Posts Tagged ‘eBooks’
The British Library and Amazon have recently announced a new agreement to make 65,000 of their 19th Century literature titles available free-of-charge through the Amazon Kindle Store. I see this partnership as a big step towards the Kindle becoming the eReader of choice within the UK. Have a look at the press release at:
Recently we’ve also seen the release of the Kindle app for iPhone and iPod Touch and also the Kindle software for PCs. Take a look at:
Back in July,the American Library Journal reported that Arizona State University was being sued over their use of the Kindle eReader and the problems encountered by blind students with using the menus on the Kindle. They, along with other US Universities, were piloting their use for distributing eTextbooks to students, but because the menus on most eReaders are not accessible to blind users this was seen as inequality. I blogged about this at the time. http://chrissiet.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/arizona-state-university-being-sued-over-use-of-kindle-ebook-reader/
The case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) has now concluded and the universities that were using the eReaders have been instructed not to use the eReaders until they are usable by everyone. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6716860.html?nid=2673&source=title&rid=17250935 This seems like a big decision to make and could affect how much eReaders are used and adopted in education – particularly with this week’s launch of the Apple iPad (which I’ll blog about soon) which has potential to take over from the Kindle as the most popular “eReader” available.
I am not aware of any eReader yet that is totally accessible (forgive me if I’m wrong) – many have taken steps to include audio that reads the book to you, but if a visually impaired user can’t get to the speech option then it’s not much use. Personally I believe that eReaders do have a place in education, but it all comes down to personal choice. If a learner finds the eReaders useful and beneficial to their studies, then why not use them - but let’s not yet make them the default media quite yet…
Since colleges started getting the ebrary system for their eBooks for FE collection, there have been quite a number of problems installing the ebrary Reader for the additional functionality which this provides. The good news is that for this particular collection the ebrary Reader will soon no longer be required. See Anna Vernon’s message below that was circulated at the end of 2009 which includes other updates - I know, I’m behind in my blog posts
In the New Year you may notice a number of changes to the ebrary platform, the main enhancement being the integration of functionality previously found within the ebrary reader to a html based reader. In other words, you or your users will no longer need to click on the ‘ebrary reader’ button or to install Java to use the advanced functionality. I have asked ebrary to remove the button for all colleges so you do not have to take any action.
There have been a number of updates to the MARC records within the collection to reflect newer editions. So that your catalogue lists the correct edition listed please update your MARC records. Non Heritage users can update their MARC records by logging into their Partner site (details were sent in your welcome letter by Sara Bowler) and completing the following steps:
- Click on the ‘get MARC records’ link
- Click the button ‘update MARC data’
- Any available MARC records will then be displayed by date and time
- When prompted, save the file to your computer as required. (The MARC records include a unique URL to point users to each individual book title)
If you have any issues with the MARC records or new interface please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage Records for systems without the MARC import module will be made available as soon as possible in the New Year.
eReaders are evolving into something that looks really exciting. Take a look at this article from the New York Times that my colleague Lisa Valentine sent me:
The enTourage eDGe looks stunning and should really move eReader technology on in leaps and bounds. There’s a demo on the enTourage website: http://www.entourageedge.com/
It’s not even out yet in the USA and is still pretty expensive, but it shows great promise – particularly for text books. Imagine reading about a subject such as blood circulation on the eReader screen and seeing the animation on the LCD screen alongside it!
At the UKSG E-Resources for FE Seminar I gave a presentation looking at whether libraries and learning resource centres are providing learner centred environments.
My aim for the presentation was to get you all thinking. Over the last few months I’ve been talking to Librarians putting forward observations and reflections, on how libraries could respond to the evolving needs of learners and their learning styles, to prompt discussion and elicit feedback.
It’s been an interesting few months of changing ideas and perceptions resulting in the presentation below. Are we providing Learner Centred Environments? How can a library be “physical” as well as “virtual”? How can we exploit online platforms? How do Learning Styles influence library services?
The presentation showcases innovative ideas, new technology and useful websites, and provides some suggestions to challenge your thinking and influence your future planning.
Handout on Learning Styles (MS Word 2007)
Did you know that you can customise how the ebrary eBook library looks?
It is possible to customise the top bar of your ebrary site to show whatever you wish; provided that you ensure that all links open in a new window and that the new page is 42px high. This page can be hosted on your own college server and updated whenever you wish. Try creating a new page with your college logo, links to your other online resources and your college catalogue.
The right half of the homepage can also be customised and hosted on your own college server thereby enabling regular updates as required. You can showcase your most popular eBooks or highlight all the set texts that are included in the collection.
A public example of a customised site is available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/csli/home.action
ebrary Reader InfoTools
The InfoTools menu within the eBrary reader can be customised as you wish to link to web sites of your choosing. This can include any site with persistent links such as Infotrac or your library catalogue. At present only the InfoTools menu within the ebrary reader can be changed, but ebrary are working on enabling this customisation with the InfoTools menu of the QuickView. See my previous post for details of how to get the ebrary reader working on your college network.
How do I start customising my college’s ebrary site?
You need to contact email@example.com with details of how you would like to customise the site.
Full details of how to customise ebrary are on the ebrary site at:
Thanks to Hilary Richmond at Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College for letting me assist with customising her college’s ebrary site to understand how this all works.
Now that colleagues are starting to use ebrary, it has come to light that to use the ebrary Reader (the one that includes speech), you may need to ask your technical team to set it up for you on the network. Here are all the details you need which have been provided direct from ebrary.
