Friday, April 17, 2015

Coca-Cola Unveils Digital Magazine Concept for UK Website


Coca-Cola has revised their UK website and implemented a very unique digital magazine concept. The company has hired an editorial staff to focus on storytelling in a bid to drive brand engagement by making the site more 'socially enabled'.

I kind of dig the new direction that Coke is going in. There is a sense of Buzzfeed infusion that makes you want to click and read the story. In some cases they have done videos that are strangely compelling, like 100 years of Coca-cola bottles.

What Coca-Cola is trying to do is appeal to the younger demographic with this new endeavor. They are using Twitter hashtags to get people active and engaged. Celebrities is a big focus such as launching a new sustainable fashion line.

Stanislas Magniant, digital communications director for Coca-Cola North West Europe said “we want to bring to life the stories about our company, our brands, our employees and our actions around the world. We also want to make our stories more appealing, relevant and engaging to people by using the right multimedia content to bring them to life."

This might not be the type of site that you visit to your news fix, but their original content will likely be discovered on YouTube or aggregator services such as Digg or Pulse.

Coca-Cola Unveils Digital Magazine Concept for UK Website is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Will Never Make a Color e-Reader


Kobo has verified that they will not employ color technology on any of their dedicated e-paper e-readers.  Michael Tamblyn the President of Kobo said that color screens and interactive features would continue “on the tablet and app side”, which now accounts for half of Kobo’s business.

Color e-paper has really never taken off in the commercial space because both developers and users claim the screens always look “washed out”. E-Ink Triton is notorious for this because of the RGB color filter. Each color pixel is formed with 4 dots which means the end result is always halved. For example the Ectaco Jetbook Color had a greyscale resolution of 1600×1200, but when you viewed something in color it was 800×600.

Qualcomm spent a copious amount of money and four years developing Mirasol technology. It was billed as an alternative existing Color e-Paper solutions on the market. It was based on IMOD (Interferometric MODulation), with MEMS structures at its core. This MEMS-based innovation is bistable & highly reflective, meaning the display itself can be seen in direct sunlight. There were only a handful of devices ever made, most notably the Kyobo e-reader sold in Korea.  Qualcomm abandoned this tech for the e-reader space and tried to get smartphone and smartwatch companies to embrace it, but failed to do so.

The only other color e-paper that might be commercially viable is Liquavista which is currently in limbo after Amazon purchased it in 2013. I spoke to Kurt Petersdorff, the Commercial Director of Liquavista, around a year ago when it still belonged to Samsung. I wanted to find out what made this e-paper different from e-Ink. The essence of Liquavista is Electrowetting technology that is highly scalable. From a manufacturing point of view, it is easy for existing LCD plants to incorporate Electrowetting into its process. It is basically the same entire procedure to create the screen, except instead of using Liquid Crystals they use a different fill. One of the huge benefits of Liquavista technology is that it is flexible, which means it is much more robust. It is similar to the same type of display that LG uses in the Wexler Flex One. If you have ever dropped an iPad or an iPhone, you know the LCD glass breaks rather easily because it is extremely inflexible.

I think Kobo is making the right call to basically say they will never release a color e-reader. The technology is too immature and companies aren’t innovating in this sector.

Kobo Will Never Make a Color e-Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Professional Development for librarians

The library field is always changing. With the increase in technology and evolving best practices, it’s vital for library staff to stay up-to-date. One simple way to help your staff stay on top of changes in the LIS community is to add professional development titles to your digital collection. Our team of librarians have put together a comprehensive list of LIS professional development titles. This list is chock-full of titles relevant for librarians, including Crash Cours in Readers’ Advisory by OverDrive’s own Cindy Orr.

Click here to view the full list in Marketplace.

Off the Page: Age-Appropriate eBooks for Readers with Obstacles

Teen boy on ereader
Having been a teacher of at-risk high school students, I’m going to go out on a limb and declare a recent innovation by two teachers from New Zealand to be the most game-changing application of publishing in 2015, if not in the entire age of digital publishing. What’s so astounding about their project, Off the Page?

Have you ever looked at an illiterate twenty-year-old with neck tattoos and handed him a book with a cartoon puppy on the cover, then expected him to learn to read with it? It doesn’t usually end well, and that’s a tragedy that two teachers have set out to change.

Rosemary Emery and Anne Russell didn’t venture into digital publishing because they were frustrated authors who couldn’t get any respect from the gatekeepers in the traditional industry. They began Off the Page because they were frustrated teachers who were fed up with the inappropriate titles that the industry continues to make available to entire populations of readers who don’t have the same capacity for reading that mainstream students do.

In their case, Emery and Russell have worked in special education in some way for most of their adult lives, but were tired of the childish content and juvenile layout of books for special needs students, specifically autistic and learning disabled students. Those particular learning obstacles are so misunderstood by so many people, including “industry experts” who continue to churn out ridiculous titles with preschool-aged themes. Just because the student’s reading functionality isn’t the same as that of his peers doesn’t mean his interests aren’t the same; this prompted the teachers to write their own content. One of the currently free titles on their website is an ebook about skim boarding (similar to body surfing) that is still written at a grade level for lower ability readers while maintaining a higher interest level.

Good e-Reader first wrote about the benefits of ebooks and ereaders for learning disabled and special needs students back in 2010 when the Kindle first appeared on the scene. So why hasn’t the educational publishing industry caught up and produced inexpensive titles that address this specific problem?

Emery and Russell are completely accurate in their assessment that there’s just no money to be made in this type of publishing, so the industry basically doesn’t bother. Writing niche ebooks that address a specific issue like this has taken up a lot of their time and personal investment, but it’s provided them with classroom tools that actually work for their students. As successes like theirs reach higher levels in education ministries and government committees, hopefully more publishers will get on board and produce digital titles that actually help students learn.

Off the Page: Age-Appropriate eBooks for Readers with Obstacles is a post from: Good e-Reader

Recommended Read-Alikes

Looking to add some new titles to your digital collection? Check out our newly redesigned Read Alike page!

Handpicked by our staff librarians, these lists can be very helpful in finding popular, high-circulating content that your patrons are sure to enjoy. To help you navigate easier, the page is now organized into four categories: Book and Author Read-Alikes, TV Read-Alikes, Movie Read-Alikes, and Podcast/Radio Read-Alikes. These would make great curated collections on your digital library homepage.

As always, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create any Read-Alikes or recommended lists. Email for more information today!

Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

Amazonian rainforest simulation

Mike “Recantha” Horne mailed me yesterday saying he’d found something that was (and I quote) “ALL KINDS OF COOL”. He also taught me a new word. This project is a paludarium: a created environment that mimics a complete terrestrial and aquatic biome, full of plants and animals that live in water and on land. A bit like a terrarium, but with an aquatic element as well (or a bit like an aquarium with a greenhouse on top).


The paludarium in question, created by a team called Poopi and Piter (it seems Piter built the paludarium and Poopi built the system that creates the weather and time-of-day effects), simulates an Amazonian rainforest, with fog, rainfall, thunderstorms and wind; as well as a complete diurnal cycle. The Raspberry Pi is responsible for running:

  • 6 independent sections of halogen lights
  • 27 independently controlled 1W LEDs for various effects
  • 3 independent 3W RGB LEDs for ambient color effects
  • 3 independent 3W LEDs for lightning and moon simulation
  • 3 independent 10W LEDs for Aquarium lighting
  • 2 independent FANs for wind simulation
  • 3 fog generators
  • 2 independent solenoids for rain control
  • Temperature monitoring

This is one of the most beautiful projects we’ve ever featured here. It’s a compelling watch: enjoy the video.