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Get the most out of Reference USA subscription

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference on January 28, 2012 by Carrie
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Do your customers know the value of the great information you provide to them?

Business owners, entrepreneurs, real estate agents, researchers, reporters, students, movers, and job seekers can use your public library’s subscription to ReferenceUSA to access data for many purposes.

Here are a few highlights from the training presented by Scott Lea on Thursday, Jan. 26 at East Shore:

  • Is your library’s data correct in ReferenceUSA?  This is a sample file of all data about public libraries in our district that is collected in ReferenceUSA that was downloaded on January 27, 2011.  It looks like some of the data needs to be updated:  Detail2012012721514131 We learned how.   Use the Data Feedback button on the record to provide updates to the information you find.
  • You can refer patrons or library staff directly to 800-808-1113 for advanced assistance in using the resource.  A live person will answer the phone from 8-6 Monday-Friday.
  • The information in this resource comes from many official sources: directories, census, post office, power companies, trade journals, SEC filings, web mining of data, and more.
  • The database is updated on the 3rd Thursday of each month.  There is a last updated on date on each record.  Company news is updated every 15 minutes!
  • Job Seekers can use the data to create lists of businesses they may want to work for and to find contact names for human resources or specific departments.  The data can also answer an interview questions such as: “What do you know about our company?”  80% of all jobs are filled without being posted.  A proactive job seeker can find all the companies in a specific industry in a desired geographic area.
  • Use ReferenceUSA to generate a marketing list to generate leads.
  • Check out the Competitor’s Report: 10 closest geographic locations in your industry.
  • TIP:  Don’t use too many categories to limit.  Just use Metro area or State, not both.
  • To download or print, select the records.  Public library accounts limit how many records can be downloaded at a time.   Only libraries and government agencies can purchase this product.
  • There are great training resources online.  There are some short video tutorials.
  • You can also direct customers and staff who assist with advanced research to the online webinars hosted by ReferenceUSA.

Attendees should take this survey to evaluate the training they attended.

CALD Online Resource Meeting

Posted in Events - Library Meetings, Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference on January 04, 2012 by Carrie
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Event Date: January 17, 2012

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What:  The Capital Area Library District Online Resource Committee will meet to discuss shared e-resource decisions and next actions.  The proposed agenda is open for comment, addition, and deletion in the committee’s secure wiki.

When: January 17 from 2-4

Where: ESA (likely meeting room A, could be B or lab–waiting confirmation)

Note:  If you can’t attend in person, tell Carrie and then feel free to phone call in.  We can also set up a conference phone or skype connection if you’d prefer.

Why:  Our group is discussing online resources.   We have most of our discussion and interaction on a wiki, but this is a chance to meet in person. 

Who:  Our committee is composed of representatives from all libraries in our area.  Ask your manager if you can attend/contribute if you have strong opinions about online resources and databases.

Is your library ready for an ebook holiday?

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Technology on December 20, 2011 by Carrie
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The libraries in the Capital Area Library District all have access to a huge and constantly growing collection of ebook resources that are licensed for customers to use on the OverDrive platform that our libraries share.

Be prepared to serve your customers with these ideas:

  • Encourage staff to visit OverDrive’s Online Learning Center for the latest training on your digital collection. Suggested courses for assisting patrons include Just the Basics, OverDrive Mobile and the Kindle Demo. Staff can view the recorded sessions anytime, anywhere.
  • Take a look at the latest list of compatible devices and formats in the Device Resource Center.
  • Print the eBook How-to Guide and Kindle Book How-to Guide to have on hand at the reference and circulation desks for staff to use as a resource when assisting patrons and/or distribute to interested patrons. 
  • Online Marketing Kit: Take advantage of the many resources available in the Online Marketing Kit to get the word out to patrons that the library offers eBooks and digital audiobooks for their new devices.

Our district began this collection in November of 2008 with downloadable audiobooks only.  We added ebooks in November 2010.  Here are some Fast Facts about our service: 

  • There are currently over 4,000 titles in the collection.
  • Since inception through the end of Nov. 2011, the libraries have spent $114,675.03 on content. 
  • Number of copies by general format:    Audiobook: 1,463;  eBook: 2,510; HarperCollins ebooks with limited license:  81  Maximum access Disney Collection:  780 
  • Checkouts: 47,617 Since inception (Current: 1,460)  This breaks down into audiobook: 25,819 (Current: 381); eBook: 21,798 (Current: 1,079)
  • Unique Library Patrons Checking Out Titles: 5,713 Overall (Current on Dec. 20: 873 Patrons)

What about Disney Digital Books?  For the twelve months, through Dec. 12, 2012, your library customers will have licensed access to an always available/simultaneous access collection of Disney Books.  Download, print, and share this flyer  (PSDisneyFlyer-Design) with parents, teachers, and child-caregivers who have a computer with internet.  Try Disney books with a magic pen that will read stories aloud or let kids have great interactive learning activities in Disney Online Books.

Uncovering the Hidden Job Market & Business Cultivation with ReferenceUSA

Posted in Events - Training, Resources - Online Resources on December 15, 2011 by Carrie
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Event Date: January 26, 2012

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If your library subscribes to the online resource from ReferenceUSA, please consider sending a representative to attend a workshop presented by our account manager, Scott Lea.    

