March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

BiblioBoard Review | Online Reference | October 2013

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BiblioLabs’s interesting new hybrid offers thousands of public domain ebooks
as well as images and other primary sources, and, unusually, a way for users to save locally created materials for patrons to access. Here is a way to allow your patrons to do research and save their creations all in one place. Local history and makerspace support has never been easier.


Grade Level Grades 6 and Up

Cost BiblioLabs charges a flat rate for schools. The price for public libraries is tiered based on population served. For academic libraries, pricing is tiered based on FTE. Fees start at $500 per year for small organizations.

Overview BiblioLabs, a hybrid software-media company, has created an impressive product in their latest brainchild, BiblioBoard, a Web-based platform that provides schools and libraries with curated collections called anthologies, which are bundles of content on specific themes. In addition to the anthologies that are part of the basic BiblioBoard package, once a library or school subscribes, it can add to existing anthologies (a plus for special collections or local-interest collections) or create all new anthologies. Each anthology was created with a masterful eye on visual appeal and usefulness. The result is subscription-based access to rare and outstanding content.

Content In the BiblioBoard universe, content is divided into modules. Modules contain multiple anthologies, which may contain books (14,000-plus ebooks are available), images, and primary sources (10,000-plus pages in all). Once inside an anthology, users browse Pinterest-style through a gallery of high-resolution images–book covers, drawings, photos, and so on–with each image a link to further information. If the image is of a book cover, the link provides full access to facsimiles of the content of the book. The module “Cherokee Indians: A History of Folklore, Culture and Euro-American Relations” illustrates the various possibilities. Some of its anthologies are “History of the Cherokee,” “Folklore and Legends,” and “U.S. Government Relations.” The anthology “History of the Cherokee” contains a collection of 19th- and early-20th-century books and images relating to Cherokee history. Some of the books included are The Cherokee Physician (an in-depth exploration of traditional healing methods) and Compiled Laws from the Cherokee Nation (an 1881 book of Cherokee laws based on the U.S. Constitution). Also in the “History of the Cherokee” anthology are archival photos. Some of the anthologies have audiovisual components as well.

How It Works Books may be opened and read at the point of access or downloaded (if they are in the public domain) to be read later. In addition to accessing the full content of the title, users can make use of preset pictorial bookmarks to skip right to the material’s “highlights.” Once the title is “open,” it’s possible to add notes to pages and to create additional bookmarks. Patrons can also zoom in on text and images without losing clarity. BiblioBoard is accessible on mobile access on tablet devices–Kindle, Nexus 7, Nook, and iPadPatrons can set up individual accounts to make use of bookmarks and note-taking features. In addition, schools and libraries can share their anthologies with other institutions that subscribe to BiblioBoard. The basic BiblioBoard subscription provides users with access to a core collection. Subscription tiers provide users with access to additional modules curated by institutions such as the British Library and the New-York Historical Society. More modules are made available on a quarterly basis. These ebooks are valuable additions to libraries, and the local-creation feature makes this product a real winner for libraries that aim to position themselves as makerspaces, create custom textbook replacements, or feature the work of local artists, genealogical societies, and more.

Jennifer Prince is a librarian at the Fairview branch of Buncombe County Public Libraries,
NC, and an SLJ reviewer.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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