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New Page Delivery Service Optimizes Display on Tablet Devices


February 12, 2013—The Harvard Library recently launched a tablet version of the Page Delivery Service (PDS)—an application that allows patrons using a tablet device to view materials stored in the Digital Repository Service (DRS) page by page, as well as search text, download materials as a PDF, tag individual pages and share links on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.


As use of tablets continues to grow among Harvard Library patrons—for example, visits to the Harvard Library portal from iPads quadrupled in fall semester 2012 compared to the same period in 2011—the PDS is now enhanced to provide significant benefits for Harvard’s researchers. The following initiatives were enabled by the PDS:

  • Afsaneh Najmabadi, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality, working with Maggie Hale from Harvard Library Preservation, Conservation and Digital Imaging (PCDI), provided seamless access on both browser and tablet devices to the Women’s World in Qajar Iran site.
  • John Overholt, curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson, displayed digitized manuscripts from the Harvard Library in January at a program at the Beinecke Library at Yale, where the participants used iPads to explore Harvard’s digitized collections alongside similar materials from Yale.
  • Stephen Chapman, project manager, and Andy Silva, web developer, of the Harvard Law School Library (HLSL) provided tools for users to enrich digitized documents by adding search tags that reference specific pages in the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite.

The PDS tablet user interface is an outgrowth of a project initially funded by the Harvard Library Lab. This project was conceived by Chip Goines, software developer in Library Technology Services (LTS), and John Overholt. The transition from a Library Lab prototype to production-ready software was a collaboration between LTS and Academic Technology Services (ATS), both part of Harvard University Information Technology, and Library staff members:


Mary Clare Altenhofen (FAL)

Stephen Chapman (HLSL)

Bobbi Fox (LTS)

Chip Goines (LTS)

Maggie Hale (PCDI)

Jud Harward (ATS)

Annie Rota (ATS)

Andy Silva (HLSL)

Randy Stern (LTS)

Janet Taylor (LTS)

Julie Wetherill (LTS)