Use Your Library On the Go with UHLS Mobile!

There is a new mobile app from the Upper Hudson Library System. The app has many neat features including the ability to search for and place holds on library items, access your library account, see scheduled events, contact your local library, and much more.

Getting Started

The app is available for Apple and Android devices. To download the app, open the App Store on Apple devices or the Google Play Store on Android devices and search for “UHLS Mobile.”

When you open the app for the first time, you’ll get a pop-up asking to allow notifications. You will get another pop-up asking you if you’d like to let the app use your location. Using your location makes it easy to locate a nearby library if you are out and about. Once you’ve chosen your notification and location preferences, you’ll be asked to select your preferred library. After you have selected your preferred library, you will get a conformation of your choice.

After choosing your preferred library, you will be taken to the main menu, which lists all the things you can do on the app.

Popular This Week

The first thing you’ll see is a sampling of books that are popular this week. Tapping on “see all” next to the book jacket will bring up a complete list of books that are popular this week, and from there, tapping on a title will give you more information about the book as well as the ability to request it.

Search and Request

The first option on the main menu is “search the catalog.” Tapping on this option will bring you to the search screen, where you can search for library items by title, author, subject, or keyword. You can search by tapping on the top center dialog box and entering your search term.

Once you start typing, a list will appear with items that match your search query. If you tap on a particular title, you will be taken to the Item Details screen. From here, you can see details about the item such as a summary of the item and which libraries have copies of the item available. You can also place a hold on the item by tapping Place Hold. If you choose to place a hold, you will need to login with your library card number.

You can tap back in the top left corner to see your search results or to perform another search. To get back to the main menu, you can tap back again or click the home icon on the bottom left of the screen.

My Account

By selecting My Account on the main menu, you can review your library account or your Overdrive account. To login to your library account, click on login under library account. Once you login, you will then see a summary of your account, including the number of items you currently have checked out and how many items you have requested.

You can tap on Checked Out to get a list of items you currently have checked out. On the list of checked out items, to renew a particular item, tap on the title. You’ll be taken to a conformation screen telling you if your renewal request was successful. Tapping on Requests will bring up a list of your requested items. If an item is ready to be picked up, there will be a message with “status: ready to be picked up” underneath the title, as well as the date it must be picked up by. If the item is not ready to be picked up, you will only see the library branch where you can pick up the item once it is available.

Barcode Wallet

Another neat feature of the app is the Barcode Wallet. If your library has the proper scanning technology at the checkout desk, you can use the app in place of your library card when checking out items at the library. You can enter a library card number along with a label identifying the cardholder for each family member for easy access.

Once a person has been added, tap on their name to bring up their card.

You can also bring up the bar code screen from My Account on the main menu, and choosing view barcode.

OverDrive and Online Resources

By tapping on OverDrive on the main menu, you can download e-books and e-audioBooks. Selecting Online Resources gives you easy access to Flipster (for digital magazines), Gale Virtual Reference Library (for always available non-fiction eBooks), Heritage Quest (for online genealogy research), and Mango Languages (to learn a new language).

BookLook

By tapping on BookLook on the main menu, you can scan the ISBN number bar code on the back of any book. The app uses your device’s camera to scan the ISBN number and then searches the catalog to see if it is available at the library.

Events

If you are interested in upcoming events at the library, choose Events from the main menu. You then have the option to see only East Greenbush Community Library (or whichever library you chose as your preferred library) events or you can view all shared events from area libraries.

Hours

Wondering when the library is open? Tap on Location & Hours to see library hours and directions or to quickly call or email the library.

Social Media Integration

If you want to connect with the library on social media, select Connect with Us from the main menu. You’ll be given a link to the library’s social media pages including Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you want to call or email the library directly, choose Contact Us from the main menu. If you would like to view the library’s website, you can quickly access it by selecting Library Website from main menu.

Your Preferred Library

If you want to change your preferred library, on the main menu screen, tap on libraries in the bottom right corner and your preferred library selection will be cleared. You’ll get a message that your preferred library was cleared and if you tap below the conformation message, you can select a new preferred library. If you have the app location set to on, it will list all of the area libraries in order of the distance from your current location.

Have you downloaded the new app? Let us know in the comments.

Save

Say hello to Mango!

mango-logo All libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System are getting a new language learning service called Mango Languages. What is Mango Languages you ask? It’s a fun and easy-to-use language learning program that can help you learn over 70 different languages. The program allows you to go at your own pace, so you can take your time or speed through depending on your preference. There are a wide variety of languages offered, everything from common languages like Italian and Chinese to less commonly used languages such as Biblical Hebrew and Scottish Gaelic. There are also a number of specialty languages like Medical Spanish and Oktoberfest German. Mango also benefits ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) with 17 ESOL courses.