- We require the latest version of Java. Please make sure Java has been updated
- Please make sure cookies are enabled and that reader.ebrary.com is not blocked on ports 80 and 443. This has been a common problem with colleges that are using proxies/firewalls
- From the diagnostics we have been receiving, it seems that many users have not allowed for write access to their home directory. The Java reader does not require admin rights for installation but it creates personalized files for users in their home directory.
- Proxies that cache ebrary data can cause session errors because each individual who accesses needs unique session data. Ebrary servers are at 216.200.62.* . I recommend making sure that no content is cached from those IPs.
- If you are still having trouble, visit http://site.ebrary.com/validate and http://www.ebrary.com/kb/users/java_diag.jsp
If you still have problems using the ebrary Reader, please do get in touch.
Amazon is making it’s massively hyped eReader “Kindle” available to the UK from October 19 to very mixed reviews. Take a look at the comments on the Guardian website for example:
This isn’t a UK release per se (we’ll have to wait longer for that), but Amazon.com making the Kindle available for export outside the US. Although they have made some changes (if you buy the right Kindle from the choice of three, the wireless will now connect to 3G networks outside the US using AT&T roaming), there is still quite a lot that’s American about it. The built in dictionary is “The New Oxford American Dictionary”, the Kindle Store prices all it’s books in dollars and the content available from the store is currently predominantly American but is starting to include more UK content with the inclusion of The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Jeff Bezos, Amazon boss (as The Guardian puts it), has promised a UK version of Kindle in the future which will be available from Amazon UK accompanied by a UK Kindle store with prices in sterling.
Be careful – UK use of the current Kindle can be costly. The price on the screen is not necessarily the price that you pay (although Amazon do promise that there will be no customs duties or other fees). The Kindle itself will be more expensive than is initially stated due to the addition of VAT – which Amazon only estimate upon checkout. It’s also possible that the Royal Mail will charge you administration costs for importing.
You can upload documents to the Kindle directly using USB, but if you want to email them to the Kindle there is a charge of “$.99 per megabyte”. In addition the books are more expensive to download in the UK with the inclusion of a download charge of $1.99 per item.
Personally all I want is an eReader that will show every format of electronic document I have (in the main MS Office and PDFs – I haven’t make the foray into purchasing an ePUB format book yet) whilst being really easy to use. It would “make my day” if the eReader would also go online and allow me to easily search the JISC eBook collections as well. EVEN BETTER (OK, I’m pushing it a bit here) would be a way of cataloguing all the books that I have access to – uploaded and online – into a fully searchable index. I can dream
From the Sunday Times’ review, it looks like Kindle has the potential to fulfill my dreams and also provide for those dreams I never knew I had!! (An eReader that reads the eBook to you – how useful is that!), but this release is limited for UK users. The web browser doesn’t work in the UK (my dreams have now gone up in smoke) and neither does the ability to follow blogs. I think I have a little while to wait before the Kindle will make my dreams come true.
So, when is the official UK launch?…
Following on from this morning’s blog, my FE Curriculum colleague Anita Holt has very kindly passed me the Word document below that lists all the books in the Nintendo DS 100 Classic Book Collection and has included whether they are on the recommended reading lists for the GCSE and/or A Level Curricula.
Well, I’m disappointed. I’ve tried the JISC eBook for FE collection on the Nintendo DSi, and confirmed what my colleague Angela from Bury College mentioned to me that they are not viewable.
Out of the box the DSi doesn’t come with the browser. To get the browser you firstly need to use the built in wireless facility to connect to a wireless network. This can be a bit fiddly if you use security on the network which uses anything other than a WEP key. However, I was impressed that it did have space to put in proxy details as well as a WPA key on the advanced setup, so there’s a possibility it should connect to the interest through whatever wireless connection you have. Once connected, the browser is then a free download from the DSi shop.
My suspicions that not being able to view the books in the JISC collection could be a problem with Opera (as the DSi browser is based on Opera) are unfounded as the site works with no problems in the Opera browser on my laptop – so it is very possibly something else. What happens is that when you want to view a book using the DSi browser through the ebrary Quickview, you are presented with a blank screen accompanied by all the menus. It could get very confusing to users because it doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong and what you see could be misinterpreted as the interface making it impossible to view any of the listed books. Everything else seems to be working as it should – even the Shibboleth authentication! Very disappointing. It would have been a lovely little eBook reader for all libraries if this would have worked. I’m going to contact Anna at JISC Collections to see what she says.
In the meantime I did manage to have a look at the Classic eBook Collection which is available to buy from Amazon and all good video game stockists (I sound like an advert!) and could be distributed in all libraries. I really liked it. Take a look at the picture on the left of our DSi showing Jane Eyre. You can read the full book, or find out about the book and/or the author. The Classic eBook Collection has 100 complete fictional books classic books (with a possible 10 more that can be downloaded) from authors such as Austen, Dickens and Shakespeare it’s possible that there are quite a few titles from the English Literature curricula on here. It’s definitely worth a look. Anyone wanting to have a look at the DSi and the collection, just drop me a line and I’ll bring it along next time I see you.
The only downside with the Classic eBook Collection I could spot was with the capability of downloading additional books. This game only has support for WEP secured wireless connections as this was the only capability that the DSi’s predecessor had (for which this “game” is designed). Therefore if you have a WPA connection, or a connection that requires proxy settings, you will probably not be able to access the additional books – that is until you find someone with a WEP secured wireless connection
I’ll keep you all updated on what Anna says and whether viewing the JISC eBook collection on a DSi will ever be possible.