Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Public Library Books on the Kindle

Update: OverDrive has sent out a press release stating that all library partners will have Kindle formats available within the next week.

Well, I knew that the rumors about Kindle book availability through OverDrive were saying they would be available in September. I was still surprised to see this blog post in my Google Reader that it is already live (in beta) in a couple libraries.

So, of course this morning I checked our digital books site to see if we had a pleasant surprise - no joy yet. Then I ran over to the King County Library System website, which is one of two known libraries (along with Seattle Public Library) that has this live right now, to take a look at the implementation.

The Kindle format displays as another format along with the other ebooks. It appears we do not have to purchase a specific "Kindle" format. Looking at KCLS, whether they have just an EPUB or PDF format, or both, the Kindle format is displayed.

Other information available shows that patrons will be taken from the library website to Amazon to get the library loan. Also, Kindle wireless downloads will only be available through wifi. If you have an older, 3G-only Kindle, you will have to sync through a USB cable, similar to many other ereaders.

I know that Kindle owners in our system will rejoice when we have this service available. I also believe that it is important to be able to serve multiple formats of titles, similar to the way that our libraries already have multiple copies in different formats and languages. However, I personally have an undercurrent of fear of disservice because I foresee the holds ratios growing exponentially with the availability (which I discussed over at my other blog when this was first announced).

I will definitely be posting after our system goes live. Stay tuned!

Other Links:

Amazon: Public Library Books for Kindle
King County Library System Kindle Basics Help Page

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Shame of Listening to My Own Voice (aka My First Jing)

Thing 18 from CPD23 is about Jing/screen capture/podcasts, which are varied tools to help visualize data through screen capture. It has been interesting to see how training has been enhanced through the years from screenshots in static presentations to full-fledged-in-the-moment webinars.

Jing can record single shots or short videos, and will show everything that happens on the screen. This is extremely beneficial went walking through multiple mouse-click sessions that can lead to different screens. I had used Captivate previously, but it almost has too much capability, while Jing gives you a simple start and stop recording menu. You can then upload it to their site for public viewing, or save it in a Flash format. 

Considerations for recording include:
  • Microphone. You will want to make sure that viewers of your recording will actually be able to hear what you are saying.
  • Concise topic. Jing recordings are a maximum of five minutes.
  • Rehearsal. You do not necessarily have to script everything that you are doing, but you will want to make sure that you know what to expect. During one recording I went to click for patron login, but forgot we do not have an SSL certificate on the training server so I got the big "THIS SITE CANNOT BE TRUSTED" warning. Whoops.
  • Patience. Things go wrong. You click the wrong link, you start sneezing, the phone rings, your voice cracks because you didn't drink enough water, you lose internet connection. Be ready to do your recording more than one time. Or ten.
I recorded my first Jing session yesterday for member libraries, to show them the new Evergreen public catalog we will have after migration. I will be creating more demos to make available to staff, then make them available for the general public. Since we will not be migrating until the end of the year, I have time to edit or recreate the videos if anything changes in the meantime.

Now, if I could only change having to listen to my own voice on them...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazon E-Book Subscriptions

As many have seen today, the rumor mill around Amazon is spinning once again. This time about creating a subscription lending service for ebooks. From the information being passed around now, Amazon will be bundling this into the benefits of the Amazon Prime subscription, which already gives members access to video streaming and free express shipping. As digital content become a part of people's lives, it seems to make sense that a retailer would get involved this way.

However, there is a lot of trepidation already where ebooks and publishers are involved. Sources for these stories also indicate that the publishers are not jumping on board with the idea, even if Amazon is likely to pay generously for the privilege. With Amazon already planning to partner with OverDrive to create the Kindle Lending Library service (so library patrons with Kindles can use OverDrive services) it makes a librarian wonder how this will shake things up in the ebook world now?

Read More:

Wall Street Journal: "Amazon in Talks to Launch Digital Book Library"
Wired: "Book Publishers Should Be Wary of Amazon's Subscription Plans"
PC World: "Amazon Kindle E-Book Lending Program: What It Needs To Succeed"


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Teen Years (CPD23 Things 11-16)

It has been a very busy last few weeks, between a vacation/conference, then preparing my children for school days to begin. I thought the Labor Day holiday would be a good time to run through some of the topics that I have yet to touch upon for CPD23.

When I was finishing my degree I took a half-year practicum in the acquisitions department of the university library. The head of the department became a mentor to me, in the broadest sense of the word. Afterwards I learned from various people in my jobs, although none took a real mentoring role. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to get a place in the Library Leadership Massachusetts, a leadership conference for Massachusetts librarians and library staffs. Besides working with two facilitators, we worked in groups that included two mentors that assisted us with sessions.

Thing 12 - Putting The Social Into Social Media

Social media has definitely had a large influence on my professional life. I have made contact with other librarians and book professionals from around the world, and have gathered a lot more information than I could without it.

Thing 13 - GoogleDocs, Wikis, and Dropbox

I am a fan of two out of these three. I have used GoogleDocs for a long time, not only personally but professionally. I maintain work documents here for the Digital Commonwealth, as the sharing feature makes it easy for people to not only view but also edit collaboratively as needed. This function is a necessity, and having it cloud-based means I am not trapped within my work domain to use it.

Dropbox has similar features, although I know that they had a rough go earlier on due to privacy concerns. I think that with cloud-based storage, there is always going to be that concern. However, the benefits so far outweigh the risks.

I have never been a real fan of wikis. I think that may have to do with the sometimes rough editing features that many wiki programs have. Of course, this was in the early days of wiki constructs, and I am sure that there have been improvements.

Thing 14 - Zotero/Mendeley/citeulike

I am sure that these reference management systems are very useful, however not being based in an academic environment, I have not used nor see it likely that I will use these features. The only possibility would be if I decide to pursue my thoughts on publishing articles myself. Does anyone outside of academic libraries use these on a regular basis?

Thing 15 - Attending, Organizing, Presenting at Events/Conferences/Seminars

I am lucky to have attended a few conferences through the years, both at the state and the national level. They have ranged from the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference to the Public Library Association. I have also attended quite a few specialized conference and seminars for working within my Integrated Library System and learning more about web design and features.

I have been part of a couple panel presentations before, dealing with digitization and our repository. This past spring I spoke for the first time alone at the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference, giving our "Introductory" session. While speaking always builds up some anxiety, I do enjoy the opportunity to share my experiences.

In regards to organization, I have planned workshops at the library level for our members dealing with ebooks, and now with the new Evergreen public catalog I am creating both screencasts (which will be highlighted more with Thing 18) and will do some Go-To-Webinars for online training. I have also been invited to help the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (NE SCBWI) Conference review proposals for next spring.

Thing 16 - Advocacy

Advocacy is an important part of working in librarianship. Funding and public support can wax and wane - people want the services, but find it hard to buy into the "we need tax dollars to run" argument. I have been to Boston to visit the Legislature on the topic. Most are willing to listen, at least. It is wonderful that we do have such a broad vocal backing, but I know that it is not always enough. Libraries still close, others are decertified. It puts a strain on the resources of the neighboring communities when a town does not support their library. We have to keep talking.

I know that Thing 17 has been postponed, but Thing 18 has to do with Jing, which I plan on taking advantage of this week with my catalog screencasts. I am looking forward to some up-to-date experience - and posts!