January 23, 2022

News and New Resources Roundup

1. E-Readers: New York Public Library Launches SimplyE, new e-reader app (via amNewYork)

UPDATE July 12, 2016: We’ve now posted the full text of the official NYPL launch announcement below.

See Also:

2. OA: ACRL Issues Policy Statement on Open Access to Scholarship by Academic Librarians

3. Awards: Digital Library Federation Announces Winners of Inaugural Community/Capacity Award

4. Archives: Guide to Archives Consortia: a New Resource From Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC) Membership Subcommittee

5. Intellectual Property: Association of European Research Libraries and Cultural Heritage Groups Releases European Copyright Reform Position Paper (5 pages; PDF)

6. Web Archives: More than 9 Million Files or 1.1 TBs of Data Recently Added to Australian Government Web Archive

7. Metadata/Identifiers: ORCID and France’s ABES (Agence Bibliographique de l’Enseignement Supérieur) Sign Memorandum of Understanding

8. Scholarly Publishing: Jim Longo Joins Highwire as Vice President of Product Management & Russ Keefe, New Chief Financial Officer at Highwire

The New York Public Library Makes It Easier Than Ever To Borrow Free eBooks with New App SimplyE

The New York Public Library has released SimplyE, a new app that makes browsing, borrowing, and reading e-books from the Library easier than ever. SimplyE makes all of the Library’s e-books available in one easy-to-use app for the first time.

“The New York Public Library’s new SimplyE app makes it easy for New Yorkers to enjoy our growing e-book collection,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “We look forward to working with other library systems to bring the app to readers across the country, and to continue our work with publishers and distributors to ensure that library e-content is as accessible to the public as possible.”

Key features of SimplyE include:

Simple design and interface that makes browsing, borrowing, and reading ebooks easy
Content curated by NYPL librarians
Public domain titles that are available for unlimited downloads

SimplyE is currently available for iOS and Android devices, with Kindle Fire, and web browser versions in development. The app was developed using open source software, giving public libraries around the country the ability to use the code to develop their own e-reader apps, and make borrowing free e-books easier for their patrons. NYPL is actively working with library systems around the country to potentially implement customised versions of the app.

NYPL also used the technology it developed for SimplyE to power the app for Open eBooks, an initiative that supported President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, and aims to makes thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free. A coalition of literacy, library, publishing and technology partners joined together to make the Open eBooks program possible. The initiative’s partners — Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), First Book, and The New York Public Library (NYPL), with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor — created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and content contributions from major publishers.

The New York Public Library’s circulating electronic materials are increasingly popular. Over the last five years, e-material circulation has increased 241 percent, with 2.9 million e-materials — including e-books, and audiobooks — circulating in Fiscal Year 2015. SimplyE will help meet users’ growing demands for e-content, and NYPL will continue to develop the app and add new features.

Adding features such as text-to-speech to make the SimplyE accessible to users with print disabilities will be a top priority for the app development team. NYPL is currently collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind, Benetech, the National Center for Accessible Media, Digital Public Library of America, and First Book, to ensure that SimplyE and Open eBooks meet and exceed all industry standards in the near future, and to encourage publishers and providers to produce content that is compatible with built-in accessibility features on mobile devices.

SimplyE has been made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Award Numbers LG-05-13-0356-13 and LG-00-15-0263-15).

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.