Special Collections Faculty and Staff Publications

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



In 1987, Apple Computer, as it was then known, produced a five-minute video about potential human-computer interaction, set in a time approximately 25 years in the future (coincidentally, about the time in which these words are being written). The video depicted a university professor interacting with a touch-activated tablet-like device and a voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) agent, communicating with students and colleagues, reviewing his daily agenda, and preparing a presentation for later delivery. It appears that the hypothetical “Knowledge Navigator” tablet device was imagined as a great aid to professional productivity. In 2012, our reality involves the existence of touch-activated tablets and voice-activated AI agents (namely Siri) as aids to our professional productivity. In this chapter, we’ll look at how tablets are already being used to communicate with students and colleagues, to review daily agendas, to prepare and give presentations, and to engage in a variety of other activities that help to manage the professional lives of academic librarians.