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.

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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.