Tag Archives: eCLP

Digital Comics Now on Hoopla

Sandman Preludes and NocturnesI have been waiting for libraries to carry digital comics for years.

And now, thanks to Hoopla and a few major comics publishers, they do. (Read this for information on why the Library may not have the eBook or digital comic you’re looking for.)

Hoopla now carries comics published by DC, IDW, and more. Image (my current favorite publisher) will hopefully be added to that mix in the near future.

There are a few quirks to watch out for as you browse. Some comics are collected into digital “trade paperbacks” (most of DC’s are like this) and some are available as single issues.

For some comics the series is broken up and you have to look in two different places to find it. (Example: Princeless issue one is here, and the other three are over here.) For others (like Adventure Time), only select issues are available (30 to 36 as of this writing.)

To celebrate this momentous occasion for comic nerds everywhere, I made a list of my top six digital comic picks.

  1. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman: If you haven’t read this classic wherein Death, Dream, Destruction, Destiny, etc. are godlike entities who get wrapped up in the mundane world in various ways, you absolutely should. This is the series that made Gaiman’s name, and for good reason. It’s fantastic.
  2. Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham: This is another of my all-time favorites. (I talk about one volume a little in this post over here.) Fairy tale characters are living in modern Manhattan after the Adversary takes over their homelands. There are murder mysteries, epic battles, magic, sarcasm, and plenty of tender moments.
  3. John Constantine, Hellblazer by Jamie Delano: I have had a major crush on John Constantine since I first read Hellblazer back in high school. He fights demons, chain smokes, and generally embodies the spirit of punk in a totally kick butt way. (There’s also a movie, which I recommend only if you are fond of Keanu Reeves, and one season of a television series–now cancelled–that began airing last fall.)
  4. Lumberjanes Issue 1Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson: This band of girlfriends is the kind of group you’ve always wanted to belong to. Maybe you do. If so, all of you should read this together.
  5. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller: My first introduction to this classic Batman tale was the cartoon adaptation of the early 1990s (which is fantastic, too, by the way). This is a “what if” scenario: What if Batman weren’t there to save Gotham? Now you can find out, 24/7, without leaving your couch/bed/gaming chair.
  6. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn: What if all men died? Not just humans, but all male animals, too? Except for one. Follow him and the awesome ladies he encounters as he searches for his fiancee, who might be somewhere in Australia.

You’re smart, so you probably noticed most of these are DC Vertigo titles. It’s true. I love DC Vertigo. There are so many more comics on Hoopla though, like biographies of Barack Obama and Kate Middleton for young adults, and classics adapted into comic form.

But the best thing about Hoopla? There are no wait lists. Every title is available to everyone all the time. So go on, read some comics!

-Kelly

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Help OverDrive Help You!

Ah, the ebook – it can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy. One day you’re reading along merrily, the next you’re staring sadly at an unintelligible error message that just might possibly mean something in Sumerian. But you don’t speak Sumerian – so where do you turn when your ebooks turn on you?

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A shipment of new eBooks waiting to be checked in by our staff.

I always like to start with the OverDrive help pages, for three reasons: one, they’re detailed and always up to date; two, they’re super searchable; and three, I like to think that the people who make a product are the most likely to know how to fix it (this theory works equally well with ebooks, dryers, and nuclear weapons).

Anyway, to reach the OverDrive help pages all you have to do is click on the happy little question mark – it’s at the top of every page on our OverDrive site.

OverDrive banner

CLICK CLICK CLICK

That will take you to this general help page. There’s a lot of useful stuff there, including the “Recommend to Library” page – great if we’re missing a title from your favorite series – and a link to our email help form, down there at the bottom.

But if you’re like me (or it’s two in the morning and no one’s home at the library), you’ll want answers NOW. And if you want answers NOW, you should click on the first link, the one for “OverDrive Help.” Trust me here; I’ve been working with OverDrive since 2006. They gave me a frisbee once.

Help page

So many buttons, so little time.

And now you’re into the super searchable OverDrive database of awesomeness. The bar across the top has many fine drop down menus that link you to articles and videos about all of the formats that OverDrive offers (note: we don’t have all of them; we have ebooks, audiobooks, and video).