It’s easy to get started. You can create an account using your email address and start learning right away. Once you have created your account, you can select the language you would like to to start learning.

You can click the green Get Started button or mouse over the three lines in the upper left corner and click on languages. Once you choose your desired language, you will get different options depending on your language selection. For example if you chose Spanish (Latin American), you can select Mango Conversations, Legal, Text Talk, Medical Spanish, Romance, Spanish for Librarians, and a selection of films that can be used to assist with language learning.

You can exit a particular course at any time and you can pick up where you left off the next time you log in.

Mango offers pronunciation demonstrated by professional native speakers of the language. You will be able to hear words in any language at both a conversational speed and at a slowed down, easier to understand speed. In addition to learning the language, users will find cultural notes in each chapter, which help provide context for language usage.

Both understood and literal translations are available, and both translations are color coded. This helps users see how sentences are structured. In other words, Mango teaches grammar without the user ever noticing.

If you would prefer to learn on the go, Mango offers an app for Apple devices and Android devices. Once it has been downloaded, you can access the app with or without an internet connection. Before you use the app without an internet connection, make sure you have downloaded the courses you wish to access. This can be done in the app by going into My Courses, choosing the language you are learning, and selecting “Download All” from the Chapter list or choose a particular lesson you would like to download by tapping the green arrow icon.

To access the lesson you wish to download rather than continue the lesson, tap on Mango Conversations: (Whichever Language you are learning) to access the download list.

Once the lessons have been downloaded, you can access them the same way, by going into My Courses and tapping on the name of the language you are learning.

You can also opt to learn by watching foreign films with the Mango Premier feature. Please note this feature is only available via desktop learning, not on the mobile apps.

For more information, check out this video about Mango.

Ready to learn a new language? Try out Mango!

Online Registration

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If you aren’t currently a member of a library in Albany or Rensselaer County, you will be able to register for a library card online beginning 1/2/2017 by following a link on the Encore Login Page or visiting http://sierra.uhls.org/selfreg.

signupscreenIn order to register, you’ll need to be a resident of Albany or Rensselaer County and have a valid email address. Once you’ve filled in the all the required fields, you will get a confirmation page with your temporary library card number. In order to get your physical library card with your permanent barcode number, you will have to visit the library with photo ID and proof of your current address (such as a recent utility bill or lease).

confscreenOnce you’ve gotten your temporary barcode, you will need to set up a PIN by clicking the link on the confirmation page, which can also be accessed here: https://sierra.uhls.org/pinreset.

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After you have entered your temporary barcode number on the PIN Request page, you will get an email with a link that allows you to choose a PIN. The link contained in the email will only be valid for three hours.

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Choosing a PIN will allow you to request library items through the library catalog, as well as check out digital items, such as ebooks and audiobooks, through Overdrive. You will be unable to access other digital resources outside of the library until you receive your physical library card with your permanent barcode.

If you have any questions about online registration, please contact the library.

Flipster Is Here

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In the past, you may have used Overdrive to check out digital versions of magazines. The library is switching over to a new service called Flipster, which is much easier to use.

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You can access Flipster by following the link on our website, or by typing in https://goo.gl/NW0iAu into the web browser on your computer or your mobile device. Once you are on the main page, you will see a list of current magazine issues, as well as a sidebar that lists various categories such as Computer, Entertainment, Sports, and more. You can also search for a specific magazine or by keyword.

To view one of the magazines featured on the front page, you can click on the magazine cover and the magazine will open in a new window in your browser. If you are browsing via category or looking for a specific magazine via search, you will get a list of results. You can click on Read this Issue under the magazine you’d like to view.

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Once you’ve accessed the magazine, you can read it directly in your browser.

Desktop Version

Once the magazine has opened in your browser, there are several ways you can navigate the issue.

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If you want to navigate the magazine, mousing over All Issues will bring up the Table of Contents. If there is a specific article you would like to read, you can click on the title listed there.

To search the magazine, you can type your keyword or phrase into the search box above the magazine logo on the right side of the screen. Search results will appear in a list with the search word or phrase highlighted.

In that menu, you also have the option to view back issues of that magazine. To view a back issue of the magazine, click on the issue you’d like to view under More Issues. The cover of that particular issue will come up in the upper right and from there you can click View.

