Monthly Archives: October 2014

Library Apps

With people as likely to access online services from a phone or tablet as they are a PC, apps have become part of everyday life. Patrons can tap into various SCDL services from apps, some of which may not be as obvious as others. To get these apps on your mobile device, check out your app store (Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, etc.). All library apps are free to download.

  • OverDrive: If there’s only one app patrons know about and use, this is probably the one. The OverDrive app allows patrons to download materials from the Ohio Digital Library, and is necessary for reading EPUB e-books, listening to e-audio, and watching video from ODL. The app was formerly called OverDrive Media Console, but the name has been simplified, as has the registration process, so if you ever gave up on the app in frustration because of registration difficulties, you might want to give it another try.  (available for Android, Apple, Windows)
  • Hoopla: Hoopla is another service the library has for e-audio and video, as well as music. All items from Hoopla can be streamed while connected to the internet or downloaded for offline consumption later. (available for Android and Apple)
  • Zinio: Check out magazines using the Zinio website. (Make certain you set up a library account so you are not charged for magazines. Remember: LIBRARY MAGAZINES ARE FREE.) After selecting magazines from the website, download issues to the app for reading anywhere. (available for Android, Apple, Windows)
  • Kindle: Many e-book titles from the Ohio Digital Library are also available in Kindle format. An Amazon account is needed to borrow e-books from ODL, but if you already have an account and the app, why not use it for Library books as well! (available for Android, Apple, Windows)
  • EBSCOHost: Many of SCDL’s databases, including those best suited to researching school assignments, come from EBSCOHost. Access 34 Ebsco databases all from this one app. The authorization process is a little tricky. An e-mail code must be sent, but the link for this code is only available when using the full desktop version of the site. Then the e-mail must be opened from the mobile device and the link within selected to authorize the app. But once that’s done, research to your heart’s content. (available for Android and Apple)
  • Mango: Mango is a database for learning over 60 foreign languages or English as a Second Language. To track progress through lessons, set up an account on the Mango website with a valid e-mail address. The Little Pim lessons specifically designed for children and Premier movie service are not available through the app at this time. (available for Android and Apple)

And those are just the apps for using Library services. Don’t forget that you can follow what SCDL is doing on social networking apps you likely have already. For instance, you could be reading this blog right now using the WordPress app. Or you might have been linked to this blog from our Facebook page, which you accessed through the Facebook app. You can also keep up with the library at Twitter and Flickr right from your mobile device using those apps. In other words, there’s no reason you can’t keep up with your Library from anywhere! (All of these social networking apps are available for Android, Apple, and Windows.)

To find out more about library apps, be sure to stop by the Main Library for Tech Tuesday on October 28 at 3:00 pm.

Shelia

Catalog Searching – Encore vs Smart Search

Stark County District Library’s new website thesmartstore.org offers a new way to discover all that the library offers. Using the smart search bar (found on any page on the website) you can enter a subject and explore everything the library has to offer about that topic. For example, to learn more about the spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel you can click in the smart search bar and type “excel.” Results for this search are separated into all the different Excel related items and services the library offers – books, digital books, videos, programs, etc.

00_smartsearch

This integrated smart search is an effective way to explore all of the library’s resources. The search process and interface are much different than what the website used to offer. Those who prefer the old way will be happy to know that it is very simple to access.

On every page of the smartstore.org website there is an orange My Account button in the top right corner.

01_myaccount

Click that and log in to your account (library card number and PIN/password. Note:  PIN/password can be set up for you by visiting any library location.)

02_encorelogin

After successful log in you are directed to our Web Public Access Catalog (WebPAC), called Encore. Before the recent website revisions Encore was the main search function on the library’s website.

Encore allows you to search for library materials (similar to the smart search bar) but has some advanced features that can be very useful. After searching in Encore you can you can use the filters on the left side of the page to refine results by format, location, language, and more. So if we return to our Excel example, you can search Encore for “excel” and then refine results to see if there are any books available right now at the branch nearest you.

So let’s say you want an Excel book and the East Canton branch is closest to you. Follow the steps above to log in to your account. Then click in the Encore search bar at the top of the page and search for “excel.”

03_encoresearchThis initial search yields over 200 results and includes materials all over the SCDL system. To narrow results that better fit your needs locate the Refine By: filters on the left side of the page. Under Format click Book; under Collection click All Adult Materials; under Location select Stark East Canton Branch Adult. You are now looking at books available at the East Canton branch about Excel. There are four to choose from.

04_filter

Both search methods cast a wide net and are great for browsing everything the library does. The smart search bar’s integrated search feature is nice for exactly this reason. But if you need to dig a little further: locate a specific type of item or browse what’s available at a particular location the Encore feature is just a click away. On thesmartstore.org there is something for everyone. Hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for no matter which search method you use.

A hands-on look at the Windows 10 Technical Preview

Microsoft released a technical preview of Windows 10 yesterday. The preview gives a hands-on look at the next version of the Windows operating system, which will release sometime in 2015. We downloaded the preview and gave it a spin on one of our computers here at the SCDL. Here’s an early look at what’s coming soon to a computer near you.

Return of the Start Menu

After a brief hiatus during which it was absent from Windows 8/8.1, the Start Menu has made a comeback in Windows 10. The new Start Menu blends a bit of the old and the new.

In addition to a traditional menu containing the programs installed on your PC, live tiles are now present in the right-hand pane. These live tiles are links to apps that first appeared in Windows 8, and can be customized to your liking.

The return of the Start Menu will be a welcome change for users who were used to Windows XP/Vista/7, and may make Windows 10 a bit easier to transition to than Windows 8 was.

Say Goodbye to the Start Screen

If you’re on a PC that uses a keyboard and mouse, the Start Screen will no longer appear by default when you boot up your computer. Characterized by its grid of tiles and live apps, the Start Screen made its debut in Windows 8. It was part of the Modern/“Metro” user interface, which was designed to provide a consistent user interface for both tablets and PCs.

Many traditional desktop/laptop users found the interface to be ill-suited for use with a mouse and keyboard, and Microsoft has listened to those complaints. You can always re-enable the old Start Screen if you’d like, but most users will probably find the reworked Start Menu easier to use.

Windowed Apps

Modern apps that previously appeared in the Start Screen now open in traditional windows, matching the behavior of normal Windows applications. These apps can be resized and moved, meaning you can have many of them open and displayed on screen at the same time. Previously, these apps typically ran in full-screen mode.

Modern apps are located in the Start Menu with the rest of your programs/applications.

Virtual Desktops

Windows 10 also brings a feature that has long been present on Mac OS X and other operating systems: virtual desktops. Virtual desktops are basically separate workspaces which allow you organize your open applications. This is especially useful if you’re working on a project and have a lot of programs open.

By clicking the Task View button on the taskbar, you can switch between open applications and move to a new virtual desktop. Whenever you click on an application that is already open in another desktop, you’ll automatically be switched to that workspace.

Try out Windows 10 for yourself

If you have a computer lying around and want to give Windows 10 a try, you can download the Technical Preview version here. Be careful, though—you’ll want to back up your existing documents and other data before installing Windows 10, and you can’t revert back to your original version of Windows without doing a clean install.

For those of you who’d rather wait for the finished product, Windows 10 will be released sometime in 2015. If you’re planning on buying a computer during that time, get ready—Windows 10 will likely come pre-installed on it.

-Jesse