Category Archives: e-resources

3M Cloud Discovery Station at SacLib

There was a small launch ceremony complete with ribbon-cutting, demo on the discovery station and an iPad by the 3M rep, and SacLib staff standing by to assist patrons with getting the app and downloading their first 3M Cloud titles. One of the attendees won the drawing for a Nook HD –  grin as wide as a mile.

I remember visiting the 3M booth at ALA in New Orleans two summers ago when the company was just about to launch its cloud e-book service, and thinking that 3M had taken every torturous procedure of OverDrive and made them simple. Certainly, our patrons thought so today, as they downloaded the app voluntarily during the demo and proceeded to borrow e-books at once.

I have to say I’m a fan of this new e-book platform. Library patrons can read on their phones, e-readers (except Kindles) and tablets (including Kindle Fire), and there’s even an option to read books on their PCs. It’s plain which titles are available now for checkout because of the big green Check Out button, and returning e-books early is a simple click of red Return button. Titles sync among all of a patron’s devices. Audiobooks are  apparently in the works as a future enhancement. But most importantly, 3M has an agreement with the publishers who pulled their titles from OverDrive, and those popular works are again available through 3M in digital format. Win-win, for sure!


There’s An App For That …

I just completed another Infopeople online class, “There’s an App for That“.  (Who would have thought I’d ever be REQUIRED to play in the app store!) This was a challenging class on two fronts:  time and critical analysis.  We students downloaded and examined apps on our personal mobile phones and tablets, and shared our opinions and reviews on a private Posterous blog set up by the instructor.

We looked at apps in four categories: e-book readers & news, productivity, library web sites & mobile apps, and creative & reference apps.  We discussed how our reading and news-gathering habits have changed over the last ten years, and speculated on the future of library services in the next few years.  We compared ways to capture web sites and save them for offline reading on a mobile device.  Sometimes it was a leap to apply what we were evaluating to actual library service. The apps seemed to be more suited to helping librarians use their time and their devices more effectively.

I can, however, see the value of knowing about apps in a reference sense, and being able to refer patrons to an appropriate app when needed.  Keeping up with app reviews is no problem for me – the app store is now my favorite department store – and knowing that our database vendors are now producing apps will help us sell their content to reluctant users. We already have Mango and EBSCO,  and we also use Boopsie so patrons can use our catalog and account services on their phones. I don’t think I would have spent the time analyzing apps for content and usability, were it not for this class, nor would I have considered creative uses for apps in delivering modern library service.  Time well spent!

The Future is Now!

E-books are HOT in Sacramento right now.  It seems like every adult just got – or is getting – an e-reader, and many non-residents are driving into town to get their Sacramento libary cards so they can take advantage of our e-collections.

E-books are hot at ALA this year, too, and one of the most eye-popping sessions was “The future is now: e-books and their increasing impact on library services.”  It looks like there are two movements converging: libraries buying and circulating e-book readers, and the provision of DRM-free e-books that can be read on many devices.

Jamie LaRue contends that “the bullet has gone into the brain of established publishers; we’re just waiting for the body to fall.” This is based on stats he presented showing that established publishers are producing only 7% of published e-books now. With the proliferation of self-publishing venues like Smashwords, it’s easy to get your e-books into the hands of buyers without going the agent/publishing house route. He suggested that one scenario has libraries buying the entire output of an e-publisher, and just deleting the titles we don’t want to keep.

Chris Harris gave a brief overview of the available e-readers, and then Brewster Kahle and Peter Brantley talked about Open Library, which buys e-books (rather than licensing them) and makes them available for loan to the public through participating libraries.

California libraries will soon be participating in Open Library through the advocacy of the California State Library. This will probably put a lot of pressure on publishers and other e-book vendors, and ultimately make the experience easier and more intuitive for patrons who are all thumbs.

Library Ideas, LLC seems to be taking this arena seriously. Freegal is their music download service, and they are just launching a new product: Freading, which will make e-books available the same way its music is: unlimited simultaneous downloads of both new and older titles, but with the DRM that manages the check-out period.

My perfect e-book experience: the titles are discoverable either from within the e-reader or the library’s catalog; they are always available (no hold queue); downloading is simple and can be done from any device; the checkout terms  are clear, and the title can be transferred to multiple devices during the lending period. If I don’t like it, or if I finish it early, I can return it any time during the lending period.

I do not own a dedicated e-reader; I do, however, read e-books on my iPhone during my morning and evening bus commute, and on the iPad while reclining in the La-Z-Boy. I have Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Bluefire, FreeBooks, and OverDrive apps installed on both. I don’t like to buy books, because I rarely read them more than once, so if publishers, vendors, and libraries can get it together to create a model that works as well as lending print copies, I will be in e-book heaven!


