Tag Archives: apps

Weekly Wrap Up- Thing 22: eResource Vendor Apps

28 Oct

As we come to the last stretch of our adventures together, I’d like to thank those who have come before me for sharing their time and insights on all things mobile. If not for this community, I wouldn’t have a better understanding of how to effectively use my smart phone. I’ve downloaded, tried and now owned many more new apps for which I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

As for this week, understandably I feel many people may have focused their time and energy on conferences. With the Library 2.013 online conference and New Zealand’s own LIANZA conference, activities have been rather sparse.

However, I think Kate Davis‘ comprehensive introductory write up has provided much thought for this week’s wrap up. If you haven’t read it, please go and read it now.

Cath Sheard ‏@KiwiLibrarian pointed out how difficult it is for her to borrow library ebooks and this is making her cross and sad about the situation.

While Freya Lucas ‏@liber_amoris agrees with Cath after investigating her e-library and finding the situation to be the same.

However I find that in my experience with OverDrive Media Console, it has been relatively easy. Auckland City Libraries provides an OverDrive service which I find simple to use. The potential hurdle is with creating an Adobe ID. Another problem I have is with the limited range of titles available with this service, though in saying that, the number of items in the collection is reasonable. It’s just that a few times I’ve come across missing titles in a series I’ve been reading.

I also noticed that some New Zealand libraries are using the Boopsie service. The University of Auckland Library and Wellington City Libraries are just a couple of examples. Again in testing the app, I found it simple to use.

Thinking point

As smart phone and tablet adoption continues to rise, many libraries are looking to increase their services for users with mobile devices.

As pointed out by Kate, what libraries need to keep in mind is the potential of offering too many silo-ed products. There needs to be an integrated access to various differing products with a single discovery tool. This will help provide a seamless user experience in turn increase adoption rate and user satisfaction.

I feel users don’t want to go to different products or use different apps to access information resources. They want a simple search functionality that allows them to access information or resources directly. Much like how Google is doing for the web, we need to ensure users get access to their information or resources as quickly as possible. This is especially true for mobile users as they often use their devices on the go.

My view is that vendors should become more flexible in giving access and open their formatting of their e-Resources. In this way, it allows easier integration and access to these e-Resources.

I think the main challenge boils down to is with copyright. Publishers want to maintain control on who has access and who pays to access their e-Resources. However as history has shown with the music industry, trying to protect copyrights in this age of quick and instant access will only limit the number of people accessing these e-Resources. Also they can potentially drive others to find alternative e-Resources that is easily accessible.

Before signing off, I’d like to leave a note of thanks for everyone for reading my posts and hope we’ll have more future engagements similar to this.

Signing off

Mark Huynh @E_venturer

Weekly Wrap-Up Thing 19: File sharing – Dropbox

7 Oct

Hi fellow ANZ23mobilethings explorers

The wrap-up for last week’s Thing 18 : Productivity Apps had the excuse of America’s Cup fever for a rather quiet week. This week we’ve lost that excuse, and until a couple of hours ago there were no comments on any of the social media platforms, so thanks Cath S for pointing out that sometimes we just need reminding that there are easier ways to do things. I too sometimes find myself carting around (and losing) flashdrives, and emailing files to myself and then losing track of where the most recent version is.   Just today I had to drive into work to email out an agenda I’d saved onto a work network drive, but then found our work VPN access has been out all Sunday. I was kicking myself for not saving the file to Dropbox or another file-sharing site.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of discussion on filesharing sites, is that they’ve become such a routine part of our digital lives that we’ve started to take them for granted. Last year Dropbox claimed to have over 100 million users. Dropbox has been voted one of the top 10 mobile apps on both Android and iphone. Because these apps are free and very straightforward to use, I suspect that most of us are already using them daily. Once we start using them they quickly become indispensable, and definitely increase our efficiency. Saving my main financials spreadsheets to Dropbox, means I literally have the figures I need at my fingertips.

