Armed only with a Smartphone…

Yesterday I visited the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society. Usually I have with me a written research plan (or at least a paper list of items to retrieve), along with notepads, pencils, clips, folders, and my MHS copy card.

Yesterday I was meeting friends for lunch at the MHS cafe. I didn’t remember before I left home that I was planning to retrieve a couple of items from the MHS newspaper collection while I was at MHS, so I didn’t take my “MHS kit” with me.

Thanks to technology, I was able to go upstairs and complete my research through the magic of

Dropbox. I had noted the catalog info for the microfilms I wanted in the research plan for the project I was working on, which was housed in Dropbox. Through the Dropbox app on my phone, I was able to pull up the research plan, reference the film numbers, and pull the films I needed.

Smartphone camera. Once I found the images I wanted on the microfilm, I snapped photos using the camera on my smartphone.

Sync technology. Apple’s Photo Stream technology automatically synced the photos from my phone to iCloud, and from there to the Photos app on my desktop, where they were waiting when I got home. (Alternatively, I could have emailed them to myself.)

After I got home, I was able to pull up the images from MHS, incorporate the information from them into the research report for my project (housed in Dropbox), annotate the items in the research plan (also in Dropbox) as complete, and file electronic copies in the file system (in Dropbox).

No paper used, and it wasn’t even Earth Day yet.