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العدد 38، يونيو 2015

E-Contents in Public Libraries

Salwa Elmeawad, MILS, DMIST

 

The expansion in the usage of the Internet in the digitized world instigated the appearance of digital tools and portable gadgets that allowed individuals to connect globally to the outside world. Further, digitized items became smaller and easy to carry around and become easy for an individual to carry as many as needed of news papers, magazines, and books within a digital tablets that doesn't exceed the weight and the height of a palm's hand. Accordingly, for public libraries to keep abreast of the vast changes that occurred in the digital world, the needs for digital collections have become immense. Thus, a new collection of digitized books, magazines, music, audio, and videos were added to almost each public library in the United States if not in the world (Tucker, 2013).

Pew Research Center (PEW) conducted a study in 2014 to investigate if library patrons wither aware that their libraries are holding eContent for them to use and to barrow or not (Rainie, Zickuhr, Purcell, Madden, & Brenner, 2014). The study findings indicated that 58% of library patrons who use libraries frequently are not aware that their libraries have eContent for them to use and barrow (Rainie et al, 2014). Thus, library eContent as any other collection and library programs need marketing to; (a) notify library patrons that the library holds a digital collection, and (b) introduce the detailed eContent such as searching the library catalogs for the eContent materials, method of use, and the library's circulation policies.

Tucker (2013) suggested three strategies to market libraries' eContent:

 

Physical presence to the library's eContent.

            Adding signs to book shelves to introduce the eContent to library patrons who are browsing the library shelves frequently for new library materials. As an example crating a sign to market the library's eMagazine through Zinio on the library magazines' shelf is one of the successful the marketing methods to library's eContenet (Tucker, 2013).

 

Online outreach.

            Social media is considered one of the most famous strategies for marketing. Public libraries nowadays are using social networking websites to communicate with library patrons. Therefore, public libraries may announce their eContent and introduce it to their patrons through social networking websites such as Facebook (Tucker, 2013).

 

Strategy of thinking outside the box.

            Libraries also may advertize their eContent outside the library realm such as taking the changes of conferences and events that are not library related and advertise their eConetent during the event or the conference (Tucker, 2013).

 

eContent Service Providers

            The library eContent has many services providers to provide library patrons with the access needed to the library eContent. Each provider is specialized in one or two of different eContent. OverDrive and Axis 360 are providers for eBooks and Audio books; Zinio is a provider of eMagazines, and Freegal for music.

 

OverDrive

            OverDrive is a company that started the digital contents in 1986 and considered an early leader in eContent. OverDrive started to develop CD-ROM and evolved in the digital era to develop downloadable digital media (OverDrive, 2015). In 2000, OverDrive launched the company's digital marketplace that holds publications from 5000 different publishers. In 2003, OverDrive launched the download services to allow millions of library users across the country to download eBooks, audiobooks, and other eContent. Nowadays, OverDrive works with more than 30,000 libraries, retailers, schools, and publishers to provide the infrastructure of protecting, distributing, and managing eContent (OverDrive, 2015).

 

Axis 360

Axis 360 is Baker & Taylor's platform to circulate digital media for libraries since digital media is in such high demand, Baker & Taylor wanted to serve its customers with an elegant, comprehensive and integrated solution to their growing digital content needs (Baker & Taylor, 2014). Axis 360, combined with Baker & Taylor’s established values in the library market, provides an unrivaled combination of technology, experience and flexible programs to help merge digital content acquisition and circulation into the core services that libraries provide for their communities (Baker & Taylor, 2014).

In addition to offering an unparalleled e-reading experience with Blio and an easy-to-use platform to circulate digital content, Baker & Taylor can provide what other cannot – bundled digital and physical content and advanced collection development services. Library patrons enjoy the easiness of finding and checking out the titles they are searching for. They also enjoy the interactive, engaging and immersive e-reading application available for free on Axis 360. Blio is free to download, and works across devices that patrons already own. In addition to presenting black and white text with ease, Blio presents full-color content and rich media in enhanced titles. Blio takes readers beyond a printed page, to fully experience and interact with their favorite authors and titles (Baker & Taylor, 2014).