When:  Thursday, January 26 from 1:30-2:30, though the representative will be around before and after for additional Q & A.

Where:  ESA, likely Room A, pending final room confirmation

What:  Scott Lea will host a session to get your staff excited to use the resource so that our library customers can the most value from our subscription.   After attending the workshop you will:

  • Know the answers to any questions you have about the resource
  • Have completed 1 hour of Continuing Education 
  • Understand many of the ways you can use ReferenceUSA to help job searchers
  • Understand better how to use the resource to help customers interested in small business developmetn and market research. 
  • Be able to share the tips and tricks to success with other staff in your library
  • Know how to better promote the use of this resource with library clientele.

Before the session, check out the new ReferenceUSA Resource Center.  Here you can order marketing materials and bookmarks, view the webinar schedule, and link to a video tutorial library on YouTube to learn more about the resources. 

No Cost, District Workshop, 1 hour of Continuing Education Credit for attendees.

Register Today:  Walk-ins would be welcome, but to have an accurate count of how many to expect, please register:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReferenceUSATraining

Returning early: ebook answers #1

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference on November 26, 2011 by Carrie
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I watch and respond to a number of customer comments on ebooks.  Here’s an answer to one of the most popular questions that customers ask.

Q: How can I return a digital library item early?

A: My first answer is: That depends.

  • Audio files can’t be returned early.   I can’t take the time to explain it in detail, but it’s just a part of the business at this time.   (Note: There’s much to learn about .wma and .mp3 files, but suffice it to say that audiobook contnet for libraries in digital format for download from Overdrive is very different than ebook content and need their own set of instructions.)
  • If it’s a simple ebook file in epub, pdf, or kindle formats, it can be returned early in a variety of ways depending on which device and/or computer you are using.   You need to read the instructions on every screen in order to be successful. Are you doing that?  Do you read the whole screen and understand the question before you click Yes or No or Accept?  Did you read the terms of use?  Do you know what you signed up for?  The library encourages you to use information and to be aware of your choices.

Kindle Early Return of Library Book

Login to your Amazon account.

Click on Manage Your Kindle

See the title in your library, complete an action from the menu:

It’s returned!   By default, you can keep the title in your library to remind you about it.   Amazon makes it easy for you to buy it if you wanted to access it again or if you didn’t have enough time to enjoy it while you had it checked out for 7 or 14 days.  Maybe you can borrow it again when you have more time to enjoy it, or you can delete it to keep a smaller list.  The choice is yours.  You manage your own account.  Amazon is content you are using their technology and that you’ve agreed to be their customer.

Adobe Digital Editions Early Return of Library Book

Open Adobe Digital Editions.

Go to library view.  

Click on the little arrow on the corner of the book cover or near the title.

Just like with the kindle account, adobe digital editions library keeps expired titles in a list in your library until you delete them, and you can’t access them again without re-borrowing and downloading again.  There’s no option for purchase from within Adobe Digital Editions.

Thanks for learning how to return a library item early.

Tip: It is a good practice to return digital ebooks when you are done.  It will automatically “return” to the library when its license expires, but ebooks on our Overdrive digital platform are just like physical books in that a license is issued for one customer to use it at a time; if there’s a waiting list for your ebook, returning it early gets it in the hands of the next customer on the list faster.

If you have a digital device and want to share tips and screenshots to help other library customers learn how to use it, feel free to share information in the comments below or ask me how you can contribute posts to this blog.   It’s fun and easy.

eBook thoughts from the online conference

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Technology, Trendspotting on October 14, 2011 by Carrie
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Soon, we’ll share links to view the archives of the recent online Ebooks conference presentations with those in our district who are interested. The group enjoyed thinking about the situation and had some good conversations too.

For now, if you missed the event and still want some knowledge, read a few of these articles.

Here are the first two responses to the evaluation from our group that had a site license:
-”Folks will come to us” no longer true. We need to go to them physically and digitally. Ebook mobile lab went into stores and restaurants to show people how to download e-books. Librarians of the future will not be curators of content but Content Collaborators.

-1. As public libraries, I think we must answer the question, “What experiences can we offer to eBook users who routinely buy books and don’t use libraries?” And do something about it, FAST! 2. We’re in a “Catch 22″ situation, we need to increase eBook use to justify the expense of selection, but we can’t increase use unless we have the books that potential customers want. Even if we implemented a “whiz-bang” promotional campaign for loaning eBooks, the result is likely to be potential patrons turned off by lack of availability of titles they want; immediately. Immediate gratification is one of the best features of eBooks. 3. The Digital Public Library of America to me seems to be a watershed concept. It feels like the early days of cooperative cataloging and OCLC, which was the start of a world of change for libraries brought on by technology. I think libraries are in a similar place with eBooks and DPLA could fill the role OCLC did in the last revolution.

We’ll continue to post more evaluation feedback. Please share your thoughts about eBooks too.

Learn to use LibGuides: 2 day workshop

Posted in Events, Events - Training, Resources - Online Resources, Technology on October 05, 2011 by Carrie
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Event Date: October 25, 2011

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This workshop is for school and public librarians. The LibGuides tool is a great way to organize library information – especially in the area of reference. It will likely be offered again in the spring. Access to software is available until September 2012 (unless PDE extends the contract.) If you would like to register for the Digital Collection Development workshop, please click on the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OctDigitalCollectionDev

This PDE/Commonwealth Libraries Professional Development Workshop will apply traditional collection development methodologies to the “curation” – selection, organization, and professional presentation – of digital content, services, and tools.