But if you still want answers NOW, just drop a couple of keywords into that old search box. Let’s pretend that I checked out a James Patterson book by mistake (I do not like James Patterson, but here I am promoting him anyway), and I want to return it early, instead of waiting three weeks for it to expire. So I’ll type “return” into the search box.

OverDrive help

You can even keep refreshing the page until you get a background picture that you like.

Just hit enter, and BOOM. Look at at that, the very first result is exactly what I need to get rid of that James Patterson book. Perfect!

Your time is up, Patterson.

Your time is up, Patterson.

That link will take you to an article that explains how to return OverDrive titles in lotsa different formats (EPUB, Kindle, MP3), and from lotsa different devices (Android phones, iPads, Kindles, nooks). So you’re pretty much covered, no matter what you’re doing.

You can even copy and paste your esoteric Sumerian error message into that handy search box, and OverDrive will explain it to you. Nice.

So remember, even if you don’t know what the heck is happening with your ebook, OverDrive probably does. Just give them a chance!

– Amy

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2015 Reading Resolutions: Onward and Upward!

With another year of books under our belts, it’s time to look ahead. To bring the blogging year to a close, some Eleventh Stackers have chosen to share their reading resolutions for 2015. There’s nowhere to go, but up, and our team has aimed high — check it out!

Jess

Every time someone asks for a mystery recommendation, I cringe. Despite my love for serialized crime shows (Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, Murder She Wrote…), I just have a hard time with the genre in book form. 2015 is the year I step up my game and have some titles in my back pocket for the next time I’m put on the spot. I have Anthony Hororwitz’s Moriarty on my list (I read The House of Silk last year for our Tuesday book club, and liked his take on Sherlock). And a regular patron suggested the Ian Rutledge series, by Charles Todd. Readers, if you have any must-reads, maybe some non-historicals that are maybe a bit John Grisham-y, please send ’em my way.

suzy

Unfinished business.

Unfinished business.

I’m going to finish some books in 2015. This year, for whatever reason, I’d get almost to the end of a book and stop reading it. It didn’t matter whether I liked the book or not: I just stopped. I don’t know if this is a sign of mental illness or a newly shortened attention span. Here is a sampling of the books I started, thoroughly enjoyed, and never finished. Feel free to tell me the endings.

Ross

In 2010 I started Stephen King’s It. “Started” being the key word here.  That book is thick, yo.  Maybe 2015 will be the year I finish it.  Or maybe I’ll focus on the classics that I missed out on for one reason or the other, like Animal Farm or Moby-Dick.  Maybe I’ll go back to the books of my childhood, like the Narnia books. Or, since I just started re-watching Gilmore Girls, maybe I’ll focus on a Rory Gilmore reading list.

Irene

I’ve never had much use for audio-books, but I recently discovered how much I like listening to them on long runs. So my reading resolution for 2015 is actually more of a listening resolution: to delve into the library’s collection of super-portable Playaways. I just started listening to Runner.

Scott

I plan to read some more Anne Sexton. I am also slowly re-reading all of the Song Of Ice And Fire novels using the eCLP format.

Leigh Anne

I like to play along with formal reading challenges, to make sure that I regularly step out of my favorite genres and formats to try a little bit of everything. Luckily the magical internet is filled with such opportunities, most of which I find via A Novel Challenge, a terrific blog that collects news and info about different reading games. Of course, I always load up on way too many challenges, and rarely finish any of them…but I sure do have a great time trying!

Here are some challenges I’ll be signing up for in 2015:

The Bookish 2015 TBR Reading Challenge. I have two bookcases at home filled with books I own that I haven’t read yet (I blame the Library, both for being so excellent and for fueling my book-buying habit). It’s getting a little bit out of hand, so I’ve decided to dive into those TBR shelves and decide whether to keep or regift what I’ve got.

It's not bragging if it's true.

It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Janet Ursel’s We Read Diverse Books Challenge. It’s no secret that the publishing  industry is still predominantly white, which means there are a lot of stories out there untold or overlooked. This bothers me both professionally and personally, so I’m on a constant mission to make sure my own reading and reviewing is as inclusive as possible. This challenge was inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign of 2014.

The 2015 Ebook Reading Challenge. Ebooks are an important part of the reading landscape these days, and I really should be looking at more of them (Overdrive READ is my friend right now, until I finally decide which tablet I want). Ebooks are also sometimes challenging for me because of my vision impairments, but I’m hoping Consumer Reports , a little web sleuthing, and input from other users (maybe you?) will help me pick out the tablet with the best accessibility features. Thanks in advance!