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You can also navigate by mousing over Pages, which will show groups of pages in the magazine. Clicking on a particular page image will take you to that page. Clicking on the left and right arrows will turn the pages forward or back in the issue. If you would like to zoom in on a page, you will see an icon that looks like a magnifying glass with a plus sign when you mouse over the page. Clicking when you see the magnifying glass will zoom in on that area of the page. If you would like to Print, you have the option to print just the pages in view, or all pages. Mousing over Print will allow you to choose what you would like to print. Mousing over Settings will allow you to choose whether you would like to view one page at time or if you would like to Zoom Out when you turn the page. There is also an option to fit the view to your screen, based on the height or width.

Please note that there is no offline viewing option for desktop computers.  You must maintain your internet connection to read to magazine unless you are using the Flipster app for tablets and smartphones.

Mobile Version

If you are on a mobile device, there is another viewing option. The Flipster app is available to download in the Apple App Store (for iOS devices), the Google Play Store (for Android devices), and the Kindle Store (for Amazon devices). To download the app, search for Flipster in your device’s app store. Once you have downloaded the app, you can access the magazine you would like to view via your device’s web browser, and then click the three lines in the top left corner. This will bring up a menu and from there you can tap Open in App.

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You’ll get a conformation message asking if you want to open in Flipster. Clicking on Open will open the magazine in the Flipster app. You will see a list of all the magazines you have downloaded, as well as if they expire within a certain amount of time. You can re-download the same issue once it has expired. If you are finished with the magazine, you can click the trash can icon to remove the magazine from your device. Once the magazine has finished downloading, you can tap on it to view. The gray bookmark with a percentage shows how much of the magazine you have read.

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Once you have tapped on the magazine, there are several ways you can navigate through the issue. To turn the page forward or back, you can swipe left or right. If you tap on the three line menu icon in the top right corner, a table of contents will be displayed. Tapping on any of the article names will bring you to that article.

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Another neat feature of the mobile app is that if you click on Text View in the top right, you will get a text view of that page or article with only the text of the article, minus any pictures or ads that would appear normally. To switch back to the regular view, click on page view in the top left corner. Below is the same page in regular view and text view.

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Clicking on Library in the top left corner will take you back to the home screen where all the magazines you have downloaded are displayed. Another bonus of using the mobile app is the ability to view the magazines later for offline reading, as you don’t need to be connected to WiFi to read the magazines once they’ve been downloaded. When opened in the app, the magazine will automatically open to where you left off. If you would like to download back issues of magazines to view in the app, follow the process listed above on your device’s web browser to access the back issue, and then click the three lines and Open in App to download the issue to your device.

There is no limit to the number of magazines you can download to your device or view on your computer. If a magazine downloaded to your tablet expires, it can be re-downloaded at any time. Once a title is expired, there will be an expired icon and will appeared greyed out. Certain weekly titles will expire in two days and certain monthly titles will expire in one week.

Flipster Basics

Flipster is a free service provided to you by the library. You do not need a mobile app to view a magazine. Even if you are on your mobile device, you can just view the magazine in your mobile web browser. Both the mobile version and desktop versions of Flipster website allow you to search within a magazine, however you cannot search a magazine within the mobile app. You can print from the Flipster website, but not from the mobile app.

Flipster information page

Search Flipster

If you have any questions about Flipster, please contact the library and we will be glad to help you out. Have you tried out Flipster yet? Let us know in the comments.

A Brand New Overdrive Page is Coming

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If you’ve ever checked out anything electronically (an eBook, a digital audiobook, a digital periodical, or a streaming movie), then you have used OverDrive. On November 9th, OverDrive will be getting a facelift, with new features and a brand new look. This post will go over the changes in the new layout.

If you’d like to check out what the Upper Hudson Library System’s new OverDrive page will look like, you can check it out here: https://uhls.overdrive.com. This link will continue to work once the site goes live. You can also go to the current OverDrive page and you will see a red bar across the bottom with a link to the preview site.

Signing In

The first change you may notice is the login screen.

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There are two new options: using your OverDrive account to login or connecting via your Facebook account. An OverDrive account syncs your progress through titles, your saved libraries, and your bookmarks across multiple devices. Keep in mind that whichever way you sign in, you will need to enter your library card number.

Once you have logged in, you will see a drop down box appear.

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There is a new icon that looks like three books. Clicking on this icon will always take you back to your account. There is some new terminology here also. The section of your account that listed the items you currently had checked out was called Checkouts. They will now be referred to as Loans, which you can see appears first on the drop down box.