Designed for school and public librarians who work with children and teens, this workshop will focus on the application of LibGuides <http://palibraries.libguides.com/civilwar>, a media-rich, easy-to-use platform that can become your virtual library “parking lot” to present web resources, both content and tools.

Specifically, participants will learn to:

* Embrace an expanded concept of “collection” to include digital content and tools,
* Apply collection development strategies to digital resources,
* Recognize the library user as selector, collaborator, and information producer,
* Learn to use some basic types of digital tools appropriate for K-12 students,
* Create a digital guide or pathfinder with LibGuides, selecting traditional resources and digital content and web-based tools.

All trained workshop participants will receive one-year free access to LibGuides, a commercial, licensed web product, paid by PDE. Resources for this workshop—Powerpoint, handouts, and online resources—will be made available online via WebJunction. Workshop participants will be expected to download all materials from WebJunction and may need to bring a laptop with wireless access to the training in order to create a LibGuides electronic pathfinder.

Please join us at the Central Dauphin High School Library (437 Piketown Road, Harrisburg) on October 25 and 26 from 4:30pm – 7:30pm each evening. PLEASE NOTE LOCATION CHANGE FROM OUR INITIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. Feel free to pack your dinner and eat while we meet!

Trainers Carolyn Blatchley and Brenda Blackburn-Foster will teach you to use LibGuides, and you will obtain free access for your school or public library through September 2012. The workshop is designed for six hours of instruction and practice over two consecutive evenings.

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries, within the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will award 6 hours of Act 48 credit to those who complete the workshop, and it will count as Continuing Education for public librarians. Participants must complete a workshop evaluation to obtain credit.

Overdrive goes live with Kindle books

Posted in Learn Something, Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference, Technology, Trendspotting on September 23, 2011 by Carrie
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The Amazon digital connection to Overdrive is active for the Capital Area Library District Digital Media Collection.

There will be lots of information to read and understand to know the full implications of these changes. This page can be used to share local information with staff who can pass it along to customers.

Here’s a re-post of an email I received and shared with a local mailing list:

Overdrive’s Kindle connections are soon to be true for our library as well. I’ll let you know when our site and items are Kindle compatible, but no firm date has been announced yet so I don’t advise sharing it widely with customers at this time. I’ll send more information when our site is scheduled to go-live with Kindle. I’ve sent questions to our Product Support representative about when this will take place. The message below indicates within a week. Relying on Overdrive’s documentation to change before we update any local information is key. The transfer to Kindle seems to be another slightly different process that also involves the customer using their Amazon ID.

To: OverDrive Library & School Partners in the U.S.
From: Steve Potash, OverDrive CEO
Re: Launch of Kindle® Compatibility and OverDrive WIN Initiatives
Date: September 21, 2011
Dear Library Partner,
I am very pleased to announce that, as promised, Amazon Kindle® compatibility with your library’s eBook collection is here. Kindle compatibility is part of the OverDrive WIN initiative, a series of platform enhancements for your library’s Virtual Branch website. These new features are updates to your OverDrive service at no additional cost.

Team OverDrive has been hard at work with technicians at Amazon to make Kindle compatibility a valuable extension of your eBook lending service. This update allows most existing OverDrive eBooks to be read on all Kindle devices or by using free Kindle apps on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, and other mobile devices. At launch, there will be a small number of PDF titles that are not yet available for Kindle. OverDrive and Amazon are working to reduce this number to achieve greater coverage.

Kindle Launch Plan
OverDrive will be quickly updating all U.S. public and school library partner websites to support Kindle compatibility. Many of you reading this may already have Kindle Books available for lending. We will complete this update to all our U.S. public & school library partner websites within one week.

To reflect these changes, OverDrive will update sections of your library’s Virtual Branch website including the My Help wizard, Help pages, and FAQs with new information about Kindle compatibility. Your users browsing the site will see a message that Kindle is either “Now Available” or will be “Coming Soon.”

User Experience for Kindle Book Users
All browsing, searching, and checkout of eBook titles will remain the same at your library’s Virtual Branch website. When a user checks out a Kindle Book, a “Get for Kindle” link will be presented that opens a new window (or tab) at Amazon prompting the user to login to their Amazon account. Fulfillment will occur at Amazon’s website so your user will need an Amazon account to access the library eBook in the Kindle format. No purchase or credit card is required to create an Amazon Kindle account; users only need to provide an email address.

Once signed in, the user will select which Kindle device or free Kindle app they want to deliver the title to for reading. At launch, browse, check out, and fulfillment of Kindle Books from your library can be completed from web browsers on PC and Mac, iPad, and numerous other tablet devices.

Kindle users will enjoy Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights, and last page read on the Kindle device and free Kindle apps. As with other titles from your digital collection, the eBook will expire at the end of the lending period.

Your library, with the help of OverDrive, will continue to provide technical support for most aspects of eBook lending. Once a Kindle user is directed to Amazon’s website, Amazon will provide technical support for Kindle Book related issues.