Karen’s 23 Mobile Things comments on using Evernote, and explains how she is continually finding more uses for Evernote  for file sharing. She’s use it for sharing notes with fellow students, taking photos and notes at conferences, and her example screen shot shows what a tremendous productivity booster it can be. She also finds it synchs with all devices and is enjoying the iOS 7 update.

If you haven’t tried out a file-sharing app on your mobile device, give one a trial. there are plenty of tables comparing various features, including  their capacity and restrictions, such as those on Gizmodo and even Wikipedia

There are also apps now that can synch together various cloud file-sharing apps, eg,  CloudHQ ,  which can replicate and consolidate files from all your file-sharing services.

Looking at comments on other file-sharing app sites and blogs, there is a common thread of people loving DropBox’s simplicity, speed and reliability. Also many people make use of a number of these systems simultaneously, in order to maximize their free quota of storage space. It’s also worth checking out the comments on file sharing from  23MobileThings from a couple of months ago

For some light relief check out this story about a stolen iphone where the thief forgot to disable Dropbox, and therefore inadvertently shared all the photos he took with the rightful phone owner who has been sharing them with the world via Social media

Finally huge thanks to Sally Cummings, for her very detailed introduction to the File Sharing Apps. She includes many excellent starting places for exploring these apps. Extremely useful!

Vivienne Sutton @sciencelibr

Weekly Wrap-Up Thing 18: Productivity Apps

23 Sep

Following on last week’s Thing 17 on Evernote and Zotero. This week’s focus expanded to look at other productivity apps. However activities for this weeks topic – Thing 18: Productivity Apps have been rather quiet.

I guess the America’s Cup fever have taken alot of focus and time from many Kiwis. I know I’ve been studying up on the sport and following the race rather more closely of late. Go Team NZ!

Anyway, back to this week’s topic.

Discussion on the recent Google Hangout have prompted interests in Any.do and Pomodoro.

Karen Malbon ‏@KMalbon will be checking out these apps


Cath Sheard @KiwiLibrarian have used the Pomodoro technique for cutting big tasks down into managable chunks

While Maria Alenquer ‏@Maria_Alenquer is going to try the “Remember the milk” app.

Also mentioned in the hangout was Evernote, Dropbox and Google Docs. Check out Kate’s insight on how she uses Evernote to record all her saved RSS feeds and Kathryn’s time saving experience in using Google Docs:

While I’ve only used Evernote sparodically, I’m a huge fan of Dropbox and Google Drive. I’ve also found CloudOn a great app to combine both these tools together.

Another multi app manager I’ve been using regularly for my social media channels is Hootsuite. This app is great to help you manage, monitor and schedule your posts, messages and tweets from social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many more. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you should.

For more productivity apps follow the productivity board on Pinterest or check the productivity category in Google Play or the Apple Store.

Thinking points

I think productivity apps are invaluable in helping us become more efficient and effective in managing our work and time. However, I think some of us are not investing as much time and effort in learning to  use these tools effectively. Talking from experience, I know when I come across a couple of useful apps, I’m incline to just stick with them for a long time. The new apps I’ve come across this week has shown I need to expand and try new tools out.

In terms of using these tools for our work, I think we are still in the learning phase. Before we can effectively incorporate these tools into our work programmes, we need to understand all it’s potential and that’s by using and experimenting with it for ourselves.

Before signing off, I’ll leave with a couple of questions.

What is currently taking you alot of time to do at work?
Could you find an app to help you improve the way you work?

Signing off

Mark Huynh @E_venturer

Thanks Mark, Don’t forget that this week is a catch up week before we head into the final stretch of ‘Things’.  Enjoy.

Thing 18: Productivity Apps

16 Sep

This week we are giving you Mylees’s post from23mobilethings.net.  Don’t forget to go to their site for more great information on all the things!

Photo Credit: hawkexpress via Compfight cc

What are your personal productivity challenges? Productivity is about being efficient and effective and some tools on mobile devices can help organise tasks and schedule activities, provide reminders and help with motivation and time management. In this Thing, we’d like to look at a few of these tools.


