Everyone has one…from my 7 year old nephew to the 74 year old lady I saw two weeks ago in the admissions lounge calmly awaiting her cystoscopy and biopsy. The iPad has become a ubiquitous accessory and is testimony to the huge popularity of mobile technology. Fortunately for the medical community, numerous journals are starting to publish in a digital ‘app’ format.
The British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) was one of the first journals to identify the growing use of mobile technology and published an electronic edition (currently only on iPad) in August 2011. The iOS software that is included in all iPads includes an app called Newsstand. This allows users to download numerous magazines and journals including the BJUI via the Newsstand Store. Journals such as the BJUI are free to download, and users are given the option of automatic downloads whenever the latest edition is available.
Content and Navigation
On the BJUI app homepage, the latest edition is at the forefront, but past issue covers can also be seen and downloaded. Each issue is approximately 12-14MB, and in the Wifi or home broadband setting, an issue will take less than 10 seconds to be downloaded. Any downloaded issues can be accessed in the ‘My Library’ section of the app homepage. This enables the contents of the library to be viewed without requiring an internet signal. So when waiting for that ‘tricky spinal’ to be done, the inevitable signal blackspot so prevalent in operating theatres will not hinder your education.
In every issue, every article is available in the same format as the paper version. The contents can be accessed by touch gesture of a tab, and a particular section can be accessed straight away. There is a legend at the bottom of the screen which corresponds to the subsection of the journal and allows the user to access different sections quickly without having to go back to the contents tab. The article format itself is very user-friendly. When tables or figures are referred to in the text, a link can be touched and the relevant diagram opens. This is also the case for references, where the reference number can be touched to bring up the citation.
Additional features of the BJUI app absent in the paper version include a media tab where videos/podcasts are present. There is also a ‘Case Reports’ section which is no longer included in the paper version. A submissions tab provides details of how to submit contributions to BJUI, as well as a Useful links and a Contacts list which can take you directly to e-mail or the internet site by touch gestures. An ‘Events’ icon lists forthcoming conferences and courses which is very useful for facilitating continuing professional development. A search icon is also available so specific words can be indexed allowing the user to skip directly to areas of particular interest. Similarly, bookmarks can be placed allowing the user to return to sections quickly. Furthermore, social media has been embraced as articles can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, or e-mailed.
The electronic BJUI version is an excellent app. It is very user-friendly with the contents being easily navigated.
There are additional features not present in the paper version. It is free, and easily accessible once issues are downloaded into the Library. And let’s face it, eventually you will get bored of playing ‘Angry Birds’….!!
Mr Zubeir Ali, Specialty Registrar in Urology, United Kingdom