I’ve had an iPad for a number of weeks now and I find it’s really helping me organize information better. With the help of a few select apps I’ve downloaded I’m able to connect from anywhere, catch up on videos and reading, and maintain a social media presence. It was really useful at ALA Annual and I’ve heard other librarians say great things about their iPads too. These are a few of the apps that I think are essential for librarians.
- iBooks – This is Apple’s attempt at doing books and it does a pretty good job. Like most everything Apple does, they put thought into the user experience and it shows. The way the pages turn is pretty and you can see your books all on a shelf that you can look through. The selection in the Apple book store isn’t as good as the Amazon of Barnes and Noble book stores, which also both have apps. But it is decent and there are a lot of free books you can choose from too. Cost – Free
- Stanza – Another great ebook reader. They have books for purchase but also over 50,000 free titles from places like project Gutenburg. You can also import ebooks inPDF, ePub, or various other formats. It gives you a few more options for customization than iBooks does. Cost – Free
- Evernote – An amazing app for note-taking that may make me switch from paper notebooks. Librarians are often in meetings or have great ideas but forget to bring a notebook or instead bring the wrong one. With Evernote you can sync notes across devices (I use it on my Android phone) and never lose notes. You can also take voice notes or capture webpages. This is one of the best tools I’ve found to capture ideas before they slip away. Cost – Free
- Dropbox – If you have multiple devices (tablet, desktop, laptop, smartphone) then this is a must have apps. Dropbox allows you to sync files across the web and access them from anywhere. Save a document you were working on at home and read it on the road on your phone. Then edit it again at home on your laptop. It is super easy and integrates with a number of other apps too. Cost – Free up to 2GB of storage, reasonable pricing for more
- Twitterific – We’re all aware that many librarians are social media butterflies, so a Twitter app is necessary. Whether you’re monitoring multiple searches for conference hashtags, chatting with your colleagues, or looking at different lists you’ve set up, Twitterific does it all well. It has a clean interface with not too much clutter. The only downside is that the free version does not support multiple accounts. So if you need that functionality for your library account too, you might want to look at Osfoora HD for $3.99. Cost – Free
- Dictionary.com – This app is exactly what it sounds like. Librarians can smith words with the best of them with this handy reference tool. It has a good interface and includes a thesaurus and word of the day (which I really like!) Cost – Free
- GoodReader – It’s sometimes difficult for librarians to find the time to read scholarly literature. This is a very useful app for reading all sorts of different documents. I store Word and PDF files here like articles and reports for reading later when offline. It’s a little confusing with all the options for set up and organization, and Jason Griffey noticed that you may want to check your settings for security reasons. But for saving and reading different files, it is great. It also integrates with Dropbox! Cost – $0.99
- QuickOffice – A productivity app that allows full editing of both Word and Excel documents. It connects with services like Dropbox or Google Docs to make it easy to find your documents and edit them. This app turns the iPad into a full fledged office device. Cost – $9.99
- Audiobooks – This app uses the admirable Librivox recording project to make it easy to get over 2,800 classic audiobooks on your iPad. It automatically bookmarks your last spot and has a built in browser so you can surf the web while listening (kinda multitasking). Cost – $0.99
- Wikipanion – Another quick reference app that uses Wikipedia entries and displays them in a visually pleasing format for the iPad. It cuts down on some of the annoying extras from the Wikipedia site and gives you just content, nice and clean. Cost – Free
There are 13,000+ iPad apps and growing in the App Store, and this list is by no means comprehensive. What are some of your favorite apps? Did I miss some? Post a link in the comments.