  • Remember the Milk  is a task and time management app.  – There are apps available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry as well as a web app, sync for Microsoft Outlook, and Remember The Milk integrates with Evernote, Gmail, Google Calendar, Siri, and Twitter. You can even email tasks to your Remember the Milk account.
  • Doodle  is a scheduling tool, great for coordinating times for meetings with a number of people.  It has an a mobile friendly interface and an iOS app.
  • The Pomodoro technique is a productivity system that breaks work down into 25 minute chunks to improve concentration.  There are a variety of Pomodoro apps available for both iOS and Android.
  • Lift   is a goal setting app, helping you to set goals, monitor progress and tap into support groups (iOS and web versions available)


  • Find a timer app for your mobile device, you might choose a different one depending on the tasks you have in mind (eg. running a holiday activity game, timing intervals in an information literacy session or running a trivia quiz).
  • Mashable recommended  the productivity app CloudOn  for access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your tablet or smartphone.
  • 30/30 is a combination of task manager and timer (Android app and iOS app )
  • There are more things to explore on the Pinterest board.


  • Could you use a tool like Remember the Milk as a mobile project management aid?
  • Could you display a timer on a tablet to count down during games as part of a holiday activity program?
  • Would you be able to coordinate meeting times for your teen advisory group or book club members using Doodle?
  • Are there some repetitive tasks that require focus and regular breaks (like stocktaking and reshelving) – could you Pomodoro them?
  • Could Lift   be used as part of a lifelong learning library program for adults allowing them to set their own learning goals and monitor their progress?


Don’t Forget to join us on Thursday for our next Google+ Hangout!  Check your email and back here for more details.

Weekly Wrap Up Thing 15 – Adobe Id

2 Sep

Whilst things like DRM get quite evocative when we speak about it amongst library folk, the pragmatic side of me realises that like most public libraries need adobe to access our services through Overdrive and to some extent through borrowbox as well. Is it complicated? Hell yes. Could it be more user friendly? Ask my staff trying to walk a 92 year old through the process on an android tablet.

What I do find interesting about an Adobe is a change in business model for services. Traditionally we paid a big chunk of cash for a software program that was usually out of date a couple of months after we bought it.

With the new cloud based approach, perhaps we are looking at a rent rather than buy model (and I can already hear the arguments brewing on that one) but consider extrapolating this type of model, is it possible that one day rather than a monthly fee, we might be able to have the software we want on demand?

For me, that’s quite a cool thought.

Getting back to the software though, Adobe do some cool stuff.

I couldn’t have gone a day in ILL without being able to crop and create PDFs, not to mention that Illustrator, Photoshop and Dreamweaver have long been the part of designer toolboxes.

For me many of these applications have been just a little out of my contextual comfort zone, but I have eyed the output with envy from the gurus weaving their magic, and one day hope to add their skills to my portfolio.

Its a bold move for Adobe to shift these services mobile, agile and where we are, and for me, accessing all of these things in one package certainly gives me a big playbox with a small price to convince the boss ( if only for a short time).


Don’t forget to check out the twitter chat archive for our chat on e-books that happened during the week- and add your thoughts below!

Weekly Wrap-Up Thing 11: Augmented reality

30 Jul

Apologies for this late wrap-up. Totally didn’t realise it was my week.

However I’m really glad that it’s my turn, as this has given me an opportunity to reflect on the bright and sometimes scary future with augmented reality.

Let’s start by checking on Twitter:


This video shared by Katherine @Kraznozem is a great example of our future with augmented reality.

While watching this, I was awed, amazed and a little freaked out about the massive potential augmented reality could play in our future.

Already Google Glass has shown this reality is closer than we expect. As this article points out, there are already fears and risks associated with Google’s new tool. Like every other generation, “grouches” will fear new technologies. The article also points out that wearbable lenses that overlay data and record-video is a decades-old idea in the minds of science fiction writers. As this idea becomes more of a reality, David Brin noted in the article there could be temptations to legislate against it, so as to protect people’s privacy. However, Brin also pointed out that innovation always out paces regulation and therefore technology should be freely available to everyone. This allows everyone to be on the same level playing field instead of the tool just being accessible to governments or a select few.

