Since its inception the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Urology has been a firm favourite amongst trainees and urologists for its excellent content. The book format is useful to a wide range professionals and provides and easy to read guide to dealing with a spectrum of urological problems. Over the last few years there has been a growing demand for reliable and portable digital information across a variety of platforms. Medhand and Oxford publishing have collaborated in creating a series of applications based on the prominent Oxford Handbooks’ series. This review focuses on the ‘app’ of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Urology.
The app is available on Apple’s iOS platform for iPad and iPhone through the app store (£34.99), on Google’s Android platform through the Play store (£34.98) and as a BlackBerry app through Blackberry App World (£35.00). There is no version for Windows Phone at the present time. Although this review focuses on the iPad version of this app the interface appears to be very similar across all three available platforms.
Content and Navigation
The app displays all of the paper books contents by 19 chapter titles on the initial screen. A touch of the screen reveals further subchapters. A further tap reveals the book content which is split into multiple sub- sections. An alternative method is to use the search function for more rapid access to relevant information.
The level of detail is excellent throughout and the text from the book has been copied verbatim. The assessment and management of all common urological problems is covered. There are further references throughout the text for further reading on specific topics. The images used in the book are high resolution and can be enlarged with a single tap and easily expanded to fill the whole screen of your device. There is a section for recording bookmarks (represented by a ‘+’ on the page) and a history section containing the links to subchapters previously visited. Once bought, all of the images and content are installed on your device, so no further WiFi or data connection is required.
The layout is intuitive but overall does not feel as easy to use as its paper equivalent. This is mainly due to the sheer number of links in the text. Navigation through these links can leave you feeling discouraged as for a single subsection of the text you have to touch the screen multiple times to continue reading a particular topic. Another small gripe is the main chapter and subchapter links are all in the left upper corner are relatively small so that you can often accidentally go to the wrong sub-menu.
It is slightly unfortunate that at the present time it costs more to buy the digital version than its paper equivalent.
Despite some of the concerns described, the app version impresses with its portability, diversity of available platforms and quality of images. The developers have created a high quality version of the Oxford Handbook of Urology, one which is very valuable to all professionals dealing with urological patients. The added advantage of the app is that this information can now always be at your fingertips.
Link to itunes store: Oxford Handbook of Urology
Link to ituens store: MedHand Series apps
Mr Ivo Dukic
ST6 in Urology, United Kingdom