Searching and Browsing

If you are browsing the site, you can click on Subjects in the top left corner. This will bring up the entire library collection, organized by subject. Once you’ve clicked on Subjects, you also have the option of narrowing down the list by format (eBook, Audiobook, Video, or Periodicals). Clicking on Collections with bring up a drop down box that allows you to easily see things like new additions and popular titles, organized by format. You can click on the magnifying glass icon to bring up a search box. When you click on it, you’ll also get a link for the Advanced Search feature, if you want to limit your search by specific criteria. Searching directly from the search box will now use an auto complete feature.

Whether you’ve narrowed down by subject or searched by a specific keyword, you will notice changes in the way the results are shown.

statusThere will be text across the top of each book jacket picture showing the item’s availability. You will see a blue bar with Available if an item is available and can be checked out right away. There will be a blue bar with Borrowed if you currently have the item checked out. If you currently have the item on hold, On Hold will be written on a white bar. If the item currently has a waiting list, you will see Wait List across the top. If the item has Wait List shown, there are no current copies available for check out and you will need to put the item on hold if you’d like to borrow it. If you’d like to add an item to your Wish List, you can click on the little ribbon shaped icon with a plus sign. You can also see the format of the item listed under the title and author.

If you click the icon with the three dots, you’ll get three options: Read/listen to a sample of the item, View More Details (where you can view more details about the item, such as a plot summary, the available formats and more), and You May Also Like, which gives you recommendations based on that item. Clicking on the book jacket or the title will also take you to the more details page.

Checking Out an Item and Placing Holds

You can click the borrow link under the jacket picture to borrow the item. Once you’ve clicked borrow, you’ll get a blue notification bar across the top of your screen that tells you when your loan ends, as well as a link to your Loans page, where you can download the item to your device.

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If you go to the item’s page to check an item out, you have the option of choosing the lending period. On the blue borrow button, you’ll see an arrow. Clicking on that will bring up a drop down box, allowing you to choose whether you would like to check the item out for 7, 14, or 21 days.

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Placing an item on hold has changed slightly. You can click the Place a Hold link under the picture of the book cover or from the item’s more details page. You’ll get a conformation popup that your hold has been placed, which lists the email address where you’ll be notified, along with a link to manage all the holds you’ve currently placed. You’ll also get recommendations that are currently available for check out based on the item you’ve just placed on hold.

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Your Account

There have been a few changes to the my account section of OverDrive. Once you’ve chosen which format you want to download, a little button labeled How to Return will appear under the item. This will give instructions on how to return to the item early, based on which format you’ve chosen.

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Holds

In the Holds section of your account, you can view the items you currently have on hold.

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The date the hold placed will be listed across the top. Near the bottom, you have the option to edit the email address where you’d like to be notified once the item is available, to suspend the hold to a particular date, and to delete the hold. Clicking on the three dots near the top right corner will give you the same options as we saw earlier: to read/view a sample, view details, and recommendations based on that title. You can also see what number you are on the waiting list, as well as the format of the item on hold.

Settings and Help

The option to choose whether you want to automatically check out an item is now found in settings. You can check or uncheck this option. Whenever you make any changes to your settings, they are automatically saved.

If you need help using OverDrive, there is a help link on the top right corner of each page. You can also get assistance by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under help you’ll see FAQs, a getting started guide, a link to contact support, and more. Clicking on Get Support will give you the option of going to the OverDrive support site, which has getting started guides, videos, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips and more. You’ll also get the option to contact the library for more specific questions.

What do you think of the OverDrive’s new look? Let us know in the comments.

Library Software Upgrade Scheduled

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The Upper Hudson Library System has scheduled an upgrade of our library management software for 4:00 AM on Tuesday, April 19th.  The process should be completed long before the libraries open.  However, you may experience difficulty logging in to use remote library services (catalog, library account, OverDrive, etc.) during the upgrade.  Thank you for your patience.

Text Message Notifications Have Arrived

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The Upper Hudson Library System has rolled out another new catalog feature.  Patrons can now opt in to receive SMS (text message) notifications for hold pickups, overdue reminders, and courtesy notices.  SMS notifications will not replace your current notification method (email, phone, mail), but will be an additional service.  If your cell phone carrier charges you for text messaging, standard rates will apply.

How to opt in:

  1. Go to the UHLS library catalog and sign in with your card number and PIN.  Alternatively, use the “My Account” button on the EG Library website.
  2. Click on “Edit account.”
  3. Go to the mobile settings section.  Enter your phone number.  Read the terms and conditions and check the “Opt In” box.
  4. Press “Submit.”
  5. Check your phone for text messages.  You will receive a message to confirm your subscription.  You must reply by typing “Yes” to complete the signup process.
  6. You will receive a message confirming your subscription.

