New York Public Library Introduces New Smartphone Apps

The New York Public Library, one of the largest public library systems in North America and undoubtedly a research center for scores of college students, is making it easier to access information and the library's online catalog via a recently-announced smartphone app. Two other apps were also introduced within a six-week period, marking the library's continued march into the digital age. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

new york public library nypl mobile app

Introducing: NYPL Mobile

Want to browse New York Public Library's vast catalog on the run? The new NYPL Mobile, an app available for iPhone users and soon for Android, allows you to find a title, create a personal history, submit reviews and even check if you have any fines for overdrawn books. What's more, the app not only tells you which locations have the title you're looking for if your local library doesn't, but how to get to those locations as well!

The new app is part of the library's conversion to a new online catalog system run by Bibliocommons, which manages more than 40 digital systems for public libraries throughout the United States and even in Canada. The system integrates a library's catalog with a search interface that allows users not only to find specific titles, but to locate alternatives and place books on hold as well.

More good news: it's easy to link your account to the app through the library's website. After linking your account to Bibliocommons in just a few easy steps, download the app. Then it's simply a matter of entering your barcode number and password and viola!, you're ready to research.

A Bit of History, and a Bit of Fun

Not long before unveiling NYPL Mobile, the library published its first issue of Biblion, available as an iPad app. The publication offers detailed information and access to images, audiotapes, videos and more from among its vast collection. The first issue provided photographs, original documents and even some videos of the 1939 World's Fair. The library plans to publish up to two issues of Biblion per year.

For adventure-seekers, the library offers a scavenger hunt app called 'Find the Future', tying into its exhibition of the same name which is on display at the library until the end of 2011. Available for both iPhone and Android users, players must find specified objects in the library and take a photo of a corresponding Quick Response code with their smartphone camera. Points are awarded for each photo taken.

After finding and examining an artifact, you can then go to the NYPL website and write what you have found. After completing all 100 Writing Quests, you will have completed, the library states, 'your own book of 100 Ways to Make History.' While fun, the game is more about appreciating the found objects and stories tied to them than hurrying to find each item.

And there you have it. From fun to informative, these new apps are sure to appeal to a wide range of students, researchers, readers and history buffs. So when it comes to the New York Public Library. . .there's an app for that!

The New York Public Library isn't the only New York City institution making technological advances; find interactive educational features, podcasts and online games on The Metropolitan Museum of Art's website.

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