Project Proposal – iTextSearch

Social Justice Idea

Any app that delivers positive change and promotes social interaction is an app for social justice.  People are able to help each other with technology; especially those on the pursuit for knowledge. Educating, even through the most basic form of books, is crucial to developing an understanding of the world we live in.  In college, we have opportunity at our fingertips in book resources and recommendations for class. Ultimately, these books will teach us great things, but there is always one complaint. “Books are too expensive!” I plan on designing an app that allows students, from one or between multiple universities, the ability to communicate with others about college textbooks.  Eventually, this idea could expand into the public market of people interested in reading, but I intend to make this a college student app. Using ISBN and a profile based interface, students can show what books they’re searching for, trading, or selling for a profit no greater than $20. I think this app would allow students an alternative choice to the “buy the book or don’t buy the book” debate. Students come from all different financial backgrounds and regardless of what’s on paper may not be able to get the books they need.  This app aims to make reading easier for all of us.

App Design

I plan on setting up the app as a profile system. You must register with university information by providing a student email and password. This is your information to access the app, after you confirm registration through the email. On your profile, you are placed into a network based on university and can trade, sell, or buy books. No sale is to exceed $20 dollars, and trade is encouraged. People with extra books at home can list them for free to simply share a good read. Books would appear as basic image and title, based off of ISBN. By entering ISBN or title names in a search field, the user is able to look for related books and college text. For privacy reasons, all communication would be generated through the app. Text messaging isn’t necessary to make a deal between users. A more “interested or not” approach could cut out excess communication. The app would then generate a list of “safe,” locations to meet. (ie: Temple U would have choices like “in front of information desk at the SAC” or “Middle of Liacouras Walk”) After a location and time are set, between 8am-5pm/Mon-Sat, the deal either happens or not. Regardless, both users are prompted to rate the exchange, quality of book, and other fields. This rating system will hopefully weed out the unreliable.

There are some privacy kinks and “black market,” situations I’d have to rule out and don’t have solutions to those problems yet.

Field Research

My field reporting showed that many students use the SAC as a mutual meeting ground. This prompted my idea of safety in areas with many students. The mid-semester complaints of college textbooks and previous knowledge of pricing guided me to an app that promoted reading and books, but allowed them to be more accessible. Most of us are barely into our 20s and not in shape to withstand the price of books. Books are not as easily calculable for loan purposes either. Designing an app to potentially solve a mutual college problem by helping each other, seemed like the obvious choice.

Visual Design

I plan on coding out the app with the help of a friend and showing a semi-presentable product by the deadline.

If not, I will design the interface via Photoshop and present with power point or poster.

Research Articles

Project Timeline


I still need to research and find more support from the professional community. Hopefully meeting with Professor DeVoe will help.


Julian Castillo


One thought on “Project Proposal – iTextSearch”

  1. I like the idea of this, but you could research the social justice angle quite a bit more (you might look at Caitlyn’s proposal as an example). It’s also unclear why you are requiring personally identifiable information. You may have a argument for why that’s necessary, but be sure your clear on what that argument is (you do note privacy concerns but still require people to use their school email address).

    In general this project requires a lot more research on the impact of textbook costs on students as well as perhaps the publishing industry. You might also see if you can find any information on similar book sharing or exchange systems (perhaps even used bookstore models). It would also be worth seeing if any similar apps exist already.

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