Using an iPad at conferences

I recently attended a national academic library conference (ACRL) and found it very helpful to have my ipad. I left my laptop at home. I thought I would pass along some of the ways that I used my ipad during the conference.

Ipad: most hotels and conferences now offer free wifi
Iphone or other smartphone: I’ve found that the free wifi is often overwhelmed in large conference settings. Therefore I keep my iphone on 4G so that I can use that as an online backup if I can’t use the wifi on my ipad.


  • Evernote (free). Set up a folder with short conference name. For example: my folder name in Evernote for this conference was acrl. When you set up an Evernote account, you will receive an Evernote email address. Add this address to your email contacts list. Whenever you want to save something online from the conference, simply email it to your evernote email account. In the subject line, add @foldername at the end of the subject (for example,  subject @acrl) and the item will automatically file itself in the conference folder that you previously created.
  • Browser
  • Email
  • Conference app if available
  • Camera
  • QRCode Reader. I use free QRReader app.
  • Twitter. Typically there is a hashtag used for a conference (for example #acrl2013). Use that hashtag to monitor comments and resources during the conference.
  • Note taking app (keyboard and/or stylus as appropriate). I use Notability ($$) and a stylus because I remember more from handwritten notes.
  • GoodReads for scanning book barcodes
  • Netflix or other streaming video if you have an account. I hate channel surfing in a strange city so I just streamed video from my Netflix account on the hotel wifi when wanting to wind down from a busy day.

How to use Apps at the conference


  • Take notes on note taking app. Notability allows me to highlight important points. I can then email a pdf of the session to myself for future storage as needed.
  • Monitor backchannel of twitter for comments, questions and further resources
  • Browse to websites or online resources mentioned. In browser, email (arrow icon and select email) important web resources to your Evernote account with @conference folder name in subject line.

Poster sessions:

  • Many posters provide QRCodes for more information. Scan QR code to bring up webpage with more information. Email that page to your Evernote account.
  • Take a picture of the poster with camera. Email picture to Evernote account.


  • Take notes with note taking app when talking to vendors
  • Monitor twitter for vendor announcements with conference hashtag
  • If you find books of interest, scan the barcode with the GoodReads barcode scanner. You can then email book information to Evernote for later purchase. Or search for books in library catalog through browser to determine if they are already in the library.


  • There are networking apps such as Bump where you can exchange business card information. But another simpler solution is just to take a picture of the business card and email it to evernote.
  • Monitor twitter for evening events


Depending on presentation needs, you may be able to present from your ipad connected to the projector equipment. There are apps for powerpoint, prezi and other presentation software. Connect via the VGA adaptor cord. As always have a backup plan!

After the conference

  • Review notes in note taking app. Email important notes to save on network drive.
  • Review Evernote for resources, contacts, notes, purchases, and things to follow-up on.
  • Review twitter hashtag for further resources or comments about sessions that you didn’t attend.

Have you found the ipad helpful at conferences? What apps do you use?

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