Simplified Title Display and Expanded Format Availability

For eBook collection development, in Content Reserve your selectors will now only need to purchase “eBooks”, rather than choose specific eBook formats such as EPUB, PDF, or Kindle Book. Each eBook unit selected will provide your users or students access to all available eBook formats for that title. For example, if your library purchases one eBook unit of The Help, it will be available for borrowing with Kindle, for use on PC or Mac, Smartphones, Sony® Reader, Barnes & Noble® Nook™, etc.

On your library’s Virtual Branch website, all units of eBook titles that your library has purchased in PDF or EPUB will be aggregated into a single total number of copies now including support for Kindle. For example, if your library has three total copies of The Help in any eBook format, The Help will show three copies, available for use with Kindle and all devices that support EPUB or PDF. Your user will choose the format compatible with their eReader or device.

If your library has MARC records for EPUB, PDF, or Mobipocket eBooks in your OPAC, please update the records to simply reference the eBook format.

Streamlining the eBook Experience – Eliminating Mobipocket eBooks
As part of our ongoing initiative to streamline the user experience, OverDrive has ended support for the Mobipocket eBook format which means that this format is no longer available for selection in Content Reserve. For libraries with Mobipocket eBook collections, OverDrive will replace any copies with a corresponding number of units for use with Kindle or other supported reading devices. There will be a very small number of titles that we are unable to replace with other formats. For those libraries affected, we will contact you separately with a report of these titles and issue a full content credit for amounts paid for those titles.

If your library hosts a Customer Support form, references to Mobipocket eBooks should be removed and “Kindle Book” should be added once available at your library’s Virtual Branch website.

OverDrive WIN Enhancements Coming Later This Year
Following the launch of Kindle compatibility, OverDrive will continue adding platform enhancements to streamline the user experience. We are very excited about a new navigation feature called “OverDrive GPS™” (Guided Product Selector). OverDrive GPS will be a user-friendly addition to your library’s Virtual Branch website that simplifies the product selection process by prompting users to ask what they are looking for (e.g., Read eBooks or Listen to Audiobooks) and how they want to use it (e.g., Kindle or iPod®).

Once the user’s GPS is set, all browsing and search activities will display only titles that match their settings. For example, for users who want to “Read an eBook” on “Kindle,” their Virtual Branch experience will display only eBooks that can be read on a Kindle device or with a free Kindle app. It will work the same for those who set GPS to “Listen to an audiobook” on their “iPod.”

There will be no action required by your library to take advantage of the OverDrive GPS feature. It will be added to your library’s Virtual Branch website at no additional cost. To accomplish this and other user-friendly features, OverDrive will streamline portions of your website’s pages with popular shelf carousels for Recently Added, New Releases, Most Popular, and Recently Returned collections. We will similarly provide optimized browsing features for your music, video, and “Always Available” collections for those libraries that offer these materials from OverDrive.

Team OverDrive will continue to update you regularly regarding this next wave of updates as part of WIN. Look for information about these changes, as well as new content and access models, to help make your digital collection the first stop for online readers.

Preparing for the Increased Demand in eBooks – Next Steps for Your Library

OverDrive is committed to streamlining user and staff experiences and continually enhancing the value of our partnership. We expect Kindle compatibility with your library’s eBooks will be a very positive experience. To assist you in promoting Kindle compatibility to your communities and schools, please visit the Kindle Book Compatibility Marketing Kit with print-ready promotional materials, a web graphic, and a press release.

If you have any questions, please follow OverDrive’s Digital Library Blog, Facebook, and Twitter for the most up-to-date information, or contact your library’s OverDrive Account Specialist.

We look forward to continuing this eBook journey with you!


Steve Potash
OverDrive CEO & President

Additional resources:
Amazon’s “Borrow Kindle Books from Your Local Library”

Managing eBook Demand Checklist

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OverDrive | 8555 Sweet Valley Drive | Suite N | Cleveland | OH | 44125

Additional resources:
Amazon’s “Borrow Kindle Books from Your Local Library”

Online Magazines and Books for Research

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference on August 26, 2011 by Carrie
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As of early August, DCLS, CCLS, HER and MDT have subscribed to EBSCO MasterFile Premier and 4 subject area Reference Centers – Biography, History, Literary and Science.  You can access them from your library’s website of online resources.  MasterFile Premier gives us access to a broad range of popular and educational magazines, journals, e-books and more.  Take some time to check out the awesome new features.

Training to use the sources is available online at  http://support.ebsco.com/training/index.php  or your manager may host a special training session in the future. Sometimes it’s great to just use the resource and learn it for yourself too! 


-Try to use Consumer Reports from your mobile device while you are shopping and want to compare.

-Read an article on ebooks and tell your colleagues what you learned

-Do some research about social media in the workplace

-Learn about a food allergy that you or your child have

Add your own link to search results!

Check out our newest e-Resources, and Go Green with online access to your favorite magazines and articles! 

