eResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Talk to Us!


A hearty thank you to everyone that participated in the first ACLA eResource Challenge.  We say first, because there might be more.  That’s up to you!

Please fill out our brief survey and let us know what you liked and didn’t like about the Challenge.  We’ll use your comments to determine whether to develop similar training opportunities and, if so, how to improve them.

Also, we’ll be sending out CE hour confirmation emails soon!

Yours in eResource Awareness,

The EREC and ACLA Downloadables Committee

P.S. Don’t forget, you can learn how to say “thank you” in lots of languages by taking advantage of our language learning database, Mango.

“Thank You” image courtesy of
Continue ReadingeResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Talk to Us!

eResource Challenge Wrap-Up: The Winners!

We hope you all feel like winners for participating in the first ACLA eResource Challenge.  Everyone gets the prize of knowing more about our county-wide electronic resources.  We did, however, promise actual prizes, and we have randomly drawn winners for the three grand prizes (Google Nexus tablets) and the participation prizes for one member of each team (a $10 gift card).  We’ve also compiled the results and can announce which team will get bragging rights!

Our three grand prize winners are:

  • Leah D. – CLP – Downtown & Business
  • Karen H. – Shaler North Hills
  • Kathy B. – Community Library of Allegheny Valley

The individual team member prizes go to:

  • Mk D. (CLP) – The Aggregators
  • Suzi W. (Northland) – The Annotation Annihilators
  • Elizabeth S. (Mt. Lebanon) – Authority Control
  • Debbie B. (Shaler) – Bibliographic Bruisers
  • Marie J. (Shaler) – Boolean Blasters
  • Karen B. (CLP) – Classification Crushers
  • Whitney W. (Northland) – Copyright Defenders
  • Mindy D. (Monroeville) – Database Devourers
  • Stephanie A. (Carnegie Library of McKeesport) – Dewey Decimators
  • Mary P. (CLP) – Free-source Fanatics
  • Tracey O. (Brentwood) – Full Text Exterminators
  • Joelle K. (CLP) – Information Domination
  • Amy E. (CLP) – Information Mavens
  • Linda R. (Shaler) – MARCWreckers
  • Caroline H. (Shaler) – Metadata Maulers
  • Terry L. (CLP) – Raging Ranganathans
  • Rachel S. (CLP) – Reference Renegades
  • Morgan S. (CLP) – Shelf Bleeders
  • Pam F. (Pleasant Hills) – Shushinators
  • BrieAnn A (Northern Tier) – The Special Collection
  • Theresa W. (Shaler) – Tough Cutters
  • Jeanne N. (CLP) – Wiki-Whackers

We’ll be getting in touch with each of the winners to coordinate prize delivery.

As for bragging rights, The Wiki-Whackers dominated this eResource Challenge!  They had a participation rate of nearly 100%! Team members included Kristin M. (Brentwood), Debra S. (CLAV), Leah D. (CLP), Jeanne N. (CLP), Suzy W. (CLP), Lauren Z. (CLP), Cindy R. (Mt. Lebanon), Betty K. (Shaler), Joy H. (Shaler), and Bob M. (Wilkinsburg).  CONGRATULATIONS Wiki-Whackers!

Other teams with impressive participation include The Aggregators, Bibliographic Bruisers, Classification Crushers, Metadata Maulers, and the Tough Cutters.  Authority Control and the Free-Source Fanatics weren’t too far behind either.

Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to everyone who participated!

Continue ReadingeResource Challenge Wrap-Up: The Winners!

eResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Week 5 & 6 Summaries

This is the final set of summaries.  (Phew!)  Tomorrow the individual and team winners will be announced!

Week Five Database Challenge

As many of you noted, business questions can be particularly challenging, especially for those of us who don’t tackle them often, and this was a two-parter!  Let’s start with the first question.

The Scenario:

A student is doing a presentation on the H.J. Heinz Co. for one of his college business classes. He needs to include some information about competitors to Heinz. Help him find Morningstar’s Fair Value Estimate on the ConAgra stock price.

Did you have any trouble using Morningstar to find the information? If so, how did you resolve the issue?

Well, apparently we wrote the question poorly because a lot of people tried to look up the Fair Value Estimate of Heinz (rather than ConAgra) in Morningstar.  That was an understandably frustrating experience because Heinz went private recently and is not listed in Morningstar.  Sorry about that!

Another challenge a lot of folks mentioned was trouble getting into the database. The likely culprit?  Our limitation of six simultaneous users.  This is not usually a problem, but when 200 people are trying to access the database at once it’s definitely more likely to happen!

