Google Currents Newsreader App

Google just released a newsreader app called Google Currents. Available for Android and Apple iOS phones and tablets, the app lets you read magazines, blogs, and news articles nicely formatted for your device. Watch the video to see how it works.

OCLC Launches WorldShare Library Application Platform

OCLC WorldShareOCLC has launched a new library application platform called WorldShare.  The web-based platform will allow OCLC member libraries to develop and share services and applications.  On OCLC’s WorldShare webpage, the company describes what it does:

The OCLC WorldShare Platform is the technical infrastructure on which OCLC’s Webscale services are built and provides data, tools and services for library developers, users and partners to create and share applications collectively. Libraries can build applications to meet local needs, while benefiting from the innovation of the broader global library community.

Part of the platform will be an App Gallery where users can find and download library-, OCLC Partner-, and OCLC-built applications.  It will provide APIs and Web services to library data including WorldCat.

Read the article from American Libraries magazine: OCLC Launches New WorldShare Platform.

Visit the OCLC WorldShare website.

For further reading, view the Libraries at Webscale, a 71-page “discussion document” which covers the impact of the Web, scaling services globally, and library collaboration  at “Web scale”.  In the report are essays by library trends writiers Thomas L. Friedman, Seth Godin, Steven Berlin Johnson, and Kevin Kelly.

Book Apps: The Next Ebook Trend?

David's Diary AppWhile publishers, bookstores, and libraries are still struggling to develop, market, sell, and lend ebooks, yet another electronic book format enters the fray.  This new format is the book app.  Not to be confused with an ebook reader app, the book app is the book, usually including multimedia content.

Last month Publishers Weekly announced that Hachette released a David Sedaris app:

Humorous essayist David Sedaris now has an app. His publisher, Hachette, has unveiled the $1.99 David’s Diary app, for sale on iTunes and in the Android Marketplace, which features six animated shorts inspired by his diary entries. Illustrator Laurie Rosenwald, whose work has been in The New Yorker (among other places), provided the graphics and Sedaris narrates each clip.

(David’s Diary app can be purchased from the Android Market and Apple App Store.)

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has long been available online, and now is available as an iPad app.  Users can subscribe for $2 per month or $24 for a year.  You can read more about the app at The Wall Street Journal or All Things D.

Children’s books are also moving into apps.  Two recent iPad releases are Dr. Seuss’s There’s No Place Like Space!: All About Our Solar System and the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The examples above beg the question: How will libraries offer access to these popular nonfiction, reference, and children’s apps?  Like ebooks, could the apps be offered as a limited-time checkout, after which they would stop functioning?  Could libraries lend iPads and Android tablets with pre-installed content?  Or will libraries simply be shut out of book apps altogether?