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November 2014

New OverDrive Features for Fall 2014

November 17, 2014 | Susan | Comments (0)

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Over the years, OverDrive has made a lot of improvements, but they've really upped their game this fall. Not only are they in the process of retiring the Adobe ID (the thought of which still makes me shudder), but they've allowed for automatic hold borrowing, added a suspend hold feature, and found a way to properly format and display eBooks with illustrations. 

Goodbye Adobe ID, Hello OverDrive Account

Users can now sign up for an OverDrive Account instead of the long-dreaded Adobe ID. Registration takes seconds, and requires either an email or - wait for it - a Facebook accounts! The OverDrive Account works on up to 6 devices and syncs progress and bookmarks across them. The account even saves local libraries, search results, and favourite genres! You can even use the OverDrive account to authorize ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) on a computer, instead of using an Adobe ID.

Note: Existing OverDrive users don't need to sign up for an OverDrive account; however, if they're using the app and need to reinstall it, they will be prompted to create this new account. 

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Automatically Borrow Holds

OverDrive now allows users to automatically borrow holds once they become available. They can still borrow holds manually, but the automatic borrow feature has its benefits. First of all, it eliminates the 4 day borrow window for available holds. This is a great time saver, as titles don't spend as long on the hold shelf. Moreover, users are less likely to miss their holds, since they no longer have to log in and borrow them within the 4 day window.

Note: If a user has the maximum number of titles checked out, they get notified that auto checkout failed. They then have the standard 4 days to make room for the hold and borrow it.

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Suspend Holds

Did you know you could suspend holds on OverDrive? It's a new feature that OverDrive sneaked in with the latest update. It allows users to suspend their holds for a selected number of days (7, 14, 21, 28, 60 and 90) and re-activate them as needed. As expected, users continue to move up the holds queue until they're first in line.

Tip: This feature is great for users who are going away on vacation, placing holds on entire series, or are in the middle of another title.

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EPUB3 and HTML5 Fixed Layout eBooks

I know it's a mouthful, but the concept of EPUB3 and HTML5 Fixed Layout eBooks is rather simple. It allows users to properly view graphic novels, picture books, and other eBooks with illustration. Titles come in this new format, and can be viewed in an up-to-date browser or the OverDrive app, without the user having to install any additional software or plugins.

Examples: If you're curious to see what this format looks like, try The Monster Returns or The Construction Crew.

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If you'd like to learn more about these features, or other minor changes made to OverDrive this fall, check out OverDrive for Libraries: The next chapter, a webinar delivered on September 18, 2014. Information in this blog is based on the training webinar, as well as personal experience using OverDrive.

Let's talk apps!

November 14, 2014 | Diana S. | Comments (0)


AppWordCloudIt may be the mobile information age, but we hope the public will still think of the library as the place to go for their information needs no matter what age they may be. It’s always a good idea to keep up with technological advancements and know what’s new out there. There are a lot of applications on the market for library users and librarians. The number of mobile apps for smartphones, iPads, tablet computers, and other mobile devices are steadily growing – people are using apps every day and all day.   

Flurry Analytics indicate that as of March 2014, users are spending 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile devices. These 'mobile addicts’ launch apps at least 60 times per day. AppsIf the public is spending more time on their apps than ever before, then let’s talk app to them. Our own Toronto Public Library Website has a list of Mobile Apps for Library Services. For a list of recommended mobile apps for librarians, see 50 Great Mobile Apps for Librarians and its presentation. Here are some of the apps I like and found useful: 

Library of Congress – Virtual Tour 
This is a free app that gives a virtual tour of the Library of Congress as if you were there. The virtual tour includes: The Main Reading Room; The Great Hall; Exploring the Early Americas; Creating the United States; The Bible Collection; Thomas Jefferson’s Library; and Minerva.  

IELTS Skills            
This app looks at a range of topics in the areas of reading, listening, speaking and writing that will help develop skills needed to answer IELTS academic questions.  

Canadian Citizenship Test and Canadian Citizenship Test Exam 
Although not a substitute for the book Discover Canada, questions are based on the book and will help in the study and preparation for the Canadian Citizenship Test.  

Canadian Driving Tests 
This app is not free, but the website Driving Tests 101 will give an idea of what the app is like. You will learn the rules, signs, and law of the road.  

Aesop for Children 
This is a free app by the Library of Congress featuring an interactive version of the classic Aesop tales. There are over 140 stories accompanied with animated illustrations.  

RecordBooks Free 
This is one of the great ways to keep track of books without the need for pencil or paper.  

BookBuddy – Book Library Manager 
BookBuddy is a book management application that gives you access to your entire book catalog, anywhere. You can create an organized lis tof all the books in your library, allowing you to quickly and easily find any book. You can then share or loan out your books and keep track of them. You can create and save notes on each book or enter other information you would like. 

Goodreads – Book Recommendations and Reviews for Great Books and eBooks  
This app not only keeps track of what you’ve read, but what you want to read. You can see book reviews, rate books, review books, and recommend books. 

 
If you want to find out what other apps are out there, try the AppCrawler, an app discovery engine.   You AppCrawlrcan specify a specific device or all devices. The AppCrawler will let you know the hottest or most used app. You can find out what’s the hottest in book readers, rising stars in eBook readers, or hottest in books & reference.

Remember the buzz-worthy and catchy phrase, "There's an app for that," which Apple filed for a trademark? Yes. There is an app for finding apps – see 10 Apps for Finding Apps. Some of the apps include: 

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