As far as finding the requested information, many people were able to quickly identify the ticker symbol for ConAgra and locate the Fair Value Estimate.  However, a lot of you shared the experience of Devon E. from CLP, “I’ve never used this database before and was a little overwhelmed by all the stock-jargon when I got to the main page.”

A few people also noted that Morningstar includes a section about competitors, which might prove useful to this patron.

And now on to part two:

He’s concerned that his presentation will be too dull, so in order to spice it up he also wants to find:

1. three products other than ketchup that the company makes
2. a slogan used by the company in the past
3. a list of historical facts about the company

Try to find each piece of information in both Business Source Premier and Business Insights: Global.

Were you able to find all of the information in both databases? Which was easier to use? Share something you liked and/or disliked about each database.

There wasn’t consensus on this one, and almost everyone acknowledged that either database could be utilized to help this patron.  Each has strengths over the other, and individual preference varied.

Multiple people appreciated that Business Source Premier allows limiting by article type.  On the other hand, many people found the consolidation of information and the “cleaner” Business Insights interface to be more appealing.

Lots of you commented that Business Insights is better for a quick overview, while Business Source Premier is useful for a more thorough, complete analysis.

Susan H. from Eastridge noted that the chronology in Business Insights ended with 2008, while the chronology in Business Source continued through the present.  Furthermore, as Kaarin V. from CLP discovered, the profile in Business Insights “made no mention of Warren Buffet taking over the company in February.”  Perhaps not an issue for this student’s needs, but a potential problem in many other cases.

Many of you included really fun historical facts in your responses (thanks!)  The slogans you reported finding?: “The slowest ketchup in the West,” “Beanz Meanz Heinz,” “57 Varieties,” “Good things come to those who wait,” “Dreamz Meanz Heinz,” and “Slow Good.”

Week Five Downloadables Challenge

The Scenario: A patron is looking for downloadable audio books for a short road trip. He wants one fast-paced title for each leg of the trip. It will take him between 4 and 5 hours each way.

Explore the two eAudio services we offer (CLP folks go to the eCLP page).

Which eAudio service would you use to help this patron and why?

We’ll keep this one short and sweet!

Our main goal with this question was to prompt you to discover the ability to limit by duration in OneClick, which many of you mentioned in your responses.  However, a lot of you would also recommend OverDrive, primarily because the collection is more extensive.  Several of you noted that once the OneClick search was limited by duration and genre, the results were fairly limited.

Rita B. from CLP summed up the thoughts of many when she stated, “For this patron, I’d use OneClick because of the ability to limit by duration, but if he wasn’t thrilled with the limited selection, I’d refer him to Overdrive.”

Week Six Database Challenge

The Scenario:

A patron stops in and says, “I was walking downtown this summer and there were what seemed like hundreds of people walking around in animal costumes! There was a sign that said “Welcome Furries!” What are Furries and why were so many in Pittsburgh?”

Using Newspaper Source Plus or MasterFile Complete, help this patron find articles explaining what the furries are and why they are in Pittsburgh. Limit your search to full text articles written in the past two years.

Share something interesting you learned about either the database you selected or the furries. Bonus points for anyone who shares something about both!

The patron decides they are very interested in the furries. Help them set up an automatic alert anytime new articles on furries are added to the database you selected.

Patrons need to create an Ebsco account in order to set and receive automatic alerts. Share at least one other benefit of having an Ebsco account.

Let us start by saying we are pleased to be the ones to introduce so many of you to the furries!

As far as which database offered the best results for this particular query, Newspaper Source Plus wins in a landslide!  Nearly everyone discovered that it yielded multiple relevant articles, while MasterFile came up with practically nothing.

You shared LOTS of interesting things about the furries, but in the interest of time and space (and focusing on our true purpose), we’ll stick to the interesting things you learned about the databases:

  • you can translate full articles into over 25 different languages (including Bahasa Indonesian, but as Amy S. fro Northland discovered, there is no translation for “Furries,” at least in that language)
  • you can listen to articles in American, British or Australian dialects – multiple respondents
  • Newspaper Source Plus includes radio and TV news transcripts – multiple respondents
  • the “Image Quick View” option allows you to view thumbnails of the images in an article right from the results list
  • you can search for just cover stories using MasterFileComplete
  • you can search both databases at the same time since they are both Ebsco products
  • you can narrow your search to only articles with photographs
  • both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review are indexed with full text in Newspaper Source Plus
  • Newspaper Source Plus also includes non-US newspapers

Here are the most commonly cited benefits to having an Ebsco account:

  • save previous searches
  • retain preferences
  • save and organize articles and citations in folders
  • access search history
  • access saved information from any computer
  • share searches and results

We also included a bonus question this week:
What is the common theme across all the eResource Challenge database questions?