 

Zinio

With Zinio for Libraries, patrons enjoy full-color, page-for-page digital copies of a huge amount of magazine titles covering a variety of interests. Titles include Popular Photography, Esquire, Newsweek, Oprah, Food Network Magazine, Shape, The Economist, Elle, and more. Available for the Mac, PC, Apple & Android mobile devices, and Kindle Fire. Zinio gives library patrons two great ways to view there magazines on a computer: online using a web browser or offline using the Zinio Reader software (Zinio, 2015).

The Online Reader gives patrons the ability to access their magazines from any web browser with Adobe Flash installed. To access magazine, simply patron has to go to Zinio.com and click on My Library. Once they are in the My Library area they can click on the thumbnail image of the magazine to have it open in a new browser window (Zinio, 2015).

The Offline Reader allows patrons to download magazines onto their computer. Once downloaded, the magazines can be viewed without an Internet connection. To get started, patrons need to install the Zinio Reader (compatible with Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OS). Once the Zinio Reader is installed, any magazines that are available to patrons will download automatically (Zinio, 2015). One benefit of the Offline Reader is that pages load more quickly because the magazine file is being read directly from patron's computer and not over an Internet connection (Zinio, 2015).

 

Freegal

            Freegal is a downloadable music service from public libraries. The patrons only need library card number and PIN associated with that library card. With access to the Sony Music Entertainment catalog, it offers hundreds of thousands of songs, over 100 genres of music, and more than 50 record labels, all without having to download software or have any digital rights management (DRM) issues to deal with. Access to Freegal is limited to patrons of subscribing libraries (Freegal, 2014).

Freegal is to download limit amount of free songs per week. Library patrons can watch the download usage counter that located in the upper right corner of freegalmusic.com displaying your weekly allotment. For instance, 1/3 means that the patron has a weekly limit of 3 downloads, and he has used 1 of those downloads. The download counter resets each week at Monday 12:01 AM (Eastern Time, USA) (Freegal, 2014).

The site is set up to browse or search patrons' favorite music or artist. They can use the navigation at the top of the page to browse by keyword, artist, or album; or they can simply use Freegal's advanced search page. Freegal Music also offers a collection of Top Download lists on the homepage where users can browse a variety of music selections (Freegal, 2014).

 

Library eContent and the need for staff training in libraries

For public library to build an eContent among its collection and to market it within library patrons, well-trained staff members are needed to help library patrons to use and download the library eContent. Thus, it has become imperative for libraries to prepare library staff members specially library specialists and librarians on how to guide library patrons through the process of using the library eContent. The staff training has to be conducted through special department in the library that called the Staff Talent Development Department. This kind of training must be practical on hand to teach staff members how to use the library's eContent themselves. Learning various shortcuts of downloads and usage. Accordingly, the final step of staff training would be in how to teach and guide library patrons how to use the mobile devices. Further, teach and guide library patrons on how to barrow, download, and use the library's eContent

 

References

Baker & Taylor (2014). Axis 360. Baker & Taylor. Retrieved from http://www.baker-taylor.com/pdfs/FAQ-Axis360.pdf

Freegal (2014). FQA. Retrieved from http://www.northamptontownshiplibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Freegal-Music.pdf

OverDrive (2015). Company history. Retrieved from http://company.overdrive.com/company/who-we-are/history/

Rainie, L., Zickuhr, K., Purcell, K., Madden, M., & Brenner, J. (2014). The rise of e-reading . Pew Internet & American Life Project . Retrieved from http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/04/04/the-rise-of-e-reading/

Tucker, J. (2013). 3 Ideas to Market your eContent. Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/06/3-ideas-to-market-your-econtent/

Zinio (2015). Frequently Asked Questions.  Retrieved from http://imgs.zinio.com/faq/cs.htm