Back to School Resources with Gale

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Navigating the school year is a lot more challenging for many students this year. With so many schools employing distanced learning, having trusted educational resources and tools available is more important than ever. Luckily, students with a library card from an Allegheny County library have access to Gale’s suite of educational databases.

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Find a Grave

“Find a Grave’s mission is to help people from all over the world work together to find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience.”

Whether working on your family’s history or just curious, Find a Grave is sure to delight! This web site boasts being the largest international graving community in the world. Millions of contributors have submitted names, dates, photographs, GPS locations, and countless other nuggets of information about the final resting place of your family and friends as well as the rich and famous.

Find a Grave was started by Jim Tipton in 1995 giving him a way to share his interest in visiting the graves of famous people. It eventually became a subsidiary of Ancestry and is available as an app for both android and iOS devices.

Where will your search take you and what will you learn?

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OverDrive changes for Android devices that cannot upgrade to at least Android version 5

OverDrive takes data security and patron privacy very seriously. They continue to invest in updating their services to adhere to the latest standards for data protection and security. To be able to offer more current technologies, they are also sometimes required to discontinue support for legacy services that do not meet the newer standards.

Accordingly, OverDrive is preparing to end support for devices that use the outdated TLS 1.0 and 1.1 security protocols. TLS (Transport Layer Security) is the technology that keeps data private when it is sent over a secure (https) internet connection. TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1 date back to 1999 and 2006, respectively, and have since been replaced on most devices by TLS 1.2, which addresses weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the earlier versions. At OverDrive, TLS protects the privacy of patron data, including library card information.

Upcoming Changes

In alignment with security best practices, and following suit with other technology industry leaders like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, OverDrive will end support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 on October 30, 2020. After October 30, the OverDrive app and OverDrive websites will no longer work on devices that don’t support TLS 1.2.

User Impact

This change is most likely to affect Android devices that cannot upgrade to at least Android version 5, including early Kindle Fires, early Samsung Galaxy tablets, and Kobo Arc devices (all of which were released in 2014 or earlier). Based on OverDrive analytics, usage of these devices has been declining and currently accounts for approximately 0.5-1% of users across all OverDrive libraries.

To keep using the OverDrive app and OverDrive websites, affected patrons will need to either update their device’s operating system (if possible) to a version that supports TLS 1.2 or switch to a device that supports TLS 1.2. Users can also choose to only update their device’s browser to a version that supports TLS 1.2, which will allow them to use OverDrive websites in their browser (though they won’t be able to use the OverDrive app). Users of early Kindle Fires and other ereaders that don’t support TLS 1.2 will still be able to read library ebooks if the book is delivered or transferred to their Kindle Fire or ereader from a supported device.

Current Libby users on Android devices should not be affected, as Libby’s minimum system requirements were already raised to Android 5 in June 2020.

User Message

Beginning September 1, 2020, the OverDrive app and OverDrive websites will display a message on devices currently using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 to alert affected users of the upcoming change. This message will link to a help article that explains the change and provides information about the system updates that will be needed to access our OverDrive digital library after October 30.

~ Hilary, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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IMDb: More than Just Trivia

IMDb has long been a frequent online destination for me. When you swear you have seen a certain actor in something before, it’s satisfying to quickly go to the movie you’re watching’s IMDB page and find the actor’s credits—you end up clicking through to more and more films, more actors.

While still remaining as a great resource for this kind of fact finding mission, IMDB has also entered the streaming wars. However, unlike Netflix and Hulu, you can access IMDbTV for free. Unfortunately, commercials are included, but with the price tag and available library, this is still a great resource to suggest for patrons looking to supplement their library-aided viewing.

An account with IMDbTV is required, but you can sync your existing account from Amazon, Facebook, Google, or Apple so there would be no additional username and password to remember.

IMDbTV currently includes bingeable TV series like Mad Men, Murder, She Wrote, Lost, and Schitt’s Creek. The movie library includes Oscar winners like The Prince of Tides, cult favorites like Battle Royale, comedies like There’s Something About Mary, and there’s plenty of selections for family movie nights, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Monsters vs. Aliens. Obviously, these are not especially new titles, but they can scratch a certain itch for both nostalgia purposes and to watch certain titles for the first time that you’ve always meant to watch but just hadn’t gotten to.

Additionally, I have to mention the IMDb game. I discovered this game through one of my favorite podcasts: This Had Oscar Buzz, which highlights one movie each episode that seemed like an obvious Oscar contender on paper, but it didn’t result in any nominations. The hosts end each episode with what they call the IMDb game. One host selects an actor and the other has to guess the top 4 movies associated with that actor according to IMDb’s algorithm. It’s best to avoid actors that have appeared in Marvel, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter films as those tend to clog up their top 4. A fun time-waster that can work in a big group or even as a solo practice.

Here’s Sharon Stone’s IMDb “known for” as an example:

Happy viewing/playing!

Jeff, South Park

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