1 Feb, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
There seems to be a trend emerging amongst US academic libraries. The University of Florida is just one of many institutions trying out a new iPad app, free to students, that could make academic research a far less cumbersome experience.
BrowZine, launched on iTunes in March 2012, lets its users browse, sort and save scholarly and peer-reviewed articles on the go. Once retrieved and saved, an article can be accessed without the need of an internet connection. BrowZine is sold to institutions and there are apparently 20 colleges currently testing the service. Others have already become subscribers, including Loyola University Chicago, University of Minnesota and Johns Hopkins University.
BrowZine includes an impressive list of journals, from Open Access publishers like BMC and PLoS, to supported publishers like Elsevier, Springer and SAGE.
How does it work?
BrowZine aggregates individual articles from databases to create complete ‘journals’ and organises them into a newsstand format, optimised for the iPad. The result is an intuitive way for users to browse journals by subject and discover new titles. The app is marketed to institutions as a way of simplifying the librarian’s task of keeping up to date with the latest published content via alerts, RSS feeds and other “clumsy technologies”.
“By making content available in an easy to view, browsable format, libraries are able to pull away the layers of technology between the user and content. Each reader can create a personal bookshelf of favorite journals and BrowZine will soon be able to deliver convenient push notifications to indicate when new material is published.
These favorite titles are housed in a convenient “My Bookshelf” area where users can freely rearrange these titles to suit their preference. Just like in a user’s own workspace, they can then easily access their favorite titles quickly and easily every time they use BrowZine.”
Another clever aspect of the app is that the content is available at any time of the day, in any location, via the user’s existing authentication protocols (including EZproxy, Shibboleth, Bar code identification, VPN etc).
For more information, take a look at the introductory video below: