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, freekidsbooks.org, 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!

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