-EBSCOHost Web — MasterFile Premier:  A general database chock full of journal and magazine articles (both popular and educational), e-books, photos, e-audio books and more. Check out the popular titles, such as American Fitness, Archaeology, Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports Money Advisor, Dirt Bike, Discover, Ebony, Environment, Forbes, Golf Magazine, Hispanic, History Today, Jet, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Money, National Review, National Wildlife, Physics Today, Ranger Rick, Real Simple, Science, Sierra, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, Sunset, Swimming World, Teen Tribute, This Old House, Time for Kids, Transworld Skateboarding, U.S News and World Report, and so many more! 

-Would you like to check the complete list of magazines or see if there is a particular title? In EBSCOHost MasterFile Premier,

  1. click on Publications at the top of the page
  2. choose MasterFile Premier (for full list) or one of the Reference Centers (for that subject list)
  3. Browse or search the current publications

Help patrons get back to school with great research tools!

Use EBSCO Subject Centers . . . some very cool features – full text, audio and MP3 download features for many books and articles, links to further resources.  Save your searches, email, print, and cite your information.

-Biography Reference Center: Photos, Biography by genre (author, musician, scientist . . . ); search by name, occupation, nationality, etc.

-History Reference Center: Dictionary, Curriculum Standards, full text e-books; videos and historical images

-Literary Reference Center: Literary Glossary, Dictionary & Historical Timeline

-Science Reference Center: Dictionary, Science experiments, Curriculum Standards, browse by subject area

Need help finding what you need?  Call ESA Reference at 717-652-9380 option 4, email or text askalibrarian@dcls.org and Angela, Ann Marie, Ariel, Diane, Kim, Moriah or Ann will be glad to assist!  As always, if you have questions, suggestions or feedback, let us know.

E-books:  EBSCO also has ebooks!  (The Netlibrary links from POWERLibrary were changed to EBSCO ebooks.)  These aren’t the kind that easily download to devices, but they can be emailed in pdf format for use on the go.  The collection contains lots of titles for reference and titles that will be great for some school research. 

iPhone Application :  The free iPhone app allows iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to search premium EBSCOhost database content while on the go.  Have a research assistant with you on your mobile and use it to email or share helpful articles to your customers, colleagues or business associates and partners.
It’s easy to get, but you MUST: Click the link at the bottom of any EBSCOhost page, and then email yourself the key to the app, open the email on your device and get started.

OverDrive Training Month Begins!

Posted in Events - Training, Learn Something, Resources - Online Resources, Resources - Professional Collection, Technology on August 08, 2011 by Carrie
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Event Date: September 12, 2011

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Check out all the possibilities for online training to learn more about the digital media collection offered to library customers in the Capital Area Library District via http://capitalarealibrary.lib.overdrive.com/

Check out an ebook today.    Do a search for ALA on the site to find ebooks from ALA Editions that are a part of the district’s Professional Collection.

Attention Reference Librarians: Electronic Resources collaborative review

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference on April 29, 2011 by Carrie
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The Capital Area Library District has a committee for electronic resource review.

We have just started a trial of some popular products.

If you are employed in our district and are interested in participating in one of our trials to test new databases, send me a note or leave a comment here and we’ll get you access and a copy of our own evaluation form. The trial is open until later in May, so your staff might like to use the resources with customers in real life customer service scenarios.

If you know customers who also use resources regularly that might like to serve on a team that would give feedback on possible new/replacement products, let me know.

Electronic Resources in Libraries, some musings

Posted in Carrie's Musings, Resources - Online Resources, Technology, Trendspotting on February 17, 2011 by Carrie
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I know some people who are in colleges in our area and around the country at lots of different levels. In my chats and discussions with many of them, library resources almost always come up. Public libraries try to provide a new layer of assistance to education and to those students using more technology in schoolwork. Do your library staff know the technology that students are using? Can we meet adult students where they already go?

Here are a few things I have learned about electronic resources from some academic and digital perspectives:

-My friend taking classes online via University of Phoenix is having a very positive experience. The online tools that are learned during the educational experience will serve a workforce that must communicate in many methods and technologies. Check out these tutorials on using their library resources there. Access to see the resources are available to current students and affiliates only, but you can also learn about their knowledge network of library information.

-My friend taking classes at HACC got the library resource tour before writing papers in a couple of his classes. HACC shows that their resources directly impact the courses and provide additional value to students: See the Guides They link exactly that a student may need to support specific courses and show their understanding of technology in education.

I was doing a “vanity-search” of various names when I was thinking about privacy when I ran across this really nice example of a press release announcing new board members to the community. Of course, when I saw the name Cleary University, I had to click further. It led me right to private educational opportunities in the Michigan area, which also seemed to include many other online certification programs and graduate programs. Considering online education, this got me to an online education site where I watched a nice demo of a project management skill improvement class.

All this reminded me how much I’d love to see public libraries open more portals to online education. Since the first time I saw it, I enjoyed the idea of this product available to public libraries, which provides access to online classes to students. It could serve as an entry point for people who need affordable and flexible options for education.

Personally, I would love to see it considered for purchase as a project for the Capital Region or Capital District to help libraries demonstrate their value to PA workforce development. I know thet cost of the resource seems daunting, but perhaps there are area employers who would want to consider a sponsorship of the service fees? (I have pricing information from a great vendor representative if it interests anyone, get in touch.) How would other librarians evaluate this resource?

