from within Word and OpenOffice
  • Take rich-text notes in any language
  • Wide variety of import/export options
  • Free, open source, and extensible
  • Collaborate with group libraries
  • Organize with collections and tags
  • Access your library from anywhere
  • Automatically grab metadata for PDFs
  • Use thousands of bibliographic styles
  • Instantly search your PDFs and notes
  • Advanced search and data mining tools
  • Interface available in over 30 languages
  • Recommendation engine and RSS feed
By no means is Zotero the only option, but to me it provides the best option for integrating all electronic literature sources.

Other Popular Options
  • Vitalsource - One of the most rated ebook managers around.
  • eLibrary - Electronic books library organiser.
  • Data Crow - A movie & video, book, images, games, software and music cataloguer.

Finally at the end of things, I would just like to say that I do like physical, solid, books. They have a certain appeal that I just can't escape (plus my library/bookshelf seems to intimidate few guests from time to time which I always find funny).

Hopefully today I've helped lift a burden off your shoulder.

If you have any resources you would like to share do it. After all sharing is caring.

Keywords | Ebooks | electronic resources | GAMSAT Tip

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