Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Vatican Library Firmly Embraces eBooks


The Vatican is no stranger to various digital initiatives that allows a worldwide audience to tap into their extensive library. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Pope’s weekly addresses and thousands of manuscripts are now available to read. Today, we are looking at the various scanning programs and digital companies the Church is working with, in order to make everything more accessible.

Last May the Vatican and Aptara began releasing Pope Benedict's weekly addresses, thirteen in all, in illustrated form for the iPad from Italy's Apple store. "Every new communication technology is important to the church's missionary activity," said Father Giuseppe Costa, CEO of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Publishing Company of the Vatican, in a newsletter from Aptara. "And the most obvious way to reach young people today is via their mobile devices.

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, better known as the Vatican library has decided to open up its vast collection comprising of Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books (incunabula), Hebrew manuscripts along with other printed books of the bygone era, which together make up no less than 1.5 million pages. The project is expected to take 5 years to complete and is being executed in partnership with Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford. "Transforming these ancient texts and images into digital form helps transcend the limitations of time and space which have in the past restricted access to knowledge," said Bodley's librarian Sarah Thomas before also adding, "Scholars will be able to interrogate these documents in fresh approaches as a result of their online availability.

The Vatican Library has just setup a new deal a week ago with texts from the early days of Christianity. Working with the Japanese technology group NTT Data, the library intends to scan and digitally archive about 1.5 million pages from the library’s collection of manuscripts, which comprises some 82,000 items and 41 million pages. The project is scheduled for four years but will most likely be extended. “The manuscripts that will be digitized extend from pre-Columbian America to China and Japan in the Far East, passing through all the languages and cultures that have marked the culture of Europe,” said Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

The Vatican Apostolic Library, one of the oldest libraries in the world containing more than 80,000 codices and 1.1 million printed books. The library is undergoing a massive digitization effort to preserve some of its most valuable books and documents, which are now prone to deterioration and decay because of repeated handling. Some of the most notable documents to be digitized include the Sifra, one of the oldest extant Hebrew code which was written somewhere between the end of the 9th and the middle of the 10th century, as well as Greek testimonies for the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most important documents that have unearthed in recent times. They are a collection of 981 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank. They were found inside caves about a mile inland from the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name. Orchestrated under the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA) with support from Google, the scrolls have been digitized and are available at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

The Vatican Library Firmly Embraces eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Contest: Win the ZTE Open FireFox OS Phone


In the past, Good e-Reader has given away tablets, e-readers, cases and screen protectors away to our most excellent audience. Today marks the first occasion with our brand new giveaway. Today, we have a brand new ZTE Open FireFox OS Phone up for grabs. To enter, all of you have to do is LIKE the video, Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and comment on the video that you have done it all. In one week, we will be doing the draw. Good Luck!

Contest: Win the ZTE Open FireFox OS Phone is a post from: Good e-Reader

What are the Recommend to Library (RTL) and Holds Manager carts in my Marketplace?

Did you know: out of nearly 70,000 readers polled worldwide, 61% cited availability of library content was the #1 factor when deciding which books to borrow? (OverDrive end user survey – May 2013).

Coming back from PLA, our top libraries recommended the best use of your collection budget dollars is to fill holds automatically with Holds Manager—and review patron recommendations regularly from our Recommend to Library feature. This allows you to easily meet patron demand—and guarantee circulation.

See how our librarians are taking advantage of these useful features:

Melissa DeWild, Kent District Library (MI), Library Journal 2014 Mover & Shaker, says: "Holds Manager greatly benefits our patrons and staff. It's easily customizable to your library's needs and preferences: you can set a holds ratio, how often it runs, a maximum amount of copies to purchase, budget, and more. We set our holds ratio and have it automatically purchase additional copies every Friday. This is a huge timesaver for staff, and our patrons never have to wait too long for their holds.”

To help, our Collection Development Team has implemented a Holds Manager profile into your Marketplace account.

At your digital collection website, demand builds as your users place titles on hold. Holds Manager lets you respond to this demand quickly and easily by building carts or automating orders based on holds.

Every time your Holds Manager plan runs, it will create a cart for your review. Or, Holds Manager can automatically place a holds-driven order on your behalf. You can create one Holds Manager plan for all holds, or you can create a separate Holds Manager plan for each format (eBook, audiobook, music, or video).

In addition, if your library is taking advantage our “Recommend to Library” features, for patrons to recommend titles for your collection that you do not have, we have set up an automated feature to capture the patron recommendations and create carts for your review in Marketplace.

These two profiles were set up to assist your staff to create the best digital library experience. It will save time for your staff, as well as put the power into patron demand.

You can create, review, and edit these plans at any time. To do so, please follow these steps:

Holds Manager:

Login into Marketplace

Choose Select Express from the Shop drop-down menu, then select Holds Manager.

Click the Create new button to create a new plan, or select an existing plan and click Edit.


Recommend to Library Manager:

Login into Marketplace

Choose Select Express from the Shop drop-down menu, then select RTL Manager.

Click the Create new button to create a new plan, or select an existing plan and click Edit.


If you have any questions regarding these options, please do not hesitate to talk with your Collection Development Specialist!

The 5 Best Websites for Free E-books

Whether you're looking for something good to read or learning a new skill, these sites have tons of e-books that you can download for free!