Katherine has been a prolific sharer last week. Not satisfied with sharing the above video and the mentioned article above, she also gave us examples of cases where augmented reality has been experimented with.

From History Space, an app which allows tourist to Northern Ireland’s iconic tourist attractions to add new forms of interpretive content enabling the visitor to engage and be immerse in the history of the site in innovative and exciting ways.
To a story from SUNY Canton Southworth Library Learning Commons where they are experimenting with sharing content, resources and video presentations through strategically placed placards and QR codes around the library to enhance visitor experience within the library.

Want to create music with physical objects? Now it is possible by moving an object closer or farther from one another to change the pitch of a sound. Maybe enhance a story which incorporates part story, part game and part educational toy with interactive 4D blocks. All in this site. From this site, I found DAQRI, a company that makes all this happen. Check out their homepage video. It shows all the possibilities with augmented reality.

Other tweets include:

Cath Sheard @KiwiLibrarian
Cath finds it challenging to create actionable activities for augmented reality and it’s overloading her brain from thinking about it.

Anna Williamson @Anna_is_great
Says her 4 year old loves the Star Walk app on her iPad.

Lee Rowe @LeeRowe
Lee tried the Junaio app and loved it.

While bloggers such as:

Cathy Kelso @ironshush
Talks about her experimental session with a few augmented reality apps with colleagues. They played with Wikitude, Floodlines, Anatomy 4D, Augment and String. Although at first she thought the concept was gimicky, she became a convert when she had a chance to play with it.

Renee Stokes @stokesrenee
Renee shares her experience with a free augmented reality app from an Apple app store where it allows her to choose a furniture, move it around and see how it’ll look in her living room before she decides to purchase it. She also had Lara from Tomb Raider checking out where her TV is.

Final Thoughts
I believe augmented reality has huge potential and we are only scraping the tip of the ice berg. As the technology matures and start-ups become more experienced with creating applications for its use, we will see potentials only imagined in science fiction.

I think this area is still in its early stages and those who can successfully experiment and utilise this tool successfully will be seen as innovators and pioneers. Therefore if your institution is keen to be seen as an innovative organisation, augmented reality could be something you could try.

If I’ve missed mentioning anyone else who have contributed in last weeks discussions or posts about augmented reality, I’d like to apologies again as this was quite a rush wrap-up. I’ll ensure to be better prepared for my next wrap-up.

Signing off – Mark @E_venturer

From Abigail and Kate: Thanks for that wrap-up post Mark – that was great! 🙂

Thing 11 : Augmented reality

23 Jul

This week we are giving you Mylees’s post from23mobilethings.net.  Don’t forget to go to their site for more great information on all the things!

Abbreviated as AR,  augmented reality is the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (eg. through a smartphone camera).

This video gives you a quick introduction to some of its potential.

Perhaps you’ve heard about a recent example,  Google Glasses  are location aware, computerised eyeglasses  that will display information to the side of what you’re viewing.  There are quite a few AR applications that could be employed in library environments and in this Thing we’d like you to explore some of the possibilities:




  • Could the wayfinding in your library environment be improved with AR? Would an information literacy guided tour of your library be improved by including AR technology?
  • Could you use an AR app like Lookator to make it easy for students to find the wifi hotspots on campus?
  • Is there complex equipment in your library? Perhaps a video demonstration could provide assistance to customers if it were available at the point of need via AR?
  • Do you serve clients from different language backgrounds?  Could you create an AR guide in their preferred language to help them orient to the library environment and services?
  • Are you engaging with your community to plan a new library space?  Could you let them move the furniture around using an AR app like Augment [iOS version andAndroid  version]?
  • Could you overlay local history film and audio clips into your local environment using an AR app?
  • What would your summer reading club be like if you incorporated AR features?

Thing 9: QR Codes

8 Jul

They’re popping up everywhere! Those little boxes that you can scan with a mobile phone.  Welcome to the world of QR Codes – Quick Response Codes.