To cancel:

  • Option 1:  Reply STOP, STOP ALL, END, QUIT, CANCEL, or UNSUBSCRIBE to any library SMS notification to stop receiving texts.
  • Option 2:  Ask a staff member to help you unsubscribe.

Will you be using this new service?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Tagging the Library Catalog

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Our latest public catalog has some new features that we are excited to see patrons using. One of these features allows patrons to “tag” items in our catalog. The purpose of adding a tag would be to make an item easier to find. For example, if I ran a book club at the library, I might want to add the tag “EG Book Club” to every title we discuss. That way, any patron searching the catalog for “EG Book Club” would find all of those books grouped together in the results.

The Issue

Recently, we have discovered that there may be some confusion about the nature of tags in our catalog. Given some of the community tags we’ve seen, it appears that patrons believe them to be private. Consider the following example:
Tag example 1. If they get it in large print or the e-book version

Clearly, this is a patron’s note to self and not meant for public consumption. Unfortunately, there is no way we can let the patron who added it know that a more effective way to accomplish this privately would be to use the My List feature of the catalog, which we will outline in a moment.

Other patrons may think tagging an item is a way to communicate with library staff:

Tag example 2. Renew e-book

I assure you that no staff member will see this unless they find it by accident.  If you have created your own tags assuming they were private, please help us clean up the catalog and protect your privacy by deleting them.

My List

If you would like to make personal notes to yourself on items in the catalog, there is a more elegant way to do this. It involves an additional click or two, but there are many more options available to you when you use this method. For example, when you add items to a list, you can request them all at once or one at a time. You can also create multiple lists and organize them as you wish.

You can use “My Lists” to save lists of items that you wish to revisit for later use. The content in these lists is stored until you remove it. In “My Lists”, you can create folders to group your stored titles in ways that help you to organize your content. Titles stored in “My Lists” can be viewed and retrieved by logging into your My Account and using the “My Lists” link.  Login to My Account and the search for an item you wish to add to your list.  Click on the icon to “Add to cart.”

Add to cart icon

When you have gathered all of the items for your list in the cart, click on “My Cart” next to your name in the upper right of the screen.

My Cart link screenshot

Click “save to list” and either create a new list or save to a list already created and confirm.  To see your lists, return to your account details by clicking on your name when logged into the catalog. Select the “My Lists” link to view the lists created.  Click on a list name export it or request/delete items on the list.

My Lists link

How would you use the tagging feature in our catalog? Let us know in the comments.

Tech Tricks to Improve Your Technological Experience

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There is a wealth of information available on the internet. Luckily, there are lots of neat technological tips and tricks that can help with how you use technology and its components.

Vine is an app people use to post very short (eight seconds or less) video clips that will automatically replay once the clip has finished. The clips are referred to as Vines. GCF LearnFree has posted a neat list of Vines that can help with some common tech-related problems such as how to organize and label various wires, how to protect power cords, and how to clean a keyboard with a sticky note.

If you are a Chrome user and have been frustrated with the slowness of your browser, makeuseof has written an article that has some suggestions on how you can improve the speed of your Chrome browsing experience.

If you are a user of Creative Commons (content that is free to legally use and share), makeuseof has put together a helpful post that gives tips on how to find Creative Commons content.

Have you ever accidentally installed bundled software without meaning to? When installing free software, often times there will be a message box that appears before the installation asking if you want to install another program, reset your browser homepage, or change your search settings. Luckily, there is a program called Unchecky. This application searches for commonly bundled unwanted applications and removes them. It also prevents unwanted applications from being installed in the future by automatically unchecking the unwanted offers box when a user is installing a new application, as well as warning the user if they try to accept a potentially unwanted offer.

These are just a few of the many neat tricks to help you improve how you use technology and its components. Do you have any neat tricks you’ve discovered? Share them in the comments.

Have You Been Pwned? Find Out with This Tool

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Data breaches and internet security are a big concern for many individuals, and with good reason. Large companies that have had their users’ information (such as email addresses, passwords and password hints) compromised include Adobe and Snapchat.

Luckily, there is a website, Have I Been Pwned?, which searches across various domains and known breaches to see if a particular email address or username has been compromised.  The site’s name comes from the gaming term “Pwned”, which is a twist on the word “owned” (defeated).  The exact origin of this term is disputed.

The website also can inform you if your information has been “pasted,” which the site describes as:

A “paste” is information that has been “pasted” to a publicly facing website designed to share content such as Pastebin. These services are favored by hackers due to the ease of anonymously sharing information and they’re frequently the first place a breach appears.

This website is a valuable tool to find out if your personal information has been compromised.  Check out this post for suggestions on strengthening the security of your accounts.