Products that make .

Empower Book Sellers

We provide services that enhance the natural ecosystem between publishers, distributors, readers and book buyers. We concentrate on simple, contextual data that addresses many needs.

Engage K12 Readers

We are former teachers who created this app to articulate tasks and skills that took place in our classrooms. We believe that by engaging community, we can make a powerful resource that changes the way that readers find books.

Drexel Superstars

Harris and Palencsar were both recently honored by the alma mater that brought them together. Harris received the 2016 Special Distinction Drexel University Alumni Award and Palencsar got a nod for Outstanding Educator from Drexel’s School of Education.

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Jay Jordan, Advisor

Unbound Concepts today announced that Jay Jordan, the widely respected President and CEO Emeritus of the non-profit Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), has been named a member of the company’s newly formed Board of Advisors.

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Corpus Magnus

It’s easy enough to understand why Curious George books are first grade fare and why Camus is often saved for the 12th grade. But what about all the books in between?

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Publisher's Advantage

A publisher can surface important ideas in their titles through Artifact, a librarian can share the Artifacts on that publishers’ title and school district buyers can access that information.

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Baker & Taylor Partnership

Baker & Taylor incorporates Unbound Concepts' Artifact Access™ into TitleSource 360, providing thousands of libraries, schools and retailers with Artifact search.

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First Book Partnership

The endeavor will pair Unbound Concepts’ Artifact app with First Book’s existing marketplace in order to match low-income students with personalized reading recommendations.

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Katie Palencsar

Katie Palencsar

CEO, Founder

Katie brings her education industry knowledge and teaching and curriculum experience to this new venture. Previously, Katie worked for educational institutions including New York City Department of Education, Savannah Country Day, and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. Katie received her BA from Point Park University and her MS from Drexel University. In 2012 and 2013, she was named an Emerging Innovator of the Year by 99u/General Electric, Under 30 CEO 14 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch, and by Smart CEO as an Emerging Technology Innovator.

Joe McAvoy

Joe McAvoy

Joe is a veteran of the staffing and software industries, specializing in sustainable growth, organizational development, start-ups and building winning teams. Prior to joining the UC, he was SVP of American Cyber Systems, as well as the Vice President of Corporate Development of venture backed leader in learning management systems and educational technology. He served in various roles within a large privately held leader in human capital solutions, technology services and staffing and has been recognized for his growth strategies, including his contributions to small and minority owned businesses.

Sarah Rohrbach

Sarah Rohrbach

Sarah brings a background in teaching and curriculum development to the Unbound Concepts team. She most recently taught English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and previously taught for non-profits CASA of Maryland and Baltimore City Community College in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area. Sarah graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in English Literature.

“Teachers are expected to know subject, pedagogy, assessment, and the differentiated needs of their students.” says Katie Palencsar, former NYC public school teacher. “But how can we expect every teacher to know what is inside every tradebook? Who is going to help teachers match students to books with the prescriptive reading levels and specific interests that are necessary for success?”

These are the questions that Palencsar has been asking for years, first as a teacher, later as the founder and CEO of Unbound Concepts a software company that creates search criteria for books. “If you don’t get books of interest into a student’s hands,” she asserts, “you risk losing them as a reader forever.”

Palencsar remembers how she depended on the kindness of colleagues to help her find books that had examples of ideas that she was teaching. She also remembers reading hundreds of books in her classroom library and creating elaborate charts of topics, so that she could remember and recommend them to her students.

“Nothing improves a classroom lesson more than great examples from books.” Katie Palencsar

Now she leads a company that offers free software to classroom teachers to solve the same problems without requiring help from colleagues. Unbound Concepts created an app called Artifact that greatly expands the information that can be articulated about a book.

“Once you think of a book as an archeological site filled with ideas and characteristics that can be surfaced, then you understand Artifact” she says. “We look for key K12 topics and elements in stories. Once we’ve cataloged them, it is easy to search for a book, or to browse through lists of books with shared characteristics.”

Palencsar preaches a simple idea: “Nothing improves a classroom lesson more than great examples from books.” If she wants to teach a lesson about prediction, then she wants three or four books with examples of prediction. If she wants to teach a lesson on storytelling devices, then she wants two or three stories where the device is applied.

The software is free to classrooms. Instead of charging schools, Unbound Concepts offers paid services to publishers to create artifacts for their books. The solution provides opportunities for authors, publishers, and distributors who have purposefully created and curated K12-appropriate content to surface their considerations and efforts in context-rich artifacts. Both Baker & Taylor’s TS360 and KnowledgePoint are in the process of enhancing their powerful search tools with the inclusion of artifacts..

Started by a NYC School Teacher

Katie knew that reading the wrong book could easily turn a student off from reading.

Why this app?

Katie felt lucky to have colleagues who shared their deep knowledge of specific titles for specific students. But what happens if you don’t find those colleagues?

How do you make money?

We sell services and products to publishers who want to align their content to things happening in the K12 classroom.

Why do publishers need you?

We tackled issues like live, instant, single-source metadata across an ecosystem that had not been addressed by the industry.

Follow the Pedagogy

We started with the root of reading pedagogy: identifying ideas in stories. It just so happens this makes good teaching, learning, and business sense.

Readers teach readers

Ask any reader if they want to read a spotless, new book or if they would prefer a battered one with marginal notes from a trusted friend.

Judy Harris

Board of Advisors

Accomplished, proactive, experienced senior executive with demonstrated success in management, marketing, sales and digital transitions. Recognized as a strong leader and mentor. 
A visionary with strong general management leadership skills, effective in leading development of strategy and operating plans. Focused on connecting strategy to execution of tactical initiatives. CEO of Carson-Dellosa Publishing; CEO of Smarterville ( Sunburst Technology & Hooked Phonics); President and CEO of Primedia (Education Business) Channel One Networks & Film Media Group; Executive Vice President of PBS Businesses.

Heather Gilchrest

Board of Directors

Heather Gilchrist is the Founder of and Program Director at Socratic Labs. Located in New York City, Socratic Labs is part accelerator program for learning technology startups and part community for educational technology companies and all stakeholders in education.

Heather was the founding Director of Academics at Grockit, the social learning company behind the world’s first massively multiplayer online learning game (and its newest product, Learnist). Her journey with Grockit served as entry point to the world of startups and edtech.

Jay Jordan

Board of Advisors

Mr. Jordan, who served as the nonprofit Online Computer Library Center’s fourth president, led the global library membership organization from May 1998 until June 2013, when he assumed his current emeritus status. During his tenure, OCLC’s WorldCat database of bibliographic information grew from 38 million records and 668 million location listings to more than 300 million records and over 2 billion location listings. The number of participating libraries increased from 30,000 to more than 72,000, and participating institutions outside the United States grew by 3,200 in 64 countries to more than 16,000 in 170 countries.