We have all seen the recycle bins or worse the trash cans after a presentation, our handouts that we worked so hard on are left there discarded.  Some people take them home or back to their offices while others might lose or “deposit” them en route.  I think many librarians are looking for ways to keep these documents from getting pitched for both an environmental and informational pruposes.  That is why I was interested in the poster, “Customized USB Flash Drives Used to Promote Library Resources and Services to First Year Medical and Dental Students.” (PDF pg 86).

First thing that came to mind was, “Wow, Cool.”  Second thing that came to mind was I wondered whether or not it was really a “green” way to go.  (Remember we had just seen a picture on a slide during Daniel Pink’s lecture similar to this one which represented the number of cell phones discarded each day.)  Finally the last thing that came to mind was cost, how much does it cost to buy a USB drive with enough memory to hold all of that stuff. 

Unfortunately I couldn’t get any information on the cost of the UDB drives, the man at the poster did not know how much they cost and the woman who did know had walked away.  Additionally, I am not sure if this is the answer to our information distribution needs, only 56% of the 55 survey responders said they viewed at least one of the documents on the drive.  Although 87% of the reponders said they would used the USB drive.  So it looks like they are more interested in the container not what is within the container. 

If you are thinking about distributing USB drives with library materials you might consider contacting the authors of this poster to 1. learn how much it cost and 2. find out if they found any better ways to get people to look at the files on the USB drive. 

It would seem if they are just interested in the drive you might order customzied designed drives to have embossed or printed on the outside of drive the library’s or the document’s URL.  That might save money regarding the size of the drive purchased and it does generate awareness of where help guides/resources would be.  Who knows, comment if you have done something similar or know of a good idea.