So what do these boxes/codes look like?  Here’s one:

ANZ 23 Mobile Things

(If you know how to scan QR Codes, why not find out what this links to?)

Let’s find out a little more about these boxes – but don’t look too closely, as you might start seeing pictures in them. 🙂

What are they?  What do they do?  Who invented them?

QR Codes were originally invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese company that is a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation in their quest to track car parts during the automotive assembly process (“QR Code”, 2013).   They are 2 dimensional barcodes that provide substantially more flexibility than standard barcodes.  Standard barcodes can only contain 20 alpha-numeric characters (Struyk, 2012).  QR Codes can contain 7,089 numeric or 4,296 alphanumeric characters, including non-alphabet characters, such as Japanese and Chinese characters (Gazin, 2011) .   This gives much greater flexibility.  QR Codes boomed throughout Japan in the 1990s, as people recognised the marketing potential of them.   They then gained huge popularity in the USA and other parts of the world through the 2000s (Pitney Bowes, 2012).

They can provide links to company web addresses, competition pages, information sign-up pages, email contact forms etc.  Unlike barcodes, they can be read from any direction (Denso ADC, 2011).  Some QR codes even interact with your smartphone so that your phone automatically dials a certain number (Allen, 2013).  QR codes in magazines and/or books often take readers to additional online content.

Here’s a great video introduction to QR Codes:

Or the QR code for this video:

QR Codes

Where might you see them?

You can see QR Codes anywhere where a company, organisation, or person wants to market a product to, provide more information to, or connect with, other people. Possible locations for QR codes include marketing posters, billboards, static displays, items of mail, business cards, QR code tattoos on skin, a wide range of products, product packaging, labels, information signs for tourists, t-shirts, stickers, wine bottles, on teachers webpages and worksheets etc. etc.  They’ve even been used on tombstones, to provide information about the person interred! (Santos, 2013). (I’m sure there are more places where QR codes are seen… where else have you seen a QR code?) QR codes can also be generated on your smartphone for discount vouchers, tickets and other entry documentation, then when you arrive at the place the voucher/ticket etc. is for, the shopkeeper can scan the QR code on your phone.  This can be used for store discounts as well.

Here’s some interesting places that QR codes might be found:

20 Interesting Things: QR Codes (Slideshare presentation)

QR Code:
20 Interesting Things

26 Creative Ways to use QR Codes

QR Code:
26 Creative Ways to use QR codes

Are New Zealanders using them?

QR Codes are hugely popular in the USA and in Japan.  However, they have been relatively slow to take off in New Zealand (Harris, 2012).  Having said that, the use of QR codes is increasing rapidly.  International tourists recognise QR codes instantly, so it’s a potentially great marketing method for the tourism industry.  The potential is there in many other environments as well, including in libraries!

See this article from Debbie Mayo-Smith on the potential for QR codes in New Zealand.

How easy is it to create QR codes?

QR codes are REALLY easy to create.  You just have to post the web address of whatever you want the QR code to link to into one of the hundreds code creators on the Internet.  Here’s a very basic New Zealand based QR code creator.  http://www.qrcodegenerator.co.nz

Kaywa is another popular option http://qrcode.kaywa.com

I also like http://goqr.me/

Do you have a favourite?

How can you read QR codes?

There are many QR reader apps available for all the varieties of smartphone that are out there.  Some of the most popular are:

Quick Scan Pro  Quick Scan Pro

Scan  Scan

Red Laser  Red Laser

Bakodo  Bakodo

QR Droid  QR Droid

Some interesting things about QR codes

Here’s some interesting facts about QR Codes and their use.

10 Cool Facts about QR Codes


10 cool facts about QR codes

What possibilities are there for libraries in the use of QR codes?

A number of libraries are already using QR codes very successfully in meeting the needs of their customers.

Sarah-Jane Saravani from Wintec gave an interesting presentation on their use of QR codes in the Wintec Library at the LIANZA Centenary Conference in Dunedin – December 2010.  Her slides are here:

Saravani presentation on QR Codes

The library at Waimea Intermediate School in Richmond, Nelson, used QR codes during the Rugby World Cup by putting codes on some rugby books so that school pupils could come to the library, scan the codes and learn more about the rugby teams.  This was so successful, that the school librarian, Annette McKitrick, used QR codes again for a Christmas display.

