It’s been another exciting year of Sora and OverDrive Marketplace enhancements. In 2023, we thoughtfully updated or introduced new features focused on personalizing the student reading experience, engaging more readers with your digital collection, and ensuring educators have access to the data necessary to make informed decisions about purchasing and assess student reading progress. It’s hard to choose just one favorite, so we won’t!

To be fair, there were many updates that just missed this list of highlights. Honorable mentions go to improved navigation of billing accounts, streamlined report options in Marketplace, and the addition of audiobook duration filters in Sora. (If you’ve ever taken a road trip with kids in tow, perhaps you also understand the small but mighty joy of using this new filtering option to find an audiobook exactly as long as your drive.)

Without further ado, let’s revisit the most impactful product updates of 2023.

1. Premium reviews in Marketplace

Book reviews from trusted industry sources are an important component of collection development practices and policies in schools across the globe. Starred reviews save time by helping educators identify high-quality titles they might consider adding to their Sora collection.

Now you can. You can even set criteria so your search results only show titles with a minimum number of review sources, helping you identify the best books for your school.

2. New languages in Sora

Providing an inclusive learning environment is important for student success. This year, Sora proudly added Korean, Portuguese, and Māori to its multilingual interface, helping more students navigate their academic paths in their language of choice.

If you’ve been practicing a new language in your spare time, try navigating Sora in one of its 13 supported languages. If you get stuck and can’t find your way back, just follow these steps—it’s okay, we won’t tell!

3. Student dashboard updates

The wonders of learning in the digital age never cease to amaze: long gone are the days of taped-together paperbacks filled with sticky notes that undoubtedly flutter away or must be removed at the end of teaching unit so the book can be handed off to the next reader. We love that Sora solves these issues with built-in annotations that stay with students throughout their academic careers. Not only do learners benefit from these features, but when they read in Sora, teachers can assess progress and encourage reading growth. This year, we introduced several improvements to the student dashboard.

Longer data retention

Schools can now choose to retain student reading data for up to two years, allowing you to analyze year-over-year progress and long-term reading habits.

Display checkouts from content bundles

If your school takes advantage of reserving and bundling content, you can now opt for checkouts from those bundles to appear under Assignments in the dashboard.

OverDrive Advantage account-level dashboards

Now Advantage accounts can set up dashboards, too. This means more insight into student reading time, frequency, and progression through titles—data that’s unreliable at best or simply impossible to obtain with print texts.

If you haven’t set up a dashboard yet, follow these steps to get started.

 4. Shelf talkers

We all want students to feel like Sora is the digital extension of your school’s physical library, and what better way to achieve that than putting student and staff voices directly into the app? This year, we introduced shelf talkers, which can be used to share notable quotations from books, recommend staff or student favorites, pose trivia questions, share school events, and more!

Check out some fun examples below, familiarize yourself with suggested best practices, and set up some today to connect with your readers.

5. Metered Access Manager

It’s hard to contain our excitement about this brand-new purchasing tool, and we hope you feel the same. Metered Access (MA) Manager is designed to simplify the process of finding and repurchasing MA titles with a single, easy-to-use tool. MA Manager lets you create customized plans based on specific criteria like format, price, time or checkouts remaining, audience, language, and more.

Create as many plans as you’d like, view results on demand, manually build carts from plan results, or choose to have carts created for you automatically. You can even weed titles from the tool, eliminating an extra step in the management of your digital collection.

6. Sora Notifications

You asked, we delivered! Without doubt, notifications for available holds in Sora was one of this year’s most momentous updates. Students and staff can now receive notifications in browsers and on devices, ensuring they never miss their next great read. Enable notifications today so you don’t miss any available holds on titles you’re hoping to enjoy over winter break.

As we wrap up 2023, we want to express our continued gratitude for your partnership and the valuable feedback you provide that helps shape our products. We hope these updates bring more reading joy to your school community, and we thank you for being part of the journey. Happy reading!