Ideas and Opportunities in a Digital Age:
-More combined marketing of the “library” brand and use of e-resources: Will we create one site to post all the “online resources” available exclusively via libraries (public & academic/school) in our region or state?
-Statewide ideas are in progress for the 21st Century Literacies Platform for PA Libraries; it’s a big task, but will result in great improvements.
-Embrace technology for everyone; start with your staff and board. Encourage intelligent use of electronic tools in your own organizations. Does your library make meeting agendas and meeting notes available remotely and electronically? Can libraries help other nonprofits and local governments by modeling effective use of technologies to share community news, events, and resources?
-Establish strong specialty collections and develop staff member individual interests; then publicize referral links to local experts for collection or reference.
-Determine a plan for how your organization will decide which websites your organization will link to and which you should encourage to link to you? Do your stakeholders promote your digital resources?
-Try to engage active learners and students as volunteers and think tanks. If you know a student, can you propose a homework assignment that could be used in the classroom and apply to a real life scenario to benefit your library? Are you using interns?
-Offer more open access to public meeting spaces: Where can small study groups or project work groups meet in a neutral public place that isn’t school, work, home or a business? Obviously the answer is the public library; some libraries even offer special small group study space.
-Do you support the faculty that live in the community by buying the books they have written? Just think, the local author’s wisdom might even travel through Interlibrary Loan and delivery to make an impact on someone across the country purely because your library stocks it and shares it. If you can’t afford it, perhaps you can approach the local community member/author for a donated copy to get their support for the public library as a community resource sharing place?
-Do you own the rights to any content you can digitize? The current platform for ebooks allows for upload and sharing of local content. Ask if you are interested.
-Know about the population of learners in the community. Find student opinion surveys, learn what classes are being taken or are required in order to select the best resources.

ebooks are here!

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Trendspotting on December 22, 2010 by Carrie
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Thanks to Dauphin County Library System for purchasing ebook content to add to the Capital Area Library District Digital Media site.

Now, in addition to downloadable audiobooks to listen to, customers can also download ebooks to read on computers, netbooks, tablets, ipads or some of the popular ebook readers like Nooks and Sony Reader. (Sorry, not for Kindles at this time.)

Here are some quick highlights:
-Customers are encouraged to checkout and download and use audiobooks and ebooks on their home computers.
-To use the system, customers also have to download something (OverDrive Media Console, Adobe Digital Editions for books, or a device specific application) that helps with the digital licensing and transferring to portable devices.
-Customers are limited to 3 items checked out per library barcode at a time.
-Customers can pick their loan period for the items from 7 days or 14 days.
-If customers have questions or problems, listen to their concerns, but let them know that we may not have exact answers. First direct them to the help documents on the left hand side of the digital media site. If they don’t find help there, use the “Suggestion Box” link to send a support request directly to someone who might be able to help or feel free to have them email or call the district consultant directly.

In the time period of 12/17/2010 to right now at this moment of posting on 12/22/2010, 85 items in epub format have been checked out from our collection.

Ask if you have questions!

E-Books: Libraries at the Tipping Point Notes

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Technology on October 18, 2010 by Carrie
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Did you miss attending the E-Book Summit? You can find it here: but you will need a username and password. Ask you district consultant.

Below are notes taken and thoughts shared by many who attended the conference:

The room that viewed the E-book summit together could not determine a shared common definition for e-book. Discussion included is it just text that is digital or is it when a formerly printed format goes digital or is it something that must be read on a specific e-book device? POWERLibrary offers many “ebooks” via the NetLibrary platform, but these do not seem to be ones our customers are asking for. Our customers do not always share our definition of ebook.

We need to define e-books for our libraries and plan to create an information page to help answer patron questions. The library should have information about this format and our position on it that is easy to explain. (This project is currently underway by the regional e-content committee.)

We talked about the library’s current e-audio book platform, OverDrive, and the planned expansion of that platform to include e-books to read as well as those we listen to.

An overview of where the region is currently at in its ebook negotiations was covered with the group, knowing that nothing is certain until that group has a next meeting and a chance to develop a method of collaboration that will be effective.

eBooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point
Library Journal Virtual Summit: September 30, 2010

Original Research on the Growing Importance of eBooks in Library Collections
Presenter: Ian Singer is VP, Content & Business Development for Media Source, Inc., responsible for driving the growth and expansion of content licensing and identifying new product and business line extensions for MSI’s various business units, including leading its evolving digital strategy. Ian joined Media Source in April 2010, after serving since 2006 as Bowker’s VP, Data Services, where we was responsible for managing its flagship Books In Print data operations in addition to its .COM and Syndetics product lines.
Survey Highlights:
• 2/3 of public libraries have ebooks…Collection size: 1529 available on average
• Public libraries estimate circulation will increase 36% this year.
• Top barriers to usage: lack of awareness, device incompatibility
• Schools and academics primarily report desktop or laptop readers as primary ebook reader.
• Publics report portable device usage is most prominent.
• Only 7% of libraries lend loaded devices. Most are considering doing so.
• Public Libraries spend about 2.5% of collection development budget on ebooks. (Academics 7%)
• 41% of public libraries use single user license model. Academics primarily use simultaneous user model.
• Denver experimenting with ‘anything library’

