Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ebooks vs Ebook Readers

I just attended a web conference session on ebook readers. I was hoping the session would address the problem of lending ebook content that the library already owns with the Kindle. For a quick summary of why Overdrive books don't work on the Kindle, read this.

For that reason, the session was more concerned with describing the wide variety of ebook readers available and encouraging libraries to try lending the readers themselves. My initial reaction was that this was kind of crazy AND probably crazy expensive to implement. Besides, aren't libraries about content, not devices? Of course, then I thought about how every branch provides public computer stations, because the real point of the library is facilitating access to information. Plus, the accessibility of ebook readers is phenonemal, since they are much more flexible than a printed book. Text size can be changed for readers who have vision problems and some ebook readers even have a text to voice feature that makes a book accessible to the blind.

Logistically, a Kindle lending service would be tricky, but a few public libraries are already doing it. The patron is effectively borrowing a mini-library when they get an ebook reader since it can hold so many books. Would a library offer themed Kindles, like one with a collection of popular mysteries and another with romance novels? Or just put the entire NY Times Best Seller list on all of them?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Twitter Badge Success

I very recently created a Twitter account for NNT, in large part because I thought Jessica's Twitter feed on the RAN page looked pretty cool:

I wasn't sure how easy it was going to be to get the widget on the NNT branch page, but it turned out that Twitter has an easy process that creates the code you need for you. Just go here and then select whether you want to put it on your blog, Mspace page, or website. It gives you a choice between Flash and HTML and I found that the Flash widget looked better. (I also used the same process to add the Twitter feed to the sidebar here)

Anyway, here is the end result:


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zoho: a sisyphean ordeal

Actually, it wasn't that bad. I could see the benefit of having a web-accessible word processing program (especially when you compare free to the cost of any Microsoft program), but it was a frustrating experience due to the constraints of SPL bandwidth. Loading times were sooo slow, I would lose my work when the page timed out, etc. The layout and functions of Zoho were fine, but clearly Microsoft Word wins out when you don't have a fast or reliable internet connection. Nothing is more irritating than outpacing your computer's work speed.