Tech Tips & News for April

Phew, it’s been a busy few months around here! First we launched our RBDigital/Zinio eMagazines collection, and now we’re launching two new library services – a new library catalogue interface and a new streaming/download service for movies, music and audiobooks.  On top of that, we’re keeping tabs on new updates to existing services like OverDrive to make sure that you have the best patron experience possible. Here’s a run-down of all the recent developments in the “online” part of Winnipeg Public Library’s services:

A New Search Interface

We’ve been quite busy putting the finishing touches on our new library catalogue. If you haven’t explored it yet, there’s never been a better time, because starting today (April 22, 2014) all of our website links are set to direct you to the new site instead of the old one. If you’re curious about the new site and would like a guided tour, we’ve got that covered! Our quick visual catalogue tour covers all the basics of the new search interface. For those among us who like digging into the “how does it work” details, there’s also an extensive help document that covers all the functions and options of the catalogue/account system. As with any new product roll-out, there are bound to be kinks found and adaptations to be made after the launch. At WPL, we’re proud of our customer-driven focus and as such, welcome any feedback that you might have on the new search interface. If there’s a function that you think is missing, or would like to see added, let us know; if it’s not something that can be added at this time, we’ll try to add it in future upgrades!

What’s all the Hoopla? New Video and Music Streaming Service

banner-no-textOn April 14, Winnipeg Public Library joined forces with hoopla, an innovative new service that partners with local public libraries to bring you thousands of movies, television, music, and audiobook titles for free. All you need is your library card; enter your barcode and PIN (last four digits of your phone number) and you’ll be able to register for a hoopla digital account.

Your hoopla account allows you to borrow 10 digital items per month, and the choices range from movies and TV episodes to music (all genres, including popular chart-toppers) and audiobooks. You borrow the items for a period of time, and during that time you get to listen to them or watch them on your computer any time you want, as much as you want. If you’re planning on watching your movies/TV on a computer, you’ll need to install the Widevine plugin in your browser, as the service uses it to stream the content. You can also install the hoopla app on your mobile device and save your content for offline viewing/listening, so you can take your content with you wherever you go during your lending period. That means you can check out a movie, save it on your iPad and watch it on the plane or on your road trip!

For more details, check out our FAQ page.

Changes to the OverDrive Media Console App

OverDrive Account Screenshot

OverDrive Account splash screen on Android

In mid-April, OverDrive released the latest update to their OverDrive Media Console App for iPad/iPhone and Android. The new version includes a stronger integration of the “OverDrive Account” feature, something that hasn’t been pushed heavily by the app before. Regular users of the app might be surprised to be asked to “sign in” the first time they open the app after installing the update, and that’s because the “sign-in” process is not connected to any library account you’ve created before. An “OverDrive Account” is separate from your Library account (you sign up using an email address and new password) and is designed to allow users to sync their reading progress across several devices. The sign-up has actually been available for over a year now, but has remained hidden as a option in the Settings menu that most people chose to ignore, unless they were specifically looking for ways to read titles on more than one device.

OverDrive Account Screenshot

OverDrive Account splash screen on an iPhone

Now, the app has been modified to put the account sign up on the splash screen, making it look like a required step. It’s not; you can skip it and never be asked to sign up again, just by tapping the “Do this later” option that appears under the Sign in /Sign Up buttons on the splash screen. If you do want to sign up for the OverDrive Account, though, tap the Sign up button and you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter your email address and a new password, which will be stored on the OverDrive cloud server and will allow your reading progress to be updated on all the devices that you use to read your books. That means that if you have an iPad and an iPhone both running OverDrive, you can start reading on the larger screen at breakfast, then leave for work and pick up where you left off reading while you’re riding the bus. Signing in to your OverDrive Account on a new device will also take care of the “Adobe ID” authorization on the new device, as that info is stored in your cloud account. If there are questions or issues, please send them to us as we’re always happy to offer help/troubleshooting tips. Happy eReading! – Sophie

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