The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America – Initial Review

Sibley eGuide iPhone app

North America’s most popular field guide is now available as an app on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Here is an initial review, focusing on the meat of the app – the species accounts. A full review will follow.

Species account from the Sibley eGuide iPhone app

The majority of the screen is devoted to the art, with the text on the bottom. You can scroll up and down to see additional images, and tap to enlarge them. The text is also scrollable.

Sample map from the Sibley eGuide iPhone app

The map button replaces the bird images with a map. You cannot scroll, but can tap to zoom in slightly. Tap the button again to deselect the map and again show the bird.

Sound menu from the Sibley eGuide iPhone app

Tapping the sound button brings up a list of available sounds. The selected one is automatically played.

Sample text from the Sibley eGuide iPhone app

Tapping the text makes it appear full screen, making it much easier to read.

The app is a fairly straightforward and faithful port of the Sibley print guides, both the “big” Sibley and the two regional editions. Almost all of the art is included. As best as I can tell, all of the images under each account in the book is here, but some of the sidebar/vignette images and hybrids are not. The maps are the updated ones from the regional guides. The text is mostly from the regional guides, although some additional text has been taken from the “big” Sibley where appropriate.

Overall, I am pleased to see that just about everything (including the introduction text and topography diagrams!) from the printed guides has been included in the app. However, I have found a few things that should have been included, but were not.

The app’s content, therefore, is outstanding. But some of the implementation details and features, such as the navigation, searching, and filtering capabilities, leave much to be desired. I will elaborate in the full review.

Continue to the full review of The Sibley eGuide

Posted by Grant McCreary on March 23rd, 2010.

Category: Quick Picks

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