News from the Show Floor | ALA Annual 2018

As always, library vendors had a number of announcements to share at the American Library Association’s 2018 annual conference in New Orleans. Here are a few that LJ had an opportunity to learn about in person.

As always, library vendors had a number of announcements to share at the American Library Association’s 2018 annual conference in New Orleans. Here are a few that LJ had an opportunity to learn about in person.


OverDrive announced the availability of popular magazines through its Libby app. The 50 initial launch titles include Reader’s DigestO, The Oprah MagazineESPNNewsweekHGTV MagazineThe AtlanticOK! Magazine, and New York Magazine, and the company expects to continue adding new magazines regularly. Libraries can purchase annual, simultaneous use licenses for collections of 25 or 50 titles. Magazines will not count toward checkout limits that libraries place on other OverDrive digital content. Separately, OverDrive recently announced that it will provide initial funding and support for the Panorama Project, a research initiative that aims to quantify the impact of libraries on book discovery, author brand development, and publisher sales. OverDrive is describing the Panorama Project as an open membership initiative that includes publishers, booksellers, libraries, library vendors, authors, agents, and other key publishing industry groups.

SirsiDynix and Baker & Taylor announced the successful integration of B&T’s Axis 360 ebook platform with the SirsiDynix BLUEcloud Mobile app. This enables patrons to discover, access, and manage library ebooks without leaving BLUEcloud Mobile. Once content is checked out, patrons can access their ebooks in BLUEcloud Mobile without an Internet connection.

bibliotheca announced multiple new features for its cloudLibrary ebook platform. Patrons can now use the latest version of the cloudLibrary ereader app to check out books and other physical materials using their mobile device, as well as receive reminders about upcoming library events, manage receipts, favorite items, and keep track of their borrowing history.


Adam Matthew Digital, a SAGE company, debuted Quartex, a digital asset management solution for libraries and archives. Based on the platform that the company uses to create its own award-winning digital collections and products, Quartex features Handwritten Text Recognition, making digitized manuscripts searchable (including full-text search across a collection’s manuscript and printed material); support for all image types, as well as audio and video files; mobile-ready responsive design with styling and branding options for library websites; Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance; usage statistics and site analytics for each published collection; customizable dashboards to generate reports on asset types, status, and storage; and more.

EBSCO Information Services announced its three 2018 EBSCO Solar grant winners: Red Feather Lakes Community Library, CO (RFLCL); Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV; and the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. Each library will receive a $100,000 grant to pay for the installation of a solar array. RFLCL serves as the headquarters of the North 40 Mountain Alliance, which provides public information dissemination during disaster situations; its new solar array will ensure that the library has power during emergencies. Shepherd University’s library is involved in several sustainability initiatives and plans to work with an installation company dedicated to retraining residents affected by the decline of the local coal industry. And the University of the West Indies, the first international library to receive the grant, is part of a “greening” and sustainable cost reduction plan across campus. Separately, EBSCO and the Modern Language Association (MLA) announced the release of the full-text version of MLA International Bibliography.

Gale, a Cengage company, debuted two new digital archives. Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century: Far-right and Left Political Groups in the U.S., Europe, and Australia includes never-before digitized primary sources documenting radical right, fascist, communist, socialist, and new left activism movements. More than 600,000 pages of content and 42 audio histories help provide context to current political polarization, company officials said. And Amateur Newspapers from the American Antiquarian Society offers libraries access to more than 80,000 pages of content from 3,000 individual newspapers self-published by young people during the 19th Century throughout 48 U.S. states and Canada. The company describes the editorials, original short fiction, essays, poetry and other content in the collection as “the social media of the era.”

ProQuest announced that users of its Ebook Central platform will soon be able to download more than 100,000 digital rights management (DRM)-free ebooks and DRM-free chapters from more than one million ebooks. The content comes from leading academic publishers, including Harvard University Press, Cornell University Press, New York University (NYU) Press, and IOS Press, and covers a comprehensive selection of disciplines, including arts, humanities, business, medicine, education, science, and technology. Separately, ProQuest announced that it has added support for two new Google Scholar features: Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA) and mobile access with Quick Abstracts.


CARL.X and Library.Solution integrated library systems (ILS) developer TLC featured several examples of its growing number of partnerships with STEM-education equipment providers. TLC SmartTECH is designed to offer a curated selection of products paired with curriculum and consulting services to help libraries launch successful Maker space and STEM programs. At the company’s booth, visitors could check out the Turing Tumble mechanical computer, a TAP-it interactive learning station, Jellybox 3-D printers, Ozobot robots, Circuit Scribe Kits, Littlebits coding and STEM workshop kits, C-Pen assistive devices, and more. TLC is also working with multiple drone manufacturers, virtual reality equipment suppliers, audiovisual equipment suppliers, and others.

D-Tech International, developer of self-check, vending, security, and other RFID and EM equipment, debuted appIT, a patron-focused app for Android and iOS devices. The app enables patrons to use their phone to check out items with a barcode scan or, using newer smartphones equipped with Near Field Communication readers, an RFID scan. Other features include item renewal, account status, finding branch locations and hours of operation, chat with a librarian, and more.

Library cloud application provider Communico used a variety of devices to showcase ways to deploy its suite of integrated products, including a calendar and event management tool, room reservation platform, interactive digital signage solution, patron-facing smartphone apps, staff productivity apps, patron self-check solution, and Content Management System (CMS) with website and widget builder. The company is also developing a next-generation OPAC that will integrate with the Communico suite, scheduled for launch in 2019. An “omni station,” designed with a Microsoft Surface computer in a custom enclosure with a scanner and receipt printer attached, enables patrons to check out books, explore library services, and register for upcoming events. But the device-agnostic software is also amenable to simpler deployments, such as installing the “Reserve” module on a tablet mounted near a meeting room door.


Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, announced that its Esploro research services platform has been released to development partners. Esploro aims to support the management of multiple research data types, streamline metadata handling, ensure compliance with local and global regulations such as open access and Data Management Plan (DMP) sharing, enable collaborative work on research projects, and measure research impact through relevant metrics and benchmarks.

BiblioCommons announced the development of BiblioApps V2.0, the next generation of its native app for public libraries. Context awareness will be a key feature. For example, the app will recognize when users are in a library branch, and will automatically highlight in-branch features. Or, when a user has a hold ready for pickup, the app will highlight near-term upcoming programs or events that the patron might be interested in attending during his or her branch visit.

OCLC, in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), announced that it was awarded a two-year, $1,001,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance the underlying infrastructure of the OCLC WorldCat database and CRL’s Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR). “WorldCat now enables tracking of retention commitments for single-part monographs. CRL’s open access PAPR database offers shared print programs as a registration solution for serials. Together, OCLC and CRL will work to merge their respective capabilities in a centralized system for serials commitments in WorldCat, systematically syncing to the PAPR database,” the organizations explained in a joint release. The project is scheduled to run through June 30, 2020.

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Matt Enis


Matt Enis ( is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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