Monday, February 15, 2010

iPhone apps for librarians

Due to the popularity of this post, I have created a separate page , which I will keep updated with new entries. This post will remain unaltered for the record -- Aaron 20/3/2010

Got your IPhone recently and want a quick overview of what innovative librarians , library or library vendors have done with IPhone apps?

I was in this situation about 2 months ago and did quite a bit of research, so to save you all time, I offer the following list plus commentary .This is not meant to be a complete guide on what are the best general interest Iphone apps  (typically this involves picking a Twitter client, IM Client, RSS feed reader, online storage service like dropbox etc). Such lists already exist , but rather this is list of apps that are of interest to librarians, or have being used by Librarians in library settings.

I've decided not to link directly to the App store, mainly because the link has to be country specific?, and this blog serves an international audience so there is no one best link. To find the app, just do a search in the appstore with the app name. Do note that in some rare cases (e.g. WorldCat), the app might not be available depending on your location.

Database/vendor apps


These are search apps offered by specific database vendors that make searching such databases on Iphones easier. Most of this was found via Mobile libraries blog


PubSearch
PubMedontap
Mobileabstracts (PubMed)
Naxos Music Library
SSRN
iResearch (American Institute of Physics iResearch
IOPScience
Nature.com
arXiv
Arxiview
ArXivReader
Questia Library



Search related 

What if you want an Iphone app of a database that isn't included above? The next category of apps, allow you to set up custom search engines to use quickly. You can add your library catalogue, custom database searches (with Ezproxy built-in) etc. I've covered this idea here . 

I find myself using this a lot on the go.

TheOracle
WebSearch
SpeedySearch




Barcode related apps

One interesting idea is to use Iphones as barcode readers. By using the Iphone camera, you can capture  ISBNs, and then send to search for the item in library catalogues, bookstores etc. Similar apps, are those based on capturing the book covers, and recognizing the book (Google Goggles for Android is the most famous example).There are many such apps including snapshot, pic2shop  Snaptell, Kooaba, but they typically send you to Amazon, Google books etc

Below are two apps that allow you to customize the search to be sent to your library catalogue. I've covered this idea here


CardStar - This allows users to store barcodes on their Iphones. Some users are using this for their library cards


Many libraries are experimenting with QR codes, which are 2D barcodes that can encode urls, so users can snap the barcode, and be instantly sent to a url. (see guide ) .This is particularly useful since it's difficult to type in a url in a smartphone. Among many ideas, in theory the online catalogue could generate QRcodes along side barcodes, and users could just snap the qrcode on the screen into their handphones. One could embed Qrcodes to posters, blogs with the appropriate urls encoded.

I haven't yet blogged on QRCodes, but among many other posts on this you can have a look at Jo Alcock's post.(See comments as well)


QRcode readers

i-nigma
2D-sense
QR app
Many more just search for QR code






University/library apps


These are apps that have being created by libraries or universities (with a library related mod), worth taking a look at if you are tasked with creating one. I covered this here

MLNlibrary
DCPL
UPLA
UH Library
HK libraries (searches consortium of HongKong Libraries
Library Navigator (Tokyo) (similar to above but for Tokyo Libraries including National Diet Library)
Dukemobile (Part of University IPhone app)
iUsask (Part of University IPhone app)
Northwestern (Part of University IPhone app)

NC State "Wolf Walk"
WorldCat




Ebook reader app 

Stanza - Also have a look at Calibre

Kindle for iphone


Presentation app


These class of apps can be used to convert your Iphone into a slide controller. Use your Iphone to move slides forward and backwards with one flick! Some apps will allow you to see the next slides and/or your notes, either in split screen or full screen mode.

i-Clickr
Mypoint
mbPointer
iPresenter

Personally I think it's between Mypoint or i-Clickr, but the free version of Mypoint is pretty functional, while the free version of i-Clickr is limited to only 15 slides.

Mighty Meeting - This is very interesting app, that allows you to control web presentations using your Iphone.

Others  

BlackBoard learn - Use this to keep in touch with assignments posted on the popular courseware BlackBoard! 

Local books - App that can locate closest bookstores and libraries that have an entry on LibraryThing  

Prowl - Use this for roving librarians who are equipped with Iphones/Itouches, users can summon librarians for help. See here  

Tungle - Use this for scheduling appointments - covered here

Foursquare and other location apps - Libraries are using this to offer prizes to "mayors", Covered here and here  

GoodReader - Tom Boone suggests using this to make it easy to download PDF of articles and to email them.  

Conclusion

Hope this list has being helpful.

Library Success wiki , also has an excellent section on mobile libraries that goes beyond just Iphone. apps. Anything else I missed?
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