The 2015 Graphic Novels & Manga Challenge. This one’s kind of a cheat, as I adore comics of all kinds. The problem is, I rarely make time to read them, mostly out of guilt because they’re so much fun and there are many other Terribly Serious Things I should be reading dontcha know. However, this means I missed a lot of good stuff in 2014, so I’ve decided to ditch the guilt and spend 2015 savoring the fine art of comics. Woohoo!

Four challenges is do-able, right?  I’ll report back regularly in upcoming blog posts.

Melissa F.

Browsing the historical fiction section

Browsing the historical fiction section

I’ve become a little too comfortable insofar as my reading habits go. On one hand, I don’t see any problem with this, since reading is something I do for fun and entertainment. Still, there’s something to be said for expanding one’s knowledge and horizons.

In 2015, I’m planning to do more of my reading from the World Fiction and Historical Fiction sections on the First Floor of CLP-Main. I’m not setting an actual numerical goal for this resolution, just challenging myself to read more from these areas (which I admittedly tend to overlook while perusing the new fiction, nonfiction, and short stories).  Your suggestions are most welcome.

And there you have it! Do you have any reading recommendations or advice for the Eleventh Stackers? Do you set yourself reading goals or just let the books fall where they may? Share the wisdom, leave a comment!

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Concerning the Adobe Digital Editions Data Log Issues

Some recent news has come to light surrounding Adobe Digital Editions and the way it collects information about eBook use. In an effort to stay on top of the situation, we wanted to provide some background to the news and how Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is responding.

What is happening

Adobe Digital Editions is a piece of software designed to handle Digital Rights Management, or DRM. It’s a security tool that protects things like eBooks from being copied and widely distributed. Publishers often require DRM in their materials as a safeguard against piracy. In the library context, this also enables library eBooks to act like their print counterparts – that is to say, books that are “returned” once they hit their expiration date. If you check out eBooks from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on your desktop or laptop computer, you were probably required to download the Adobe Digital Editions client.

Blogger Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader discovered that Adobe Digital editions is keeping an ongoing record of any items that have checked in with Adobe Digital Editions, as well as the items held on any device that syncs with Adobe Digital Editions. So if you have Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, and you connect an eReader or tablet to it, it will check in with that “mother ship” and ADE will log the eBooks on that device.

This data collection is limited to eBook data that goes through the Adobe Digital Editions on your desktop computer. However, if you connect a device to that computer, ADE will log those ebooks to its record. So if you connect an iPad, Nook, or other eReader to your computer, Adobe will look for eBooks on that device and track that information.

On one level, this is both overly invasive and troubling. But the biggest problem is that this data is then sent to Adobe in an unencrypted format – which raises some serious red flags from a security standpoint.

What isn’t happening

Adobe isn’t crawling through your hard drive. A series of independent tests demonstrated that Adobe is keeping an ongoing record of any items that have checked in with Adobe Digital Editions, and checked a number of variables to verify the extent of the data logging. While these data logs are certainly a serious issue, Adobe Digital Editions is not searching your computer for other types of private or personal information.

adelogo

 

 

What you can do

If you’re checking out eBooks through the OverDrive app, sending eBooks to your Kindle, or using OverDrive READ to view eBooks through your browser, this issue won’t affect you. Likewise for eAudiobooks, which don’t use Adobe Digital Editions at all.

If you are downloading eBooks through your desktop computer, a good temporary solution would be to use the OverDrive READ feature to read books through your browser. Adobe has promised a fix, and we will be looking out for any updates to Adobe Digital Editions 4.

The previous version of Adobe Digital Editions has been found not to collect data in this way. If you like, you can uninstall ADE 4.0 from your computer, and download ADE 3.0 from the Adobe website.

What we’re doing

We love our eCLP collection, and we know you’ve come to love it as well. Using new online services always raises some major concerns about the balance between privacy and convenience. As an institution that holds your privacy in extremely high regard while making things as convenient and easy to use as possible, we definitely have to weigh one issue in contrast with the other.