We loved all of your answers to this question, but the one we were really looking for was Pittsburgh!  All of the topics in the database scenarios were related to Pittsburgh or the region.

And FINALLY, the final summary:

Week Six Downloadabes Challenge

The Scenario: A patron calls because they have just checked out some magazines but are taken to a screen that says their cart is empty and prompting them to purchase magazines. Help them find their free checked out magazines!

What do you need to tell this patron so they can access their library magazines?

This is another one we included because it has come up with some regularity lately.  A lot of you had difficulty recreating this scenario (a good thing!), which made it difficult to complete.

In this case, the patron was not automatically being directed to their library check-outs when they logged into the Zinio consumer site immediately following the check-out process.  It’s an unnerving experience, especially if the process has worked correctly before.  Luckily, the solution is simple. All the patron needs to do is click on the “Your Library” tab at the top of the page.

The Follow-up:

The patron also mentions that they would like to stop receiving advertising from Zinio, but they would like to receive notification when a new issue of their checked out magazines becomes available. What can you tell them?

Were you able to figure out how to do this? If so, what did you do?

This is a little tricky because, as far as we know, you can’t do both from the Zinio website.  Jennifer L. from The Library Place explains it this way, “I was able to figure out how to do it through the app, but not both on the website. On the website you can go to Account Settings and then Preferences. You can select No, to not receive notifications and save your changes. Within the app, if you tap More, then Notification Settings, you will be able to select how you want to be alerted as far as your subscription goes. Under ShopAdvisor you can select it not to be enabled.”

So, basically, it seems that you can change both settings in the app, but only change the advertising setting from the website.


We hope you’ve found the eResource Challenge and these summaries to be a helpful and fun experience. We’ve definitely enjoyed it and learned a lot from your responses.  You’ll have have ample opportunity to tell us what you liked and didn’t like when we post an evaluation on Friday.  Thanks for playing along!

Continue ReadingeResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Week 5 & 6 Summaries

eResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Week 3 & 4 Summaries

Today we’ll talk about the preferred resources and top tips and suggestions offered in response to the Week 3 and Week 4 challenges.  There’s a lot to digest here, but we think you’ll find it worthwhile to read through the summaries.

Week Three Database Challenge

The Scenario: A high school debate team member is preparing for an upcoming tournament. One of the topics that will be debated is hydraulic fracturing. The student will have to debate both sides of the issue during different rounds. Help the student find materials to articulate both sides of the issue.

Many of us start (and sometimes finish) our searches using Google, so for this challenge we’d like you to conduct this search in both Google and the Opposing Viewpoints database (you may also want to see what kind of results you get using Science in Context). Tell us, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each resource? When would you use one or the other, or both? Does the database offer any functionality or capability that Google does not?

In this challenge, the databases won out.  The consensus was that Opposing Viewpoints was the most effective option since it efficiently gathers together lots of authoritative information on the topic.  Respondents also described Science in Context as very useful, with several people noting that it seemed to offer more scholarly or academic material.  Unlike with the Willa Cather question, most people found Google to be too overwhelming for this topic, not to mention less discriminating and reliable.  On the flip side, as Mary P. from CLP noted, Google does offer more up-to-the-minute information, which could be useful in a high school debate.  She also discovered that using different search terms (“hydraulic fracturing”, “fracking”, “shale drilling”, “Marcellus shale”, etc.) had an impact on whether the search results were pro or con.  Several responses pointed out that in addition to recommending databases, we should be educating patrons on effective searching in Google.

Week Three Downloadables Challenge

The Scenario:
A dad is looking for ebooks to share with his six-year-old son. He tried browsing through the children’s fiction and nonfiction in OverDrive but found it a little overwhelming. What would you suggest to help him effectively narrow his search results in OverDrive?

What other eBook services could you recommend to him?

This challenge didn’t seem to be too challenging!  Every respondent offered at least one suggestion for how the dad might make his search more manageable.  The most popular suggestion was to use the available filters such as grade level, reading level, interest level, award winners, and device type.  These can be found using the advanced search or along the left side of the screen once the patron clicks in to a category in OverDrive.  Some people noted that some of the filters (primarily Lexile and ATOS) require that the parent know their child’s measurement/level.  Other popular suggestions for modifying the search included narrowing by subject and limiting to available copies.