See QR Code Christmas Display.

Turning overseas, here’s a recently published article on the use of QR codes at the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard College Library.

QR Codes have also been used in public libraries overseas.  Here’s a video of how the Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois, USA is using QR Codes in their library. 

Here’s a web link that gives examples of a range of libraries have done with QR codes.

Really thinking outside the box, here’s an article about QR codes replacing a library in the Austrian town of Klagenfurt.

What about your libraries, 23 Things peeps?  Share your experiences with QR codes in responses below.

But is this just a passing fad, or a brilliant marketing and outreach tool?

There are views both ways.  Here’s the view of someone who definitely believes that they are a passing fad.  But this blogger still says that we should use them as part of a mobile marketing toolbox.  This blogger is also quite critical of QR codes.  A number of other people feel that QR Codes are already being replaced by new technology.  However, there are others who think that they are absolutely here to stay and offer a huge amount to anybody wanting to connect with other people, particularly in a promotional environment.  For example, see Game Changer or Passing Fad and QR Codes – passing fad or here to stay?

What do you think?  Why do you think they haven’t taken off in New Zealand?


1) Are QR Codes just the latest fad?

2) Do you have any stories of trying out QR codes in your library that either have or haven’t worked?

3) Are QR codes too difficult to scan?  What problems have you had?

4) How could libraries across the board get more creative with QR codes?

5) What do you think of the ‘QR codes replacing a public library’ concept in Klagenfurt, Austria?

6) QR Code links are just as susceptible to broken links as stand weblinks.  Is this a problem?

Why not put add a response below to tell us all!


Allen, M. (2013, January 21). 6 awesome ways to use QR codes (call tracking is one;) [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.logmycalls.com/bid/261243/6-Awesome-Ways-to-Use-QR-Codes-Call-Tracking-is-One

Gazin, G. (2011, June 21). A QR code tells a much story than a barcode. Troy Media. Retrieved from http://www.troymedia.com/2011/06/21/a-qr-code-tells-a-much-bigger-story-than-a-barcode/

Harris, C. (2012, July 24). Consumers crack the QR code. Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/7339671/Consumers-crack-the-QR-code

QR Code. (2013). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1822984/QR-Code

Pitney Bowes. (2012). Getting ahead of the emerging QR Code marketing trend: A Pitney Bowes report into current levels of QR Code usage across Europe and the U.S. Retrieved from http://s3.amazonaws.com/pb-web/pdf/smb/pitney-bowes-2012-qr-codes-use-us-europe-report.pdf

Santos, S. (2011, March 15). 10 things you’ve always wanted to know about QR codes [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.stikkymedia.com/blog/10-things-you%E2%80%99ve-always-wanted-know-about-qr-codes

Struyk, T. (2012). Introduction to QR Codes. Retrieved from http://www.techopedia.com/2/27408/trends/an-introduction-to-qr-codes


Thanks Adrian for a great introduction to QR Codes.  We are having another twitter chat this week, and will post information about it this afternoon.

Thing 6: YouTube + Screencasts

11 Jun
The One Hour Per Second video is YouTube’s statistics as of January 2012. With 10 decades worth of video uploaded every day, YouTube’s usage via mobile is accounting for 1/4 of global views. With hundreds of millions of devices wracking up 1 billion views a day, YouTube is the 3rd most popular website after Facebook and Google.
Other than Youtube, Vimeo, Vine, ViddySocial CamAnimotouStream are some of the various video apps and tools. Screencasting is another whole kettle of fish.
Screencasting is traditionally capturing video of a screen for training or educational purposes. One of the screencasts I regularly watch are gamers screencasts, of their screen as they play through a game. While some smartphones give you the ability to capture screenshots, there are few legitimate apps. Much of the software is only desktop recording.
So in this Thing, we will check out some of the different ways libraries are using video to not only engage with clients, provide services,  general information and event programming while still having fun.


