Category Archives: E-Books

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.

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.

login

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.

iOS 7 Upgrade Causes Issues with OverDrive Media Console

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If you have an iOS device, chances are good that you have already or will soon be upgrading to iOS 7.  Unfortunately for OverDrive users, the upgrade caused a hiccup that kept users from accessing their books in the OverDrive Media Console app.  The good news is, OverDrive released a simple fix almost immediately.  They suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the OverDrive app and re-authorizing it with your Adobe ID.  It is important to note that uninstalling will clear your bookshelf, settings and history.  Any items checked out to you can be downloaded again by logging into your OverDrive account’s bookshelf.  To login, open the app and select “Get Books.” Click on the account icon and enter you library card number: account

For more information about this issue, please see OverDrive’s blog post on the subject.

 

Sharing OverDrive Titles

OverDrive LogoThe other day, I spotted a neat feature in the OverDrive Media Console app that I had previously overlooked.  After clicking the “+” next to a title on my bookshelf to view its details page, I saw a “Share” button.  Ever curious, I clicked it and was surprised to be presented with options to share this title via email, Facebook, Goodreads, or any other social app installed on my (Android) phone.  This is not a feature for lending a title to a friend, but it allowed me to send links and mention it to a targeted audience.  If you like to recommend books to your friends, this could be a handy feature.

After a little research, I learned that the share feature differs by device.  While Android users are given every possible sharing option, iOS (Apple) users can only share via Facebook, Twitter and email.  If you’re using a Windows phone, you will be limited to sharing on Facebook.  Sadly, Blackberry users were not mentioned in the press release.  If you are a Blackberry user, I’d be interested to hear whether the share option is available to you.

OverDrive Media Console Update – Important Changes

OverDrive LogoIf you use our OverDrive service to download e-books and/or audiobooks to an Android or iOS (Apple) device, there is a new update on the way that may not be as seamless as the updates have been in the past.  OverDrive emailed the release notes for the new version to partner libraries indicating the new update, version 2.6.5, will be made available on May 29th 28th via Google Play, the App Store, and the OverDrive website.

For Android users, the update includes some bug fixes and should go as smoothly as previous updates.  However, iOS users may have a bit more difficulty due to a change in Apple’s privacy policies.  The update will require all iOS users to reauthorize the device by re-entering Adobe ID information into the app.  If you have forgotten your Adobe password, there will be a “forgot password” link within the app, or you can head to Adobe’s sign-in page and click the “Trouble signing in?” link to reset your password.   Any audiobooks that have been partially downloaded will need to be re-downloaded from your OverDrive account’s bookshelf to get the missing parts.

As always, if you run into any trouble with the updates or the OverDrive service in general, please to not hesitate to email, call the Reference Desk (518-477-7476, option 5), or stop by to get assistance with your issue.

OverDrive Read

OverDrive LogoIf you enjoy reading library e-books on your device, but find downloading titles to be a painful process, we have good news!  OverDrive has a new option for users called “OverDrive Read.”  This allows e-books to be read in any modern web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) without the need to download.  As an added bonus, the e-books are stored “in the cloud”, which means your place will be saved no matter which device or browser you use to access the e-books.

Limitations
As with anything that seems too good to be true, there are some limitations.  For instance, if you are using a Nook or a Kindle, the e-books may not work in your browser, but OverDrive claims to be working on this.  For more on browser details, see OverDrive’s compatibility page.  Also, if you use a version of Internet Explorer prior to 10, the first time you try to access a Read title you may be asked to download and install a plug-in called, “Google Chrome Frame.”  This is necessary to view the books properly, but will only need to be done once.  Finally, and most importantly, not all e-books are available in Read format.  In fact, due to publisher restrictions, only about 60% of OverDrive e-books can be read in a browser.

Features
One nice thing is that Read titles can be accessed offline.  When you open a title, it is cached (saved) for offline access.  You can save the title to your bookmarks/favorites or save them as links on your mobile device’s home screen.  As long as you don’t clear out your cache, the e-book will be available to you for the entire lending period whether you are online or not.  Unfortunately, if you needed to install the Chrome Frame plug-in to view your book in Internet Explorer, offline reading is not supported.  We recommend upgrading to IE10 or installing an alternate browser.  Another handy feature of Read e-books is that they can be returned early from within your OverDrive account’s bookshelf.

For a step-by-step picture guide to finding and downloading Read titles, download the library’s PDF brochure.  Still have questions?  Let us know in the comments below, stop by the Reference Desk , or contact us via email or phone (518-477-7476, option 5).

So Much News, So Few Posts

busySorry for my absence, folks!  Things have been a bit crazy around here with all of the new and exciting tech projects brewing at the library.  I’ll give a quick rundown of what’s going on, and future posts will give more detail.

