A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

New Product News March/April 2011

by Vicki Nesting on April 26, 2013

Garden Minibeasts Up Close

Did you know that ladybugs are brightly colored to warn birds and other predators that they taste awful? Did you know that crickets have long, powerful  back legs and can jump about three feet into the air—more than thirty times the length of their bodies? That is like a human jumping about 120 feet.

They crawl among the grass and flowers in your garden, but you may not know how important these tiny creatures are to the ecosystem. With vivid, full-color photographs, the eight-volume set Garden Minibeasts Up Close brings young readers face to face with the beasts and bugs in their backyards. Simple text and numerous large, colorful photographs and illustrations allow readers to learn about each creature, looking at areas such as their anatomy, where to find them, what they eat, and even who eats them!

The Garden Minibeasts Up Close series is available in print and e-book formats.

Playaway View to Launch in Spring 2011

Findaway World, maker of the all-in-one Playaway audio player, has developed a new educational, yet entertaining, product for children called the Playaway View.

The Playaway View is a portable all-in-one video player that comes preloaded with videos or stories in an easy to use, graphic format. There are currently twenty-eight titles available, and the preloaded videos include several Sesame Street titles, while others feature classic picture books like Strega Nona, The Napping House, Wheels on the Bus, and Owen.

It is currently being beta-tested at seven library systems around the country,and is scheduled to launch nationwide in
spring 2011.

New Plug & Play RFID SmartReader

The SmartReader is compatible with any RFID (radio-frequency identification) and integrated library system. The USB-powered RFID SmartReader can be useful for libraries that need an extra reader to assist at check-in and checkout during peak hours. It offers a versatile circulation solution that is simple to use and easy to move from desk to desk. The SmartReader offers an affordable way to add RFID to any circulation desk.

More Libraries Going Mobile with AirPAC for Smartphones

Innovative recently announced that more than seventy libraries around the globe are extending their service to mobile devices with AirPAC for Smartphones. The product has been implemented in several languages and is optimized for the Blackberry Storm, iPhone, Motorola Droid, and many other smartphones. AirPAC for Smartphones brings value to libraries worldwide by providing patrons quick access to the Millennium ILS catalog and other self-service features.

AirPAC for Smartphones is a convenient time-saver and solution for library users. AirPAC offers full search capabilities with RightResult relevance-ranking technology, the ability to request and renew materials, access to online resources and electronic journals, and Google Maps integration integration. AirPAC for Smartphones is a free enhancement for Innovative libraries that currently have the classic AirPAC product for mobile phones.

Encyclopedia.com Offers Free, Authoritative Information

Encyclopedia.com, a free online resource with more than 500,000 entries from over 200 different encyclopedias and dictionaries, provides authoritative answers that are verifiable against multiple sources. Documents about a single subject are combined to form interactive topic pages, allowing users to browse multiple reference sources, images, videos, and other related information all on one easy-tonavigate page.

Encyclopedia.com joined Gale through the acquisition of HighBeam Research in 2008 and now provides value to both individual users and Gale’s core library partners. Encyclopedia.com will soon enable library patrons to access millions of reference articles from Gale Virtual Reference Library for free, courtesy of their local libraries.

Read OverDrive E-Books Now on the iPhone and Android

OverDrive recently released an update to the OverDrive apps for iPhone and Android, which adds support for e-books downloaded from the library. Now customers will be able to download both EPUB e-books and MP3 audiobooks directly to their iPhone, iPod touch, or Android phone/tablet. New users can search for “OverDrive Media Console” in the Apple App Store and Android Market, while current users will be alerted to update the existing OverDrive app on their devices.

OverDrive Media Console v2.0 for iPhone and Android provides two major enhancements that improve the end user experience. First, the apps now enable users to download and enjoy EPUB e-books on their devices (in addition to the existing ability to download MP3 audiobooks). The e-book reading experience includes user-inspired features for bookmarking and adjusting brightness and font size. Additional features will be added as the apps develop, including highlighting, annotation, in-app text-to-speech, and more.

