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Archive for the ‘Access’ Category

O, Happy Day!  New York Public Library users are now able to borrow ebooks from the Library’s ebook catalog at ebooks.nypl.org and read them on their Kindle and/or via Kindle app for various devices (iPad, Touch, smartphones, PCs, Macs, and via the Kindle Cloud Reader)!! Today I’ve borrowed three ebooks from the NYPL and was able to have them delivered to my Kindle (and then to my iPad, iPod Touch, Kindle Cloud Reader, Kindle for Mac, and DROID phone).

Although the publicity on the launch of Amazon’s Public Library Books for Kindle program has centered around the beta test of the new system at the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System, the Public Library Books for Kindle service is also available on the New York Public Library’s eNYPL Web site at http://ebooks.nypl.org

The Seattle Times has provided an excellent explanation of the Public Library Books for Kindle process in two articles by Brier Dudley. (See links below.)

In the Photo Guide article, whose link I’ve listed last, Dudley has posted screenshots as well as a step-by-step guide to the process of checking out a library ebook on a Kindle ereader and/or on a Kindle app.

I’ve just spent the last few hours checking out the NYPL’s Kindle ebook selection and am absolutely delighted that this option is now available to NYPL users. I’m particularly pleased that the ability to borrow ebooks for use on the Kindle has come to the NYPL’s ebook catalog, as I often prefer reading on the Kindle e-ink reader to reading a book on the iPad, Touch, or Android smartphone. (This preference is dependent upon the time of day, whether I’m reading indoors or outdoors, or whether I’m reading at home or on the go.)

In addition, I’m enjoying being able to highlight passages and make notes as I read these borrowed library ebooks – and to having those notes saved as part of my Kindle book notes (also known as “My Clippings” on the Kindle itself, and “Your Highlights” on the Web site kindle.amazon.com). Up until now, I’ve read borrowed library ebooks on my iPad and iPod Touch via the Overdrive app, which currently does not provide the ability to make and save notes and highlights.

I have noted two glitches so far and both may have something to do with the fact that the Kindle software on my Kindle 3rd Generation is Version: Kindle 3.1 (558700031), while there now appears to be more updated versions being used on some of the Kindles in the Seattle Public Library beta test. For more details on this, see Kindle maven Andrys Basten’s blog post “A special Kindle v3.3 Software version was used for public library access tests – Update.” (Link provided below).

One of the glitches involves highlighting while reading the NYPL ebooks on my 3rd Generation Kindle. Although the highlighting that I’ve done while reading on the Kindle ereader shows up in the “My Clippings” file on the Kindle, it is not consistently showing up on my “Your Highlights” page at kindle.amazon.com. Highlights that I’ve made in the same title while reading it on the iPad and on my DROID cell phone do show up as underlined text in that same title on the Kindle, but don’t show up in the “My Clippings” file on the Kindle. They do, however, display on the Kindle under the “View Notes and Marks” option (reached via the Menu button while reading the ebook). Passages that I’ve highlighted while reading an ebook that I purchased from Amazon do show up in the “My Clippings” and on the “My Highlights” section of kindle.amazon.com.

The 2nd glitch I’ve noticed is that one of the three ebooks I’ve borrowed as a Kindle edition from eNYPL refuses to download into my Kindle for Mac library. The other two titles have downloaded perfectly into my Kindle for Mac, so this glitch appears to be specific to this one title and how it chooses to interface (or not) with the Kindle for Mac app. With the exception of this one title refusing to download into the Kindle for Mac, I’ve managed to download all three titles on all of my Kindle apps (iPad, iPod Touch, Android smartphone, Kindle for Mac, and Kindle Cloud Reader).

Both of these glitches could have something to do with the version of software on my Kindle and/or with the Public Library Books on Kindle service possibly being on overload. Whatever the problem, the glitches are minor. The important thing at this point is that those of us who have chosen to use Kindle ereaders can now join our epub-ereading friends in reading borrowed library books on the devices and apps of our choosing.

The more important issue, though, is the need for increased library funding to support new digital services like public library ebook lending, access to magazines, journals, and research databases, and the development and preservation of digital collections.  Call and/or write your public officials in support of these services.  If it’s within your budget, consider showing your appreciation by making a donation to your public library!

A very big thanks to the New York Public Library, Overdrive, and Amazon!