You have probably seen some great uses of YouTube for libraries.

But what about something new like Vine ?


Beginners: Record a video on your mobile device and upload a YouTube video

  • you will need to create a YouTube account to upload your video
  • you could try using the YouTube Capture by Google app if you are using iOS or download the Vine app or use any other video platform

More experienced: Challenge yourself to create a video using Vine (using #anz23mthings when you share it), Animoto  (iOS and Android apps available) or Xtranormal

Bonus Points:

  • Create a screencast video of a regular library task and commentate the video like a documentary.


This post is a remix of 23mobilethings.net Thing 6.

Thing 5: Photos + Maps + Apps: Historypin / WhatWasThere / SepiaTown

3 Jun

Thing 5 provides a great way to engage with your community, and can open up this interaction across the world. Last week was all about looking at maps, but now we get to throw in photos, history, and personal stories.

Historypin, WhatWasThere, and SepiaTown are three sites that allow you – as an individual or an institution – to overlay new and historic photographs onto Google Maps to recreate the way places were in past, show how they are now, encourage people to share their stories, and to create something of a digital memory bank. When you combine these sites with smartphones you have a fun and interactive way to share collections, knowledge, and memories with your community.


  • Download the Historypin and/or WhatWasThere apps to your phone. Compare these with the desktop versions and SepiaTown (no mobile app).What can you do on the desktop version that you can’t do with the app, and vice versa?
  • Can you find any photographs uploaded in your area?
  • Take a photo with your mobile and pin it (upload it) to the map. What information do you need to pin? Can you get the location right?

Historypin screenshot
Historypin screenshot by Katrina McAlpine via CC license on Flickr


  • Go for a walk with the Historypin app. Use the map to find photos near you. If there aren’t any on the map take photos of local buildings with your phone and upload them.
  • Find a photo on the map and try taking a ‘Historypin Repeat’ – overlaying the old photograph with one taken on the spot with your phone.
  • Create a tour or a collection on Historypin. You don’t have to upload your own photos to do this, you can use photos uploaded by other people. Create this around something you are interested in, or what you think your community might be interested in, for example schools, libraries, monuments, or sports fields. There is plenty of information in the Historypin How To Guides to help you get started.
  • Can you contribute a story to a photo on Historypin? This might be in your local area, from a holiday, your home town, or your own subject speciality. Can you do this from the mobile app?


  • How could you use Historypin to engage with your community? Could you work with a group like a local historical society, volunteers, or teens to upload photographs, share stories, and add their perspectives to Historypin?
  • Could you integrate Historypin with a particular event or collection in your library? Could you create a Historypin collection or a tour to move outside of the library walls?
  • What happens with the photographs you are uploading to these sites? Do you still own the content? Are there any issues with copyright?
  • How long does it take to pin a photo or create a tour? How will you maintain your content? How will you respond if people add stories to your photographs?
  • Are there other ways to encourage engagement with your community through photographs? This could be a project such as Mosman Memories; using Metadata Games to enhance your photographic information; or creating photographic blog pages using a site such as Tumblr that your community can contribute to.

From Abigail: That fantastic introduction was written by @katreeeena. Keep an eye out for this week’s email, which will have all the details of our interactive activity this week- hint: it is based in Facebook, but will probably slide over into Twitter as well!

This post is a remix of 23mobilethings.net Thing 5.

The Golden Age of Education

Highly Effective Tools and Strategies for Educators

Glutey Girl

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things


Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Social Media & Politics

Views and comments on political social media

The Octopus Librarian

A curious, friendly, multi-tasking librarian with a tentacle in every pie

Kiwi Librarian

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things

Where the Rivers Meet the Sea

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things

Learn, do, teach…too

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things


How would you Hack Library School?

Bonito Club


There she goes

Bookgrrl's Blog!


librarians who dare to do different

Catherine's Online Learning Journal

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things

The world is quiet here

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things

ANZ 23 Mobile Things

A space for Australians and New Zealanders to learn the 23 Mobile Things