The new LibraryThing iOS app review

App Name: LibraryThing
Related Website: http://www.librarything.com
Version reviewed: 1.0.1
Price: Free

Release Date: 19 October 2015

Introduction
LibraryThing this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an online service. It is a book cataloging service for creating database of your books as well as connecting you to other people with similar reading interests. This is its first iOS app for its cataloging service (it has produced other apps not related to its original function).

As of writing it has nearly 2 million members whom have cataloged over 100 million books.

Design
The app has a three-tab layout, a Home, Your Catalog and Add to Catalog tabs. The Home tab brings up five icons, a Your Catalog, Add to Catalog, Cover Explorer, News and Account icon. The Your Catalog and Add to Catalog icons lead to the other two tabs. So essentially there are three new functions in this tab.

The Cover Explorer brings up a list of groupings of covers related to your books. The groups include Amazon Covers, Low and High Quality Members Covers. The News icon brings up a list of news about LibraryThing ordered by date. The Account icon brings up information about the login, settings for your choice of cover upload size and app version information.

The Your Catalog tab gives you a list of collections you can tap to view. This can either be a list or cover view. In the cover view you can further tap the cover to view the book details.

The Add to Catalog tab shows you your recently added books and allows you to add books by input search or camera barcode scan.

Usability (Simplicity)
The app is highly usable in that the three tab layout is easy to understand although the repeat of Your Catalog and Add to Catalog icons in the Home tab is redundant. I am guessing they were included because of the lack of content in this tab. Inclusion however does not harm its usability.

Usability (Usefulness)
Rather than being a book catalog viewer only the app can act as an input device. This was not available as an option for smartphones until now so it is welcome and perhaps long overdue. The ability to scan barcodes make this app highly usable.

Conclusion
Ten years ago when LibraryThing first came into being smartphones were almost non-existent. The website had not been designed with smartphone technology in mind. The timing therefore meant that sites which came into existence later had a head start to smartphone applicability (BookBuddy was ahead of its time with barcode scanning). This had meant that until now only desktop input was possible. With the bulk input disabled sometime after its launch this had meant that inputting books was a difficult and tedious task. With this new app LibraryThing may just have rejuvenated itself as a player in this day and age of smartphone dominance.

Pros

  • Simple easy-to-navigate design
  • barcode scan enabled

Cons

  • No groups and talk access
  • No iPad version available

(Rating: 4 out of 5)

Mental processing speed has gene link

A recent study has found that the gene CADM2 affects people’s ability to process information in later age. In other words some people are naturally born to be quick thinkers. This idea potentially has implications on learning and why some people are slower at the task. 

In my opinion both nature and nurture are mechanisms necessary for survival and evolution and that what we start with (the nature) is important but it is not as important as what we try to do with it (nurture). 

Classroom productivity with Voice Memo

Apple’s preloaded Voice Memo has now become a more useable app for the classroom. The user interface is cleaner now with navigation easier. Trimming and deleting parts of the recording is simplified and saving files with appropriate titles streamlined. The app also allows upload to Dropbox which means easy sharing and archiving. AirDrop again means sharing with others with iOS hardware is one click away. 

The screen also rotates so that the iPhone can be held with the mic facing up to work like a dictaphone

Another feature that is useful is recording with the screen locked meaning you can record students without distraction to them while they perform tasks for you.