Support the Library – The New York Public Library
http://www.nypl.org/support 

A special Kindle v3.3 Software version was used for public library access tests – Update by Andrys Basten – A Kindleworld Blog – September 21, 2011
http://kindleworld.blogspot.com/2011/09/special-kindle-v33-software-version-was.html

Kindle Users to Be Able to Borrow Library eBooks by Julie Bosman – NY Times – April 20, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/technology/21amazon.html

Kindle library Lending Begins in Seattle, King County (updated) by Brier Dudley – The Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2016262065_kindle_library_lending_begins.html

Photo Guide: How to Check Out Kindle Library Books by Brier Dudley (posted Sept 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm) – The Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2016262065_kindle_library_lending_begins.html

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Feeling overwhelmed by information overload?  Done in and deluged by data, both big and small? Do yourself a favor and web on over for a visit to Howard Rheingold’s brand new online learning community, Rheingold U,  where you’ll find three free mini-courses, including one on infotention.  While you’re there, check out the Introduction to Mind Amplification course, which is the first in a series of nine courses now under development.

As one of the lucky 30 students who are currently taking part in a beta version of Howard’s Introduction to Mind Amplification, I strongly recommend this course, which combines synchronous and asynchronous discussions, webcasts, an outstanding reading list, and the opportunity to enjoy a five-week dialog with both Howard and 29 other “esteemed co-learners.”

Introduction to Mind Amplification is a must-take course for librarians, journalists, teachers, scientists, students, digital humanists, and web workers of all types.

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The Daily's Eldercare robots article is rendered as a single, giant jpg image rather than as html text.

You’ll learn a few new things about robots and eldercare in this article from The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad-only news app. Unfortunately, though, you won’t be able to save any of it using the usual copy and paste routine for text because The Daily renders its web pages as single, large .jpg images. Try to save a Daily web page as a PDF and you’ll discover that you are able to save only an image of the first part of the article. This image is followed by a page of promotional text urging you to download The Daily iPad app. Saving the web page as an html document will save all of it, as will right-clicking (on PCs) of Control-clicking (on Macs).  In both cases, though, what you will save is one giant .jpg image, rather than searchable text.

As with the iPad app versions of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, The Daily provides an easy mechanism to send the link of the web version of a particular article to an email address. In addition, The Daily, like many other news apps, gives you the option to post a link on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Daily’s links, however, lead to web page versions that are giant images of the article. In contrast, the New York Times’ and Wall Street Journal’s iPad- generated links lead to html text-rich web articles, which can be saved in a variety of ways as editable and searchable text. All three news apps allow, you, the iPad subscriber, to save a copy of the article to your iPad for later viewing. Note, though, that NONE of these three iPad news apps are yet searchable.  Nor are the articles you save from them to your iPad searchable. Neither are the AP, BBC News, or the Washington Post iPad apps. By contrast, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, Engadget, and Mashable all provide a search feature, however primitive.

Unlike the Wall Street Journal’s iPad edition, which keeps one week’s worth of issues available on the iPad, The Daily has a very short memory. When you, the subscriber to The Daily, tap on its app, the new version immediately overrides any previous version. In so doing, it cuts off your access to the articles from the previous edition (unless you stopped to save copies to your iPad). Unless you saved a copy of a particular article from the previous day to your iPad, posted a link to it on Facebook or Twitter, or emailed a link to yourself, you can kiss access to that article goodbye. This is both annoying and disturbing. Annoying, because it unnecessarily complicates your information-gathering routines. Disturbing, because it limits your access to news and information for which you’ve paid (starting Feb 23, when the free two week trial will end).

Visit The Daily’s web site (http://thedaily.com) and you’ll discover a site devoted to selling The Daily’s iPad app. Other than the few links provided daily on its blog, The Daily’s web site provides no access to articles other than through those links that you may have emailed and/or posted to Twitter and/or Facebook. The Daily’s blog’s few links lead to web pages that consist of single .jpg images of the articles, not to searchable html-based text.

Why has Mr. Murdoch made the decision to operate The Daily as the equivalent of disappearing ink? Why does he force you, the subscriber, to capture a glimpse and/or link to its iPad articles at the moment your view them, or risk not having access to that information again? Why does Mr. Murdoch so cavalierly disregard your need to have control over what and when you read? Why does he think the news has no past — that it should not be retrievable beyond today’s sell-date? Is it because he has decided that it’s easier and less expensive to produce the news in only one format? Or, does he hope to force those who wish to read The Daily’s articles to do so via its iPad app? Does he not realize that providing such a hobbled interface is unacceptable?

Interestingly enough, Part 2 of The Daily’s 2-part series on robots and eldercare (published today, February 14) is rendered in html text, although other articles from today’s edition are rendered, like Part 1 (published yesterday) as single, giant jpg images.

There’s no doubt about it:  many of the The Daily’s images are visually striking, and some of its articles are interesting, information-rich, and useful. But, all of the articles disappear from view too quickly. The articles that you do make the effort to save are image-bound and non-searchable. With so many information-friendly news apps available, including Mr. Murdoch’s own Wall Street Journal iPad app, why would you choose to use the here-today-gone-tomorrow Daily?