Early in the Twenty-First Century, Knowledge and Content will Underlie Everything of Value
Presenter: Ray Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Kurzweil is one of the leading inventors of our time and has authored six books, four of which have been national best sellers. His latest book, The Singularity Is Near, was a New York Times best seller and has been the #1 book on Amazon.com in both science and philosophy.
• Did demonstration of blio.com, free ebook reader for windows based PC’s. Really impressive! They eventually intend to run on every platform.
About Blio: http://www.blio.com/
• K–NFB Reading Technology has propelled reading technology forward for the last 30 years with the invention of omnifont OCR, flatbed scanners, text-to-speech technology, and reading machines for the blind. K-NFB has now created Blio. This free application will work across platforms and presents books as they are intended: in full color, as laid out by the publisher.
• K-NFB is a privately held company dedicated to developing cutting-edge solutions that continually revolutionize access to the printed word for all readers, from a variety of mobile and fixed platforms.
• A joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind, K-NFB is headed by CEO Ray Kurzweil, a thirty-year innovator and pioneer in assistive technologies. The National Federation of the Blind is the largest, most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States.
• Talked about how devices will get smaller and smaller, and perhaps people will wear them in their glasses so that the text can be adjusted to the size you want.

The Tipping Point: How eBooks Impact Libraries, Publishers & Readers
Presenter: Eli Neiburger is a lifelong gamer and the Associate Director for IT and Production at the Ann Arbor District Library, MI. His book, Gamers… in the LIBRARY?! was published in 2007; he is currently working on Did you Reboot IT?! Inside and Beyond the Library—I.T. Culture Wars. Neiburger writes a column about gaming and library futures for Digitale Bibliotheek.
• Very thought provoking!!!!! (and entertaining!)
• The value of library collections is invested in the local copy.
• If you can view it, you can save it and have it. If you can transmit it doesn’t matter where it came from
• We need to recognize that the value of the circulating collection is going to eventually become meaningless. So, what do libraries do in the face of this reality?
• We need to return to our roots: Libraries were created to protect access to the records of the community. We need to be involved in protecting and providing access to records about the community and by the community.
• We need to be a platform for unique experiences and content.
Presenter: Steve Potash is President and CEO of OverDrive, Inc., a digital media company he founded in 1986. Under his leadership, OverDrive has become a leading digital distributor for hundreds of leading publishers and content suppliers in the U.S. and abroad. OverDrive distributes over 300,000 premium eBooks, audiobooks, music, and videos to a global network of over 11,000 libraries, schools and retailers.
• Endorses XML non-proprietary format.
• Has Buy it Now feature which encourages patrons to buy content and donate to library.

What Do Libraries Want? Creating the Perfect Public Library Model
Presenter: Stacey Aldrich was appointed State Librarian of California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on November 19, 2009 after serving as Acting State Librarian from February 2009.
COSLA report: ebook feasibility study identified 2 big issues:
• Content who owns? Rent? Own? Type of content
• Access platform neutrality
Presenter: Eva Miller is a librarian, a user experience designer and an information architect. Eva conducted this design research for COSLA while working with Pinpoint Logic, a design strategy consultancy in Portland, Oregon. She is currently on her way to new challenges at WebMD. Until then, contact her at evamiller@gmail.com
COSLA research themes:
• Cooperation (economies of scale, shared collection expertise, common platform)
• Librarians need to reclaim role in selecting works from emerging authors
• Librarians need to take advantage of explosion in do-it yourself publishing. Self published work is difficult to track or find. Libraries should be a champion this type of publishing…reflect the community, help emerging authors. Often these are life experience stories, or shared expertise. This would distinguish us from other sources of popular reading materials. Create a public library press, unsung authors tour
• Libraries need to help communities engage in civic discourse and public policy. Libraries should foster serious discussions and leadership, especially around copyright and fair use laws.
• Libraries should serve as laboratories for experimenting with new technologies. If we are no longer warehouses for collections, we’ll have some space for trying new ways to engage the public in a life of the mind.

–“The top barrier to using ebooks is the lack of awareness that libraries have ebooks” – Looks as if libraries will have to aggressively market this resource.

–“Dramatic and sizeable growth in ebooks is anticipated” – We have to seriously consider how much of our collection development budget we can or want to put in ebooks.

–Content should be “platform neutral” and compatible with all sorts of devices. How do we create those platforms of access? I think this is a very important question.

–“ebooks should be able to be read anywhere or on any device; it should be as easy as accessing email.” What it should be and what it currently is are two different things!

I was somewhat intrigued by B & T’s Blio. As they described it, it is a software-based reader, not a device. The reader runs on virtually any device with an operating system, it addresses accessibility issues (for example, for the blind), and is “ideal for rendering richly-formatted material”. Blio for libraries is coming in 2011 and has Baker & Taylor connections.

Other notes:
Sell the fear, offer the hope.
Customers need the information the library has.
Who is the audience who makes time to read?
Why do people read? To be more interesting, to be informed, to solve problems, to understand the world, to be entertained.
Are there times when digital is preferred? When is print preferred?
We need to measure how many people are asking for e-books. It sounds as though a few questions each month are asked at libraries, typically with people who want items for proprietary reading devices. Is the need great enough? Is directing users to free content already available enough until the market settles?

How does the internet know your library?

