Library Digital Collections? There’s an App for That.

Amid the excitement surrounding the new iPhone this month, we’ve got our own exciting announcement: an iPhone app for Duke Digital Collections! A mobile interface to search and browse 20 of our collections (over 32,000 images) is now included in the free DukeMobile app. [press release in ‘Duke Today’]

Here’s a 3-minute demo of the app:


Providing an iPhone interface to the collections helps us to reach an audience–whether at Duke or beyond–that is increasingly mobile. By building on to the DukeMobile app (a suite of useful mobile services that has already amassed over 50,000 downloads since its introduction in March), we reach many more people than if we had tried to build a freestanding app on our own. As Brian Mathews wrote in February:

It is easy for us (as librarians) to complain that we don’t have money or staff to develop cool things—but sometimes that’s ok, because maybe we can partner with those who are (doing cool things) and get our materials and resources included in their work. Instead of investing our time in “a library app” we can attach ourselves to an already popular and successful app and gain a wider audience.

We like this approach. By collaborating with the folks developing DukeMobile, not only do we add value to a shared suite of applications, but we improve awareness of our fantastic collections and help insinuate the library into the mobile campus culture.

How it Works

The DukeMobile app interacts with our collections via XML feeds from our homegrown digital collections platform. By taking the do-it-yourself approach, we can control how our collections and all that data can be used by other systems. When we expose the data using open standards, we enable other developers to create additional cool and useful interfaces to help people discover our stuff. We saw this concept in action earlier this year with our 3D Wall view (using CoolIris), and this iPhone app is yet another great example.

See for Yourself

Download DukeMobile (iTunes link) and give it a try! It’s free for everyone and works on any iPhone or iPod Touch.

Related Info

10 thoughts on “Library Digital Collections? There’s an App for That.”

  1. This is so fantastically cool. Great job Sean and the rest of the Digi Projects Team. I almost want an iPhone now…

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