Where’s Pikachu? How libraries are connecting with patrons over this wildly popular new virtual treasure hunt that uses geolocation—and why the game raises privacy concerns.
Colorado’s Mesa County Libraries (MCL) last week launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of Wild Colorado, a mobile app that will help users identify Colorado mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles, use geolocation information to notify users what types of wildlife are likely in their vicinity, and personalize their experience by adding notes, taking photos, and sharing their sightings on social media.
Demco Inc., a major library supplier, acquired Boopsie, a leading library app vendor, the companies announced today. The acquisition, made via Demco’s parent organization Wall Family Enterprise, was completed September 30. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Ex Libris today announced the acquisition of Wolverhampton, U.K.-based oMbiel, developer of the campusM and governmentM cloud-based mobile app solutions for universities and local government services, respectively. The company will be incorporated into Ex Libris as a new business unit, Ex Libris Mobile Campus Solutions, led by oMbiel founder and CEO Hugh Griffiths. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Boopsie, the developer of custom mobile apps for libraries, is planning to launch Boopsie Analytics in early 2014. Currently in alpha testing stage, the new web-based platform will help the company’s customers analyze data about a number of different patron behaviors, such as how many queries are sent to a database or catalog from the app each day or each week, what services are being accessed most often via the app, or how many titles are being downloaded from OverDrive or other vendor partners using the app, for example.
I recently attended a local “hackfest” sponsored by the government of the county in which I reside. This “App Challenge” was one of a series of events encouraging citizens to invent new ways to use the considerable open data resources of the county, and to make those available to others. The meeting was held at the local high school, and to my surprise, over sixty people turned out, many from the far corners of the county. The group was notably diverse. There was one contingent, however, which was not in evidence: librarians.
In 2012, the usage of apps surpassed the usage of browsers on smartphones and tablets for the first time, according to recent data from digital business analytics provider comScore. The difference is still small—54.5 percent of mobile subscribers used apps in October 2012 compared to 52.7 percent using browsers—but the shift could mark a significant moment for mobile computing. As developers continue to enhance accessibility and incorporate features including cloud-based storage, geolocation, voice input, and visual input, native apps are making mobile devices something more than the sum of their component parts.