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Amazon has just launched a Free Book Collection page, where it gathers together links to “Free classics and out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books available for Kindle.”  Although this information has been available for a long time on other sites, having it pulled together on the Amazon site makes for a more seamless experience for the Kindle user.  Andrys Basten, the wonderful force behind A Kindle World Blog, provides an excellent analysis of what this means to the Kindle community in her post yesterday.

Here’s hoping that Amazon will soon realize that it’s in its best interest to enable Kindle users to download free books from the ebook collections at public libraries to their Kindles. If Sony and Barnes & Noble can figure out how to do this, then surely Amazon can, too.  People who borrow books from libraries also buy books. (And, let us not forget that libraries purchase books based on demand from patrons.)  As it stands now, those of us who wish to purchase ebooks from Amazon AND who also wish to borrow ebooks from libraries AND who wish to read them on an ereader must do so using two different ereader devices.  PC users have an additional option, which is to install Kindle for PC software and Adobe Digital Editions software on their computers, where they can then read both Amazon and borrowed library ebooks from that one appliance.  But, for those of us who prefer to hold the book – be it analog or digital – in our hands, this means taking two giant steps backwards, reading from a desktop or laptop screen instead.

Ebooks borrowed from libraries can only be read on devices and/or software that work(s) with DRM-protected Adobe EPUB and PDF files.  This category includes ereaders like Sony Reader and B&N’s Nook and software like Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software.  As ADE comes in both PC and Mac versions, patrons who do not own ereader devices have the option of reading the borrowed library ebooks from a computer screen. ADE does not work with the Kindle, nor has Adobe released an ADE app for smartphones yet.

PC users may read Amazon ebooks from their computer screens by downloading and installing the Kindle for PC software.  Mac users, as of this date, don’t have that option because Amazon has not yet made Kindle for Mac available.  Mac users (as well as anyone else) who own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or a Blackberry do have the option of reading Amazon’s ebooks on those devices.  What they can’t do is read borrowed library ebooks on smartphones because neither ADE nor Overdrive (the company that provides the digital delivery infrastructure for 9,000 public libraries) has released an ebook app for the mobile phone platform yet.

The upshot of all of this is that anyone who wishes to read both Amazon ebooks and borrowed library ebooks on a non-computer ereader device is forced to either choose between the two — or purchase two different devices and toggle between the two.  If the iPad enables users to download apps for the Kindle, all other ebook vendors, as well as apps for borrowing library ebooks, then I suspect that many ebook readers frustrated by having to toggle between devices and platforms, will adopt the iPad as their sole ereader.

Of course, there’s a much simpler solution:  all ebooks be published using the same format and be device-agnostic.

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In his Wednesday afternoon, January 21, 2009 article “New Year, New President, New Blogs,” New York Times’ Opinionator columnist Eric Etheridge reports that “Early reviews of the online administration are now coming in, and the site is being found wanting.” Etheridge quotes Dave Winers thoughtful assessment of the initial version of the site’s most glaring shortcoming that it “violates the most basic rule — ‘People come back to places that send them away.’ The White House should send us to places where our minds will be nourished with new ideas, perspectives, places, points of view, things to do, ways we can make a difference. It must take risks, because that is reality — we’re all at risk now — hugely.”

I added the following comment (which at this time the NYT notes is “awaiting moderation”) to the short list of reader comments:

“Like commenter Chris, I’m also disappointed by not being able to locate a fully-functioning archived copy of the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site. According to an August 14, 2008 news release (http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2008/08-139.html) by the Library of Congress, the LOC formed a partnership with the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries, the Internet Archive, and the GPO “to preserve public United States Government web sites at the end of the current presidential administration ending January 19, 2009.”

The “White House Archives” page (http://www.georgewbushlibrary.com/administration/archives) on the George W. Bush Presidential Center Web site states:.

“Coming Soon! An archived copy of the White House website will be available soon.”

How soon is “soon?”

In the pursuit of transparency and access to historical documents, the current WhiteHouse.gov site should include links to the archived copies of the Bush and Clinton White House sites.”

Archived copies of a number of versions of the Clinton WhiteHouse.gov are housed on the National Archives and Record Administration site and can be accessed and searched via the “White House Web Sites” page of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum site.

It would be easy enough for the web whizzes at the new WhiteHouse.gov to add information about and links to the archived Clinton and Bush WhiteHouse.gov sites. The archived Clinton sites exist, as noted above. Once “soon” arrives, the archived Bush site will also be an easy link. In the meantime, how long before “soon” becomes NOW?

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