There was a greater variety of responses to the second part of the question.  Most people pointed to BookFLIX and Tumblebooks as great options.  Caitlin B. from CLAV has this to say about the two services, “BookFlix encourages early literacy by pairing story books with relevant nonfiction books. I think the child would especially enjoy this service if there is a particular subject he is interested in. TumbleBooks offers animated picture books with sounds and music. It would be a good choice for a young child who is not yet an independent reader.”

eBooks on Ebsco was mentioned several times, as were various free ebook services such as Project Gutenberg (which has a children’s bookshelf), free books from Amazon,, and Best Free Children’s eBooks Online, among others.

Quite a few CLP participants recommended pointing the father to the eCLP for Kids page, and Shaler is unique in offering eSebco.

Others suggested that audiobooks might be a good option for this child, either through OverDrive or OneClick.

A few people mentioned the Disney Digital Books, which we’re sad to report were recently canceled due to severe lack of use.

On a happier note, several people suggested digital magazines for children through Zinio.  Currently the options for kids are practically nonexistent in our Zinio collection, but we’re pleased to announce that several titles for kids will be added in December.

Week Four Database Challenge

The Challenge:  Select one of the scenarios below and compare the results of your searches between the Next Generation Catalog (NGC) and the NoveList database:

Scenario A. Adult Reference: A patron is looking for similar reads to a fictional mystery series set in Pittsburgh that they read some time ago. Unfortunately the patron does not remember the name of the series or the author.

Scenario B. Children’s Reference: A parent or child has just finished reading the entire Judy Moody series and are looking for something similar.

In your response, please indicate which scenario you selected. For Scenario A, please indicate which resource was best for identifying the mystery series. For both scenarios, did one resource offer better read-alikes than the other? What would be an advantage to using the NGC over NoveList and/or vice-versa?

NoveList was the preferred option for both scenarios, but people had positive things to say about using the NGC as well.   Participants found NoveList easy to use and felt the read-alikes were better because they were similar titles rather than additional titles in the same series, other titles by the same author, etc.  Jennifer L. from The Library Place was one of several respondents that appreciated the additional information, such as minimum/maximum grade level, writing style, genre, and age level found in NoveList, noting that these factors may also help in providing quality read-alike suggestions.

The key drawbacks that people mentioned related to NoveList prove to be the primary advantages for using the NGC.  Kristen K. from CLP wished NoveList had a catalog link to check for availability.  On a related topic, Susan H. from Eastridge mentioned that the NGC allows you to place a hold right away.

Week Four Downloadables Challenge

The Scenario: A patron calls and says, “I checked out an ebook in OverDrive, but when I go to my bookshelf in the app it’s not there. Where is it?”

How can you help this patron locate their ebook?

BONUS:  How can users sync their furthest point read and bookmarks across devices?

We included this challenge because it’s one of the most common to appear in our tech support email and through calls. (Shout out to the staff in the Music, Film & Audio Department who handle the bulk of our tech support).

Jennifer L. of The Library Place offered one of the clearest explanations.  She said, “I think the most clarifying way to start is to somehow explain that there are two separate ‘bookshelves,’ one through Overdrive on the library’s ebook site, and one in the device’s Overdrive App. You have to use both bookshelves to read a book on your device. Just borrowing the book will not download it to your device.”  To further clarify, once you check out the book it will appear on your bookshelf on the OverDrive site (or in the NGC).  One you download the book it will appear on your bookshelf in the app.  BrieAnn A. from Northern Tier also provided the correct answer, adding that she, “think[s] it’s really confusing how there are two ‘bookshelves’ – One where they actually read their books and one where they can download their books from.”  We agree, BrieAnn!

The bonus question proved challenging for many participants.  In truth, there is more than one answer.

Several people mentioned OverDrive One, which is currently in Beta. This is an opt-in service that requires patrons to create an OverDrive One account from within the OverDrive app and connect each of their devices to that account.  Once that’s done, the furthest point read and bookmarks will sync across all their devices.  Several people included the system requirements, which are an Android or iOS device running OverDrive Media Console 3 (OMC 3).  OMC3 requires iOS v6.0+ or Android v4.0+.

Another option offered by some is to use the OverDrive READ format.  If you recall from an earlier challenge, if you go to “Your Book, Everywhere” and click “Download,” your progress and bookmarks will be available across compatible devices and browsers.  You can also sign into your account from the OverDrive site, navigate to your Bookshelf there (not to be confused with the bookshelf in the app), and resume where you left off.

Still others mentioned that Kindle devices and apps that share the same Amazon account will sync the furthest point read and bookmarks.

Stay tuned for the final summary post tomorrow, and the announcement of the winners after that!

Continue ReadingeResource Challenge Wrap-Up: Week 3 & 4 Summaries