OverDrive Announces Streaming Audiobooks
OverDrive recently announced that it will update its popular audiobook download services to include new options for readers to instantly “See Book—Hear Book.” Scheduled for launch later this year, streaming audiobooks will be available on a wide range of Internet-connected devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. Streaming technology will eliminate long downloads. A “Listen Now” option will complement the download options already in use with OverDrive Media Console apps. OverDrive will incorporate the streaming option into the free Over-Drive Media Console apps, enabling readers to access complete audiobooks or to immediately sample excerpts without first downloading the title. This new feature will complement the current download options, which allow readers to transfer titles to a variety of iPod and MP3 audio devices or burn to CD. Streaming audiobooks will enforce copyright and support-permitted lending models, and access to each streaming audiobook will expire at the end of the borrowing period. Streaming audiobook samples will also be available to patrons and students inside the library with the recently announced OverDrive Media Station. OverDrive Media Station enables in-library access to digital content on touchscreen monitors and public Internet workstations. A preview of OverDrive Media Station is available.
ALA Introduces Mobile Commons Service
The American Library Association (ALA) has partnered with cell phone marketing provider Mobile Commons to provide text message alerts for library advocacy issues. The new, free service makes it easy to make just-in-time calls to Congress on specific issues. Subscribers can expect to receive two to three text message alerts per month from the ALA Office of Government Relations, with the option of making a toll-free call to legislative offices. Alerts will include talking points on specific issues. Register for the new service by texting the word “library” to 877877, or register online at www.districtdispatch.or/textalerts.
Recorded Books and Zinio Debut Digital Magazine Stand
Recorded Books recently announced that it will begin distribution of the popular Zinio digital newsstand to public libraries in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. “Zinio for Libraries” will allow public library patrons to read, interact with, and explore the largest selection of magazines by just using their library card. Zinio provides a quick and easy way for library patrons to read digital copies of their favorite magazines. Using their Mac or PC, reading fans will be able to access the library’s catalog of selected digital magazines. Zinio’s unique digital platform recreates a magazine page-for-page, including highly visual full-color pictures, while taking the reading experience even further through intuitive navigation, keyword article search, and interactive rich media elements such as audio and video. The program supports simultaneous use of titles. Per-title pricing is in addition to a tiered platform fee that is tied to annual circulation. Zinio for Libraries offers titles in twenty-three languages. The Zinio platform provides global access to more than 4,500 magazine titles covering every major genre, industry, specialty, and hobby, across a wide range of devices.
CIVICTechnologies Releases CommunityConnect
CIVICTechnologies, the leading national provider of market segmentation and geographic information system (GIS) data and solutions to libraries, recently announced the availability of CommunityConnect. CommunityConnect is a software-as-a-service solution that helps public libraries allocate money for resources, services, and collection development by predicting people’s needs and interests, neighborhood by neighborhood. By combining market segmentation data with a library’s patron and checkout data, CommunityConnect helps libraries find new customers, increase services, address low literacy rates, compare service areas, and perform market research, among other features. CommunityConnect helps libraries do three important things: (1) understand their community, (2) predict what people are interested in, and (3) deliver relevant services. This customer-driven approach to library service is based on analyzing and combining different data sets, including census data, library data, and market segmentation data. The result is an interactive web-based software solution that helps library staff assemble the right mix of collections and services to meet customer needs. CIVICTechnologies provides web services, customized applications, and consulting services to libraries and businesses.
Google Enables Indoor Maps for Libraries
Gale Announces ed2go for Public Libraries
Gale, part of Cengage Learning, recently announced ed2go for public libraries, bringing turnkey online training and education solutions to the public library market. ed2go provides online training courses for the adult education, career, and corporate training markets through partnerships with colleges, universities, community-based organizations, and now through public libraries. The ed2go for public libraries program will offer patrons access to hundreds of instructor-led online courses covering everything from health and wellness to digital photography, computer programming, GED test preparation, and much more. Though these are not college equivalent courses, certificate programs are available for careers in the medical field, project management, and computer networking. Through the subscription model, librarians may purchase access to a catalog of ed2go courses. Patrons can then select specific courses in which to enroll. Reporting capabilities enable tracking of successful patron outcomes.
OverDrive Introduces Browser-Based E-Book Reader
Leading global e-book distributor OverDrive recently announced plans to launch a new eBook reading platform called “OverDrive Read” later this year. Unlike e-book apps or devices, OverDrive Read enables readers using standard web browsers to enjoy e-books online and offline without first installing any software or activating their device. Based on technology developed by recently acquired Australian e-book firm Booki.sh, OverDrive Read will provide new options for millions of readers who access e-books from OverDrive’s global network of retail, library, and school catalogs. Browser-based e-books improve discovery and social options for authors and publishers to more directly connect with readers. To that end, OverDrive Read creates a URL for each title where preview, review copies, browsing, and sampling can be widely and easily promoted. OverDrive Read supports both online and offline reading with configurable, industry-approved copyright protection for e-books. Toview a demo title using OverDrive Read, visit https://penelopiad-18893a.booki.sh. As with other browser-based systems, OverDrive Read will enable publishers, authors, and retailers to benefit from more direct engagement with readers and to gather data about how users are discovering, browsing, and selecting e-books and catalogs through OverDrive global channels.
Ingram Announces MyiLibrary for Public Libraries
announced that its MyiLibrary e-book platform for public libraries will be available beginning in September 2012. Ingram’s MyiLibrary platform has been popular in the academic e-book market and Ingram has been working to pump more popular content into the collection for public library patrons. The company demonstrated how it is reconfiguring the MyiLibrary interface to make it more attractive to public library users at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim this past June.
Gluejar Inc. Launches Unglue.it
Gluejar Inc. has launched Unglue.it, a crowdfunding platform to encourage authors and publishers to release their e-book titles under a Creative Commons license. Unglue.it negotiates with rights holders to determine fair compensation for the release of a free and legal edition of a published title. The title is released under Creative Commons licensing after pledged funds are collected and distributed to the rights holder. These digital rights management (DRM)-free titles will be available from The Internet Archive or they can be saved on a library’s server and integrated into the library catalog. Crowdfunding is a way for Unglue.it members to pool donations to support the issuance of an unglued digital edition. Unglue.it membership is free. Donors can be individuals or institutions, and they may pledge any amount they wish. Credit cards are only charged if the campaign for a title reaches its goal price. In order to fund a campaign, you need a credit card; in order to begin a campaign you must demonstrate that you own the rights to the title you wish to unglue. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Gluejar, the parent company of Unglue.it, is a for-profit company that works with both nonprofit and commercial partners.