E-books: Hot! Hot! Hot!

Half of Sacramento must have received e-book readers for Christmas, judging by the number and type of tech-help and information questions we’re receiving by phone this month.  It’s been a stretch for our staff to answer them, and our Tech Aides and Technology Librarian are often overwhelmed by the volume of questions referred to them.

I’m torn between wanting to know about ALL the devices our patrons have, and being satisfied with knowing about reading on my iPhone/iPad.  I’m developing an aversion to having too many devices, in my old age, much to my great surprise!

It seems like they all perform in a very similar manner, and therefore should be able to handle the e-books we offer through OverDrive.  But life is not simple – where’s the fun in that?

How to get what you want

… from electronic resource vendors.

Billie warren-king, head librarian, Archbidhop Mitty HS, San Jose; vp of BASL
Build personal relationships; have regular, effective meetings;
Know vendors, size, age, product lines beyond electronics, competition and their products; licensing, redistribution rights, pricing.
Know your community: population, budget; rank needs and want; know the total amount you are spending on that vendor in your organization (ex. textbooks vs e-resources); who else is negotiating for your groups.
Get your free trial – insist on 30 days. Look at content authority, how many users, easy to use?
Licensing models
User population – all have access
Simultaneous Users – limited #seats.
Pricing models:
Flat fee, tiered pricing (per size of school)
Price per student
Ask for what you want – longer contract for price reduction. Longevity counts, too.
Be creative. What works for you – and present it to the vendor.
Negotiating points:
Higher #schools=less$
distribution rights
admin support, customer service, training
Use goes up, price goes down
remote access
no auto renew;
offer to beta test products
prorate for partial year
annual increase – negotiate annually, but it won,t go higher than a firm percent.
ask for whatever you want
Don’t respond to things right away; don,t be pushed into something you’re not comfortable with. Let me thingk about this for a few days.
look at stats, poll users, market constantly.
Keep track of changes in the databases.

Gillian Harrison, Director, BCR Libray Netwok Cooperative
Do your homework: products and vendors; compare with similar products and vendors; use A’s pricing to get B to give you what you want.
Be familiar with your library’s policies and guidelines.
Document everything – notes of conversations, conversations over coffee; visits, phone calls, save e-mails; remember personnel often changes – both people and terms.
Negotiation – it’s a process. Give yourself time, drafts are good things, keep everyone informed of status. Be honest with the vendor when you’re not ready to make an immediate decision.
Push a little: it never hurts to ask; remember, you are the customer, and the customer is always right.
At the end of the day, you both want a deal; vendor wants to keep you happy; always ask for what you want; have the vendor tell you what the database costs; don,t indicate what you,re willing to pay. What’s your pricing structure – ask to see the whole structure.
Be well armed with info, questions, confidence
Your responsibiity is to get the best deal for your library.
Get addl info from: colleagues, consortia, vendors (who elst publishes stuff like that?”), publishers, attend conferences and webinars, talk to others.

My Favorite Target Audience

This afternoon, a colleague and I presented a program entitled “Use Your Library @ Home” to members of the Mission Oaks Computer Club.  I love surprising people and watching their faces light up as we talk about services they had no clue we offer!  We were invited because a member happened upon our website and thought it pointed to useful services and materials.  (Guess that shows we need to do some more aggressive marketing.)

I have done similar presentations for the Orangevale-Folsom PC Users Group and the Sacramento PC Users Group I like talking to computer clubs in particular, because they’re already convinced of the value of being online, and know how to navigate web sites.  All that is needed is to show them the databases, e-books, catalog and account management services, and they’re on their way! I put the presentation in Dropbox and gave them a link to our Delicious bookmarks listing all the web sites we talked about today plus a few more.  That’s one of the things that delight me about computer clubs: they don’t mind going online!

Tag! You’re It!

I am cleaning out the “clippings” in my Bloglines account tonight, and came to this post by David Lee King, in which he comments on this one by Michael Hyatt.  Even though published a couple of years ago, it is even more appropos today, in my case.  I am guilty, guilty, guilty – even though I can rationalize some of my behavior.

I’ve been using my part-time duties as e-resources librarian as an excuse to sulk, because I truly believe we need a full-time e-resources person.  However, I’ve come to the conclusion that this attitude is helping neither me nor the library, and so I’m ready to look at ways to make this 8-hour-per-week responsibility more efficient.

CMS wants me to continue; CEN wants me to quit; and I’m caught between can and can’t. I’ve got a couple of ideas about how to make it work better, and will use the remainder of this calendar year to hammer out a plan, simplify my filing system, and set up a way to keep reference staff up-to-date with news and changes. Next year, we’ll be in fighting trim again.

Right now, I’m “it”. But I’ll be tagging others, in short order!