Two Mobile Apps to Keep You Up-to-Date.

Apps Used by a Librarian “behind-the-stacks”.

by Mark D. Puterbaugh, Information Services Librarian

300_345983-WWith the busy pace of life today, it is hard to keep up with the latest news and trends important to your academic and professional life. However, there are tools to help you organize and access the information that is most important to you. Presented here are two mobile apps that I use.  These two are among the hundreds of excellent tools that help people keep track of the subjects most important to their work and interests. The two mobile apps mentioned here are available for both Android and iOS devices. You can download to your device from either the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play.

SkyGrid

This an excellent mobile app that easily permits you to read the news that you want the most. The producers of SkyGrid call it a tool for “real time news curation.”1 The mobile app loads with a preset selection of news searches in business, health, media, technology and sports. The search engine behind the app was designed to present the reader with the “fastest trending news”1 from the most reliable web resources. A look at health information reveals that it is harvested from dependable websites such as http://www.mayoclinic.com, http://www.webmd.com and http://www.medscape.com. Political news stories are drawn from CNN, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Science and technology articles are listed from http://www.sciencedaily.com and http://www.phys.org among other reliable sources. All this is presented in a pleasing graphical display.

You can setup your own subject searches or specify a particular resource for SkyGrid to harvest. I have my SkyGrid set to search http://www.phys.org exclusively in order to grab all the latest news articles from that site. I also have the app set to look for information on the latest news about Android and iOS technologies. More importantly I’ve set SkyGrid to look for trending reports from the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey team. (GO FLYERS!)

Finally, SkyGrid allows you to share the news you find with your friends on social media. The app connects to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and many other social media tools. SkyGrid provides an excellent means to follow the latest trends and keep everyone in your social group informed.

Read by QXMD

181_772575-WRead by QxMD is geared to a more academic audience, focusing on health and life sciences. As the producers state the mobile app “provides a single place to discover new research, read outstanding topic reviews and search PubMed.”2 The mobile app presents a simple interface that allows searching by journal title, subject collections or keywords. The app displays article information within a “personalized digital” journal format that allows you to flip through titles and abstracts quickly and efficiently.

Access full-text articles through the university’s subscription, there is a place to configure a proxy service, or from open access publishers. You can download any pdf file to the app to read and store on your mobile device. Additional tools within the app allow you to organize and review your collection of articles. The Read app also allows you to share article information via email, Twitter and Facebook.

Finally, Read is not limited to the literature in health and the life sciences. The app searches a wide variety of journals in the sciences and technology. Using the keyword search feature I keep up with the latest academic articles on exoplanets and dinosaur paleontology just for fun. (What a nerd?)

Download and enjoy.

References:

  1. http://www.skygrid.com
  2. http://www.qxmd.com
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