Second, both apps offer a built-in Get Books feature. If a library customer has already downloaded audiobooks from the library with a previous version of the app, the library will be displayed when he or she selects Get Books. With a single click, the user can reach the library’s site once again. If a customer is new to library downloads, he or she can quickly find their Virtual Branch website and save it for single-click access going forward. Once users find their library using Get Books feature, they can browse the Virtual Branch website on their device, check out a title with their library card, and wirelessly downloadan EPUB e-book to the app.

PTFS Releases Open Source MARC Utilities Tools

PTFS has released its MARC Utilities — Metadata Converter, for the conversion of MARC records in batch mode to other metadata formats including Dublin Core and XML.

MARC Utilities is a self-contained, executable program which offers an array of catalog tools to manage, convert, and analyze MARC-based data. It is written in Perl-TK, and is a great add-on to any MARC cataloger’s (or database administrator’s) toolset.

MARC Utilities is a free release and is available to anyone who wishes to download it from the PTFS website.

OCLC and EBSCO to Enhance Discovery Services through Data Exchange

OCLC Online Computer Library Center and EBSCO Publishing are enhancing the discovery experience for users of World-Cat Local and the EBSCO Discovery Service through an expanded data exchange agreement. The new agreement will create more value for libraries that subscribe to services from OCLC and EBSCO.

WorldCat Local libraries that subscribe to EBSCOhost full-text databases will continue to be able to discover EBSCO records and access associated full-text content through the WorldCat Local interface. The new agreement will improve access to these databases by removing the requirement for users of WorldCat Local to authenticate before searching the metadata for EBSCO databases to which their library subscribes (users will continue to be required to authenticate before accessing full text).

OCLC member libraries with a cataloging and WorldCat discovery subscription using EBSCO Discovery Service will now have the option to access WorldCat data through EDS and access holdings information for their library, their resource sharing partners as profiled in WorldCat, and all libraries with holdings in WorldCat. Among other benefits that this partnership brings, libraries will be able to use EBSCO Discovery Service to facilitate interlibrary loan via OCLC.

SirsiDynix Announces Sirsi-Dynix Portfolio Digital Asset Management

SirsiDynix announced the official release of the SirsiDynix Portfolio digital asset management tool. The Portfolio solution builds upon SirsiDynix Enterprise search and discovery, adding digital asset management capabilities, optical character recognition (OCR) technology, Open Archives Initiative (OAI)compatibility for web harvesting, and a security-conscious content management system.

With the Portfolio solution, libraries are empowered to:

  • gain relevance beyond the library community by exposing digital content to web crawlers;
  • provide full-spectrum search results and access to previously unsearchable items through in-text (OCR) search and optional harvesting of library-selected websites or external resources;
  • localize recordkeeping with customizable metadata fields, and ability to cross-link an unlimited number of records for easy reference;
  • organize and share multimedia collections including PDFs, video, audio, webpages, and more, and preserve historical collections with support for major
    standards for the archivist; and
  • restrict or limit access to protected assets, item-by-item or batch, through the Portfolio platform’s accountability control settings. Optional access control and authentication management features can also accommodate different viewing privileges by individual user, group, or location.

Playaway Adds HD Audio

Findaway World, the creators of Playaway, recently announced the launch of HD Audio. HD Audio provides unsurpassed audio quality, and the entire Playaway collection is now available in this improved audio format.

In addition, new functionality and features have been added. Two new “slow down” audio speeds have been added to the original two “increase” speed functions. Battery life has also been extended, going from an average battery life of twenty hours of playtime to more than thirty hours of playtime per  battery with HD Audio. New keypad functionality allows users to reset each Playaway to the beginning and to lock the keypad while playing.

Playaway is a simple way to listen to digital content on the go. It comes with the audio content already preloaded on it and a battery to make it play. Simply plug in earbuds and enjoy. Each Playaway weighs only two ounces and has a universal jack.