We are sending a letter to OverDrive (our primary eBook vendor) alerting them to our concerns. Given that we have a direct relationship with OverDrive, we think raising the issue to them will be the best way to make our voice heard. We are also discussing this matter with members of ReadersFirst, a national organization devoted to improving eBook access and services for library users. The American Library Association has also issued a statement.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and make sure to keep you informed about any issues we encounter regarding our third-party vendors.

If you have concerns, we want to hear from you. Please contact Toby Greenwalt, Director of Digital Strategy and Technology Integration at greenwaltt@carnegielibrary.org.

 

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eCLP: Free and Easy

icon-music

 

If I wrote a blog post about all that was amazing about the FREE “e” services Carnegie Library provides, it would be the longest one ever. I will therefore force myself to concentrate on one aspect — downloadable and streaming music. So Much! Downloadable and Streaming Music! Whatever Your Tastes!

There is so much that it can get a little overwhelming, so I urge you to start now. All you need is a library card, which is free of course. Downloadable offerings are easily accessible using apps or on a PC. No need to come to the library to take out or return stuff. Best of all it is free, free, free, free, free, free, FREE!

Here is a summary of what Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers:

Downloadable Music

Hoopla100Downloadable music, by album. Hoopla also has lots of movies, TV shows and audiobooks. I personally use this service a lot! I have the app on my smartphone, and plug it in to my car speakers or listen in my kitchen while I’m cooking. I have yet not to find what I’m searching for, and I have very eclectic tastes. I have educated myself about new artists with this service. Everything is always available, no waiting or putting things on hold.

 

freegalmusicDownload the app, or go through your PC. Three free songs per week. Yours to keep forever. ‘Nuff said.

 

Streaming Music

Streaming music is not downloadable. You need to be connected to the internet. I use these sites to listen to music on my computer with headphones. Go through this site to access these databases.

Alexander Street Press music databases:

American Song — Songs by and about Native Americans, miners, immigrants, slaves, children and many others.

Contemporary World Music

Smithsonian Global Sound — world, folk (including the U. S.) and traditional music

Classical Music Library

Jazz Music Library

Opera in Video — operas, interviews & documentaries

This site also has help pages listed at the bottom, including Using Your Mobile Device with Alexander Street Press.

 

Naxos databases:

Naxos Music Library — classical, jazz and world music.

Naxos Music Library: Jazz — lots and lots of Jazz!

 

DRAM Online:

Digital Recordings of American Music — A scholarly resource of recordings, including liner notes and essays. This streaming site is only available within the Main Library of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

 

All this music for free! Educate yourself. Discover a type of music you’ve never heard before. There’s no risk because there is nothing to buy. Each site has new content all the time. What are you waiting for?

-Joelle

 

P. S. Did I mention that all this content is FREE (with your free library card)?

 

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eCLP for Laughs

Hoopla has nothing to do with the album Knee Deep in the Hoopla by Starship (a.k.a., Jefferson Starship) which contains the song “We Built This City” which I think might be the worst song to emerge out of the 1980s.  No, this hoopla (yes, the company branders always write it without capitalizing) is a newer eCLP library service that is marketed as a provider of movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and music albums.  It indeed has those things.  But you know what I use it for?  Comedy albums.  There are about 250 of them in there to stream or download with classics like Steve Martin and Richard Pryor plus newer sensations like Jim Gaffigan.  TIP: find them in the music category or just search for “comedy.”

Here are some I’ve checked out lately:

wea_824363019666_detail You might know Marc Maron from his WTF podcast/radio show.  For his stand-up comedy, he claims he doesn’t prepare: “In my mind, if I don’t prepare and I pull this off, I’m a !@#$ing genius…and if I don’t pull it off, eh, I didn’t prepare.”  His style is rambling, self-deprecating, and confessional, and I think he indeed does pull it off.

wea_824363010366_detail Pittsburgh’s own Anthony Jeselnik is the opposite of Maron.  He has a measured, deliberate delivery and his comic persona is ridiculously narcissistic.  As for his material, be warned, it is some of the most un-PC, offensive, and if you like that sort of thing, hilarious, comedy out there.

wea_824363011868_detail Also offensive and funny is Amy Schumer (who as it happens, used to date Jeselnik) who smartly takes on and plays with the identity of a promiscuous party girl.

wea_656605023465_detail I knew about Tig Notaro’s candid, stunning album that she made after being diagnosed with cancer, but until hoopla, I hadn’t heard her earlier album, Good One.  She is a master of deadpan delivery.

wea_824363016467_detail Those of you who have seen Demetri Martin on TV might think of him as a prop or a visual comic.  But he fares very well is purely audio form.  Here is a joke of his, for example, “Separate but equal is terrible for education but perfect for eyebrows.”

wea_824363017068_detail While I’m quoting jokes, I have to share the lesser known Kyle Kinane’s absurd description of pho soup: “If you don’t know what pho is, it’s a Vietnamese soup that answers the question: what happens when a former child soldier pours hot rainwater over fish nightmares?”

