Saturday, May 4, 2013

eBook Platform offically launched

Photo Credit: lynn.gardner via Compfight cc

Some time ago our library bought some Kobo's as a way of introducing eBooks to our students. This trial went well and the students enjoy the Kobo's very much as an alternate to reading from the paper variety, they also like how instant the request for a new title can be fulfilled. However, many students have their own devices which they want to read eBooks on, so we looked into different eBook lending platforms.

We decided we would go with Wheelers for a number of reasons. Wheelers at that time was not quite ready for an international market, so we had to wait a while until the publishing rights were cleared for Hong Kong for many of the titles, which took about another 12 months. At the beginning of this year we set up the Wheelers ePlatform for our school and had a few titles ready to borrow.

We trialled the ePlatform with the secondary library team, received some feedback on the ease of use and other issues they had. This small pilot was successful, however the biggest complaint was the lack of choice as we had so few eBooks available. 

We applied for funding from the Parents Association for some seed money so we could purchase about 100 eBook titles to place the Wheelers platform. Once we received the money, we proceeded to spend it to accommodate eReading across the school. I love ordering from eBook vendors! You click and download and you have the book! So satisfying!

Once the books were placed on our platform, we received the Marc records from Wheelers via email, which were imported to our library system (Oliver by Softlink)) without any problems.  From the school community point of view the books are now ready to borrow from the platform, however there is still some back end work that needed to be done to bring it in line with the normal cataloging protocols.

The first thing that needed to be done was create a GMD and Bibtype called eBook, which triggered its own little icon in Oliver. We then have to import the front cover image so students can see that when searching. Under classification we are using the same classification as if it were a physical book on the shelf with (eBook) in brackets after the call number. ie. SF Crime ARL (eBook). We placed all our fiction into genres last year so wanted to make sure the eBooks were classified in the same way to help keep it all in line.

Subject headings are the next step as Wheelers do not import these. We are using SCIS subject headings. We may be able to import the records directly from SCIS as they incorporate more eBooks into the database. One of the imports that comes with the Wheelers marc records is the abstract of the book, and the URL which links the catalogue record with the page on Wheelers. So if a student is on the Oliver catalogue with the record, they just need to click on the hyperlink which will take them directly to the Wheelers ePlatform. If they are registered and logged in, it takes them directly to the page where they can download the book. See the diagram below on how it all looks in the catalogue as a student would see it once all the additional information has been added.
Once the cataloguing in Oliver is complete, the eBook file is visited via the admin on Wheelers and settings created to prohibit older books being borrowed by younger students, along with how long the book can be borrowed for and if it can be reserved. Once this is complete the cataloguing process is done.

For the community to borrow from Wheelers they do need to register using their school email, full name, year group and date of birth (DOB is to assist in the blocking of titles to them, they do not know this when they register, but it can be overridden / corrected by the administrator if it is entered incorrectly).We opted for the option where administrator approves the registrations. The administration dash board is very easy to navigate and the customer support is excellent. 

If they will be borrowing via a desktop or laptop they will need to down load Adobe Digital Editions and register for an ADE ID. For those using iPads or Android devices, they need to have Bluefire Reader App installed. Wheelers is not compatible with Kindles at this time due to the Mob format used by Amazon. (There are work arounds, but I won't go into these because it infringes copyright agreements).

As part of our launch I created some screencasts on how it all works then placed these on our daily bulletins, the weekly newsletter home to parents and I will be going into English classes to teach the students how to use the ePlatform. I also sent an email to teachers telling them about it with links to the screencasts. The screencasts are below for your education. Please do not try to register for our platform if you are not a community member, Wheelers are very happy to set up trial accounts for you. There is a FAQs page here that you can read for further information.

So, our ePlatform has been officially launched and we now wait for our customers to sign up and get reading on their own devices.  For those who don't own their own devices, we can use the Wheelers platform with the library Kobos. I am certainly loving the convenience of being able to download and read a book at any time of the day.

PS - This was my 200th blog entry - wow!


stephgilchrist said...

Sound fab... anything happening in primary?

Dianne said...

The eBook platform goes across the whole school, hence the need for age restrictions for some of the books which are YA and not appropriate for younger ones to download.

We also have 5 dedicated kobos for year 6 at the moment, increasing next year.

stephgilchrist said...

Are you loaning your kobos? Was thinking of loaning some kindles and then loaning.

Dianne said...

Yes, the Kobos are loaned out to the students, they have to have a clearance form signed by their parents first for all year groups just because of the cost of replacement. We haven't lost one since we started,although a couple went missing for a bit. We do let the students know they are to return to the library desk to a member of staff rather than in the return boxes.

We picked Kobos as they are compatible with more ebook stores, and platforms. Amazon has the propriety software sealed up for the Kindles which restricts where you can get books from. The Kobos are also able to be serviced in Hong Kong. We had to have one replaced as it started malfunctioning.

Librarian said...

Hi Dianne. I am loving Wheelers too. I have been wondering if the cataloging would br easier if I downloaded the SCIS record (most seem to be there) and pasted the URL from the Wheelers MARC record. Still thinking about this. Are you buying many multiple copies? I am thinking of doing this to facilitate guided reading sets. Saves storing all those multiples. Barb

Dianne said...

Hi Barb,

I think it would reduce a bit of work to import from SCIS if all the info was there and then just copy the required URL. There are some local things we do which would not be solved though - such as the classification.

We haven't gone down the multiple copies route yet as we are just getting the community used to loaning the books - maybe that is something next years team will want to explore further, and something I could explore in my next job! Thanks for the thunks!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback I am interested in getting Wheeler E Platform for ou library.