Posted in Carrie's Musings, Just for Fun, Resources - Online Resources, Technology, Trendspotting on August 11, 2010 by Carrie
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Has your library been trying to serve community needs through your website? What website statistics are most important? Are users on internet explorer or firefox or another browser? Is traffic to your website coming from search engines, email messages, or direct referral?

Libraries are great places for people to access the internet, but how does the internet and all of its search engines know your library? Have you tried to search for your library on Google, Bing, or Yahoo like some potential library users might? Do you get the results you want? Is all of the information listed complete and accurate? What does your library’s profile look like? Have you read your user reviews? How do customers find your website?

How do local media websites list your library? Have you searched PennLive http://businessfinder.pennlive.com/PA-Harrisburg-17101?s=library

How do users know the content on your website? Do they know you have databases and other great information? How do you get traffic to your website? Here’s one idea: http://www.google.com/grants/new/index.html

Do you have other ideas? Please share them. There are a lot of questions.

Reader’s Advisory websites for kids and youth librarians

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Youth Services on August 10, 2010 by Carrie
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At a DCLS meeting, staff shared a great document of websites useful for providing Reader’s Advisory service to kids and teens.

Check it out and share it with your staff who work with children: Readers Advisory Websites for children

Regional E-Content Meeting Planned

Posted in Collection Development, Events - Library Meetings, Events - Special Events, Region, Resources - Online Resources, Technology on August 04, 2010 by Carrie
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Event Date: August 23, 2010

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Some demos of vendors who provide downloadable audio and books will be scheduled at Lancaster as a part of the regional project.

For details, ask the district consultant in your district.

Alternatives to Novelist

Posted in Resources - Online Resources, Services - Reference, Technology on July 13, 2010 by Carrie
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Novelist is no longer provided to our libraries via POWERLibrary.
Thanks to DCLS staff at MOM for reviewing these alternatives. Try one of these today:


What Should I Read Next?

Gnod.net : Divided into nodes, displays as a cloud.

Bookseer.com : suggestions from Amazon and Librarything

whichbook.net : Sliders help you select by plot topics and themes.

Allreaders.com : not a great site design, but does quick fairly current searches by author, title, plot, setting, character.


Please add more ideas to the list by using the comments area below. :)

Thanks to NWP for adding this suggestion too: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk

ebook virtual summit

Posted in Events, Events - Conferences, Events - Training, Resources - Online Resources, Technology on June 25, 2010 by Carrie
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Event Date: September 29, 2010

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The District purchased a site license so librarians from our area can gather in one room to enjoy and discuss the virtual conference:

Register Here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/virtualebooksummit
What: ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point will bring together public libraries, academic libraries, and school libraries (K-12) in a day-long virtual conference environment.

When: Wednesday Sept 29, 10am – 6pm EST
The room will be open at 10a.m. for orientation, setup and local discussion. 11a.m. is the first official “presentation” of the day. Breaks occur throughout the day and discussions will be held. Drop in for any part you can attend. Here’s the program: http://ebook-summit.com/program/

Where: CADM (in Carlisle, PA) Need directions: Click here

Who: ANYONE working for a library interested in learning about ebooks should attend. The speakers are well known professionals with lots of good information and we’ll have some great local discussions. Invite your professional network of school or college librarians to tag along with you too.

Why?: The program is full of exciting content and ideas for the future of digital items for libraries of all types: Find your inspiration: http://ebook-summit.com/program/

•Librarians and library administrators will learn about current best practices for library ebook collections and explore new and evolving models for ebook content discovery and delivery.
•Publishers and content creators will learn how to effectively identify and develop the ‘right’ content offerings for each segment of the relatively untapped library ebook market.
•Ebook platform vendors and device manufacturers will learn just what libraries need and want in this rapidly changing environment.

This virtual conference event is FREE for staff and invited guests of the Capital Area Library District. We’ll be watching it together as a group in the training lab.

More Details:
Will I get CE Credits?: Attendees can report 5 hours of CE credits for attending this day. If you can’t attend the whole day, feel free to drop by the classroom at any time to join the discussion. You’ll get CE credits for active time spent in class.
Will you feed me?: Brown Bags are encouraged; bring your own lunch or choose to bring a snack to share. Courtesy of CADM, there is water, coffee, and a very small place to keep foods refrigerated for the day as needed. District budget uncertainty means we won’t have a formal meal provided, but I’ll trade half my peanut butter sandwhich for half of your tuna sandwhich. :) lol

Register Here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/virtualebooksummit

Share this with your teen readers

Posted in Just for Fun, Resources - Online Resources, Services - Youth Services, Services - Youth Services - Teens, Technology, Trendspotting on June 09, 2010 by Carrie
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Are there lots of patrons on the waiting list for the latest Stephanie Meyer novella: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (in the Twilight Saga) at your library?

Did you know that it is also available FREE online for people to read on their screen for a limited time at: http://breetannerbook.libredigital.com/index.html

I wonder how many will read it on a computer screen or mobile device with a capable internet browser in this format.

Will the fact that it is available right now, free to all who have an internet browser mean that your library buys less copies of it?

Do you have a method for getting information about ebooks to your readers? Could you add a temporary catalog record directing users who want it while it’s brand new to the website to read the digital copy?

Note that it says this: Please keep in mind that you can only read the book here – you won’t be able to download it to your e-reader or phone. And you can’t print it out.