Get absurd.  Get offended.  Get happy.  Get some comedy albums from hoopla.

— Tim

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Gadgets A-Go-Go

eclp Librarians here at CLP enjoy opportunities to do some pretty amazing work.  We educate, inform, and often end up learning right along side the customers and patrons we so happily serve.  One of my great pleasures in my work remains my role on CLP’s Technology Training Team.  This relatively small sub-group of CLP staffers principally goes about the business of teaching customers and fellow employees how to use CLP’s eResources.

We most often help the public in this capacity through our regularly scheduled Gadget Labs.  You can also find listings for imminent Gadget Labs on our Upcoming Events page here.  So exactly what can you learn about at one of these Gadget Labs?  Not surprisingly, gadgets of course!  When we speak of gadgets at CLP we generally mean any handheld device that allows a person access to our eResources.  This most often includes eBooks, audiobooks, music, and magazines from the eNewsstand.  Gadget Labs offer you the chance to test and handle a number of sample devices from some of the most popular manufacturers, but more often we find ourselves helping customers with their own gadgets that they have brought along, and therein lies the real beauty of these ongoing programs.  You get hands-on, in person help with sorting out any issues you’re having accessing our content.

So if you want to figure out how to download three totally free songs per week from Freegal, we’ve got you covered.  If you want to learn how to sign up for Zinio and subscribe to hundreds of popular magazines and read them on your computer, iPad, or tablet device, we can make that happen.  If you’re into audiobooks and you want to learn how to get them on your smart phone, we’ve got two great options we can show you.  Or if you want to sort out how to get some eBooks on your new eReader, we’ve got well over 20,000 titles we’re very excited about showing you how to access!

While just about everyone at CLP recognizes that print books and other physical resources will not be going away anytime soon, we have also made a commitment to staying on the cutting edge of these new and emerging technologies.  We demonstrate this commitment and excitement at every Gadget Lab, and we invite you to come and join us in the process!

–Scott

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Hola! ¿Cómo estás?

Muy bien, gracias.

And that’s about as far as I can get in Spanish, leaving me pretty far out of the loop when I was visiting Colombia last month.  My two-year-old niece was saying words I couldn’t understand.  So, one of my many new year’s resolutions is to study Spanish this year.  Since it’s everything I can do to commit to a new year’s resolution, I don’t want to go too far and commit to an actual class yet.  So what am I going to do?

The first thing I’m going to do is borrow one of our downloadable audiobooks.  Overdrive has both Instant Immersion Spanish and Spanish on the Move, while Netlibrary offers eight Spanish instructional audiobooks published by Pimsleur, from beginning to advanced. I’m also going to borrow one of the phrasebooks, such as Latin American Spanish or At Home Abroad Spanish: Practical Phrases for Conversational Spanish, and make myself some flashcards and stickers to put around the house.  (I think knowing how to say “couch” (sofá) and “fridge” (refrigerador) will come in handy, don’t you?)  After a few weeks or months, I’m going to test myself by taking the practice SAT Spanish Test in the Testing & Education Resource Center, one of our research databases, and see how far I’ve gotten.

Of course, I’ll be using my Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card to access those items, but there are many free online sources that can help me learn Spanish as well.  One that my mom’s been using (believe me, she was with me in Colombia, and I couldn’t have gone shopping without her!) is Coffee Break Spanish.  They have a lesson library and a weekly podcast, so you can listen on an mp3 player.  Another site with free lessons is Live Mocha.  They use both visuals and sounds, as well as little quizes to test your progress.  I learned about Quia Spanish from our Tools & Research page for Spanish. It has all kinds of fun and slightly addictive games to practice with. I’m signing up for Spanish Word-a-Day, too.

So there you have it, a resolution for the non-committal.  Hasta luego!

-Kaarin

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