DoodleBorg: a three-horsepower robot tank

PiBorg are an organisation making add-on boards for your Raspberry Pi. Recently they produced the biggest and most powerful Pi robot we’ve seen so far, using one (six, actually) of their motor boards: the resulting DoodleBorg is a three-horsepower beast powered by motorcycle starter motors. To all intents and purposes, it’s a small tank. With a dear little nobble on top for hitching things to.

The DoodleBorg has a Raspberry Pi for brains, and uses six of PiBorg’s PicoBorg reverse motor controllers, one for each wheel. It kicks out 2.1 KW – which is to say, around three horsepower, or more than my French teacher’s car had. (We’ve been discussing in the office what you might be able to do with such a mighty robot: Clive wants to run a Magdeburg hemispheres experiment without the horses; I want to pull a tractor trailer full of builders’ rubble – unfortunately, I happen to have one of those at the moment. Dave wants to set up a tug of war against a class of kids, and then stick his car in neutral and tow it around a field while shouting “Yee ha!”.) We’ve never seen a Pi look so insignificant in comparison with the robot it’s powering: we see lots of robots which are basically a Pi on wheels, whereas the Pi is completely lost in the body of this one. Best of all, the whole thing is sent commands via a PS3 controller.

Did I mention that we think it’s completely brilliant?

Raspberry Pi IV Beginners (a YouTube channel you should really check out) went to interview Team Borg about their metal monster.

(Yakkety Sax makes even the best things better: ten hundred internet points to Raspberry Pi IV Beginners for observing this.)

You can buy PiBorg add-on boards for your Raspberry Pi (the LedBorg is a particular favourite in our office) from PiBorg’s website and from Mod My Pi. If you end up making something even a tiny bit as cool as this, let us know. We like robots.


Newsbeat App Provides Audio of Top News Stories

Newspapers and magazines are struggling to keep their heads above water, not just due to the rise in tablet penetration that has made more consumers turn to their devices for reading material, but also thanks to the abundance of free information available all day long on search engines and websites. Tactics like lower cost subscriptions to digital editions, paywalls, and all-you-can-eat news content for a single price have lured a few customers back to some of the mainstays of the news industry, but the outlook still isn’t good.

One area where digital news services and apps have tried to market their services is the long-distance commuter, but those platforms only speak to commuters who take mass transit. A new app from Tribune Digital Ventures, however, will provide both iOS and Android users with audio editions of personalized news stories that they can access from their devices, a great feature for those commuters who have to do their own driving.

Newsbeat delivers users’ news via human and synthetic ” news anchors”as a playlist, allowing them to first download the information prior to leaving home in order to utilize their own wifi connections instead of their cellular data usage. To skip a story, users simply jump to the next item in the playlist in much the same way that they would skip a song. But the best feature might still be this level of personalization based on users’ preselected interests, which is a good thing considering Tribune offers over 7,000 articles every day.

“You can choose your category preferences, topics of interest, and preferred publications. You can also setup your home and work location and Newsbeat will bring you a mix of national and local stories tailored to your commute.”

Newsbeat App Provides Audio of Top News Stories is a post from: Good e-Reader

New twists on fairy tale classics

Fairy tales hold a special place in many people’s lives. Adaptations are everywhere right now, making readers hungry for more fairy tale adventures from your digital library. Here are some of our current favorites:



The fabulous Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley and the Frog Princess collection from E.D. Baker are both perfect for elementary students.

Anne Ursu also has written some amazing fairy tale adaptations. Breadcrumbs adapts Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, while The Real Boy provides a subtle adaptation of Pinocchio with a magical edge. The Real Boy was also on the 2013 National Book Award Longlist.

Young Adult:


Tom McNeal's amazing novel Far Far Away, a National Book Award Finalist and Edgar Award Finalist, is a fantastic and unexpected mystery with intriguing characters.

Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress) mashes up fairy tales with the dystopian genre.

Heather Dixon's Entwined provides an enchanting twist on the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Wendy Delsol's Frost is a darkly romantic adaptation of The Snow Queen, in a high school setting.


Looking for even more fairy tale titles to offer your patrons or students? Click here for a Marketplace search of folklore titles that are not part of your current collection.
*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.


Laura Ruttig is an Account Executive at OverDrive.

eBook Sales Continue to Thrive

Germany Book Fair
It’s been years since the onset of the most recent digital publishing and e-reading revolution, and the results are still reporting that print is a favored mode for reading among consumers, but that ebooks are still on the rise. According to data released yesterday from Nielsen, ebook sales in the UK alone increased by 20% last year.

In an article by Lisa Campbell for The Bookseller, Campbell reported, “E-books accounted for one in four consumer book purchases, up from one in five a year earlier. One in five of those purchases were self-published titles, according to the research, representing 12% of the spending on e-books. Self-published fiction titles typically sold for much less than professionally published titles – at £2 – whereas mainstream fiction e-books typically sold between £3-4.99. Around 40% of e-book purchases in 2013 were on adult fiction titles, compared with 33% in 2012, with adult fiction e-book sales rising to one in eight buys and children's digital books representing a tenth of e-book sales.”

Even more importantly, one in five ebooks sold was self-published. Apart from the validation that statistic provides for indie authors in terms of readers’ willingness to invest in self-published titles, it also had an important impact on the book industry as a whole, especially as it pertains to consumers’ spending.

"The rise in self-publishing meant that in 2013, the average price paid for fiction e-books dropped to around 60% of that paid for fiction paperbacks," Steve Bohme of Nielsen said in a presentation at Nielsen's Books & Consumers Conference.

eBook Sales Continue to Thrive is a post from: Good e-Reader