  • OverDrive, our service provider for downloadable e-books and audiobooks, has completely redesigned their website and checkout process.  The new site looks great on any device, and the process of borrowing titles is much more streamlined.  I have already updated our print brochures to reflect the changes, and I’m working furiously to update the website, as well.  Also, many of the e-book titles are available to read in a browser of your choice – no download required!  See our OverDrive READ brochure (PDF) for more information.  This bullet point will definitely get its own post.  Maybe two.
  • Starting in May, we are going to make laptops available for checkout within the library.  After signing an agreement, cardholders in good standing will be able to borrow a laptop from the Reference Desk for 2.5 hours.  Laptops cannot leave the building, but they will provide mobility within the library as well as the opportunity to work in groups.  Due to limitations in our printing software, they will be unable to print.  However, unlike our wired public computers, patrons will be able to temporarily save documents to the desktop for easy attachment to email.  When the laptop is shut down, any changes made by the user will be wiped out.  Head to the Reference Desk for more details.
  • In May, we will be completely revamping our public computing areas.  Our current computers are getting slow and outdated.  We will be replacing them with state-of-the art, blazing fast thin clients.  This will allow us to offer additional internet browser options,  Microsoft Office 2010, Windows 7, temporary saving of documents, and the return of many popular features, such as right-clicking!  It will also make it much easier for yours truly to keep them updated and secure.  Please be patient with us as we learn and deploy the new system.  I will keep you updated as we make progress.
  • For the last two months, library staff members have been participating in a technology training program called Connect 2 U.  The aim of this program was to help our staff become more comfortable with diving in and learning new technology tools that may be useful to both staff and patrons.  As a result, you may see more videos showing up on our YouTube channel, ranging from book reviews to tutorials on how to use library services.
  • We are exploring software options that will allow us to provide chat/text reference services to our patrons.  If all goes well, we hope to roll this out in the late summer.
  • The website we have works well on desktop computers and tablets, but the mobile site we use leaves a bit to be desired.  We’re working on an update/redesign that will be friendly to all devices, without requiring the maintenance of two separate websites.

Do you have other tech suggestions for the library? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.

OverDrive Gets a New Look and Browser-Based Reading

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If you use our downloadable e-books or audiobooks, you may be glad to know that the long-promised redesign and additional features, dubbed “Next Generation”, have finally arrived!  To see the new site layout, head to http://digitalcollection.uhls.org.  The short video below will explain how to browse the collection and manage your account in the new interface.  It will also introduce a great new feature – “OverDrive Read.”  This allows patrons to check out e-books and read them in a browser (online or offline) and synchronize bookmarks, last page read, etc. across devices.  Not all titles are available in OverDrive Read, but many are.

Some information to note about the new interface:

  • The new website uses “responsive design” which allows the mobile and desktop experience to be the same—optimized for any size screen regardless of a user’s device.
  • The Next Generation digital library website makes use of web technologies such as HTML 5 and CSS 3, which are not supported by some versions of Internet Explorer. If a user has IE 7 installed,  they will be immediately prompted to complete a one-time install of the Google Chrome Frame plug-in. The plug-in is free and only takes a few seconds to install. Users of IE 8 & 9 will also be prompted to install the plug-in for use of OverDrive Read (browser-based reading). Users may switch to another browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

Let us know what you think of the new interface in the comment section below!

OverDrive Hold Notification Glitch

We have been notified that OverDrive had a glitch in their system which falsely notified patrons that their items were ready for download.  If you received one of these notices, and then got an error message when you tried to download, please disregard.  You will be notified again when your item is actually ready.  Sorry for the inconvenience!

Digital Device Roundup

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Hello everyone!  I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season.  From the increase in questions about devices at the Reference desk, it appears e-readers and tablets were among the most popular gifts this season.  As you may know, the library offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks for use on computers, smartphones, and other digital devices.  As a general rule, if your device has a color display, the process for downloading items involves installing an app on your device.  The procedure for downloading to black & white devices varies by device (details in links below).

If you received a digital device for the holidays, or if you just want to learn more about them before you buy, read on for links to some of helpful information sources.

1.  iPad
About.com’s blog on all things iPad
Apple’s support site for iPad
iPad Academy
iPad for Dummies
Downloading library books to your iPad

2. Android Tablets (Google Nexus, Galaxy Tab, ASUS Transformer Pad, etc.)
Android 4.0 User Manual
How to use Android 4 tablets – basics (video)
Nexus Help
Nexus 7 for Dummies
Samsung Galaxy Tab for Dummies
Downloading library books to your Android tablet

3. Kindle Fire(s)
Amazon’s Kindle Support Page
Kindle Fire Tutorial Videos
Kindle Fire for Dummies
Downloading library books to your Kindle Fire

4. Other Kindles
Amazon’s Kindle Support Page
Kindle for Dummies
Downloading library books to your black & white Kindle
OverDrive Video Tutorials for Kindle

5. Nook Tablets (Color, HD, HD+)
Barnes & Noble Nook Support Page
Nook Tablet for Dummies
Nook Tablet Videos
Downloading library books to your Nook Tablet

6. Other Nooks
Barnes & Noble Nook Support Page
Nook eReader for Dummies
Nook Simple Touch Videos
Downloading library books to your Nook

7. Microsoft Surface
Unboxing the Microsoft Surface (video)
Microsoft Surface for Dummies
OverDrive Holiday Gadget Close-Up – Microsoft Surface
Downloading library books to your Microsoft Surface (Windows Phone App)

Do you have a gadget not listed here that you need help with?  Let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to add resources to this post.

Happy e-reading!