Tag Archives: Tech Tips

Who is lynda?

Who is Lynda? Lynda Susan Weinman and her husband are the founders of lynda.

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What is lynda? lynda (always lowercase) is a popular web site with high-quality video courses on a number of subjects including:

(note that all the links above will require you to sign in with your library card and PIN. If you’d like, you can test drive lynda without needing to login)

lyndaPhotography

Many of these subject areas are information technology based, but not all. You can learn to take better pictures, how to design a logo, or how to find a job. There’s courses that are right for you, whether you are terrified of touching a computer or are already highly skilled in your field.

lyndaLogo

You might be able to tell, but I love lynda. You might be wondering, though, why I seem so determined to get you to use it. No, I don’t own stock in the company. For some time, the Winnipeg Public Library has been looking for a learning portal for its customers. Then during our Inspiring Ideas campaign, you told us how much you would like ways to improve your skills for interest and career advancement. Well, last month the Winnipeg Public Library made lynda available for all Winnipeg Public Library cardholders!

One of the things I love about lynda is I can watch the courses anywhere. I watch them on the bus to and from work on my phone. I cast them to the TV while I’m rocking our baby to sleep (I think she likes them too). I can watch a small segment of a course at my workstation when I need to quickly learn how to fix a problem I’ve having with a program or web page.

So check it out, there’s probably something there for you!

-Mike

Do websites get retirement parties?

oldcatalogue

Our old catalogue interface officially retired this month. After 12 long years of use, the time had come for the old cowboy to head off into the sunset – after all, for a website, 12 years is a long, storied life. The old site had been chugging along just fine, but the software it was running off of was retired by the vendor, leaving no room for new growth or changes, and no way to properly incorporate our new and emerging library collections like OverDrive eBooks and hoopla movies.

newcatalogue

While we were sad to see it go, the thing that surprised us the most was how may of you, our patrons, were surprised/shocked/annoyed/disappointed to see it go. Clearly, many of you had the same affectionate feelings for our virtual library as we know you have for our physical spaces.

Here’s some of the questions we’ve been hearing from you:

Since when do you have a new catalogue?

Since April of last year! Our new catalogue was officially launched on April 22, 2014, after a soft launch and testing period in the first part of that month. We left the old catalogue running to ease the transition, and many of our patrons continued linking to the original page simply because that was the page they had bookmarked for quick access. We couldn’t keep both sites running forever, though, and chose the one-year anniversary as a reasonable date for the old site’s retirement. The old site is now completely blocked to outside use, so if you click on a saved bookmark and get a “this page can’t be accessed” message, you need to delete the bookmark and replace it with one that points to the new site, http://winca.ent.sirsidynix.net

I can’t log in, I’m getting an error message

Problems logging in the first time you try to access your account on the new site? Contact the library, we can fix it right away. An error message popping up the very first time you try to log into your account  means that you had books saved in the “My List” part of your library account that haven’t transitioned smoothly to the new site. To get the problem fixed, send us an email via this form, making sure to include your library card number and PIN (last 4 digits of your phone number) and indicating that you’re stuck with the “First-time catalogue login problem.” We can fix the problem for you in no time flat.

I never added any books to My List, so why would that be the problem?

You may not even remember adding the books to a “My List”, but there’s probably something there – those lists never expire so a book added back in 2008 may be the culprit.

Is there any way to sort my holds? I can’t see how to do that now.

We’ll admit that this one is a bit harder to pick out than other features.  If you have a long holds list and like to be able to sort through them to see what’s coming or suspend groups of titles when you go on vacation, sorting the list by title or status is a useful option. The sort option is the little circle icon next to each column header; click on that icon to sort A-Z, and click it again to reverse the list. sortmyholds

 

Why does “My Account” on new site show me my personal information instead of showing my checkouts or holds?

That’s easy – it’s because you haven’t had a chance to go in and set your personal preferences yet. In the third section of the “Personal Information” tab, you get the option of choosing what view you default to when you log in to your account. If you frequently log in to check your holds and see what’s waiting for you on the pickup shelf, you can tell the page to default to “Holds” view. If you’re more often coming to the site to renew your materials, you might want to tell the page to default to “Checkouts” view. It’s up to you!

catalogue_preferences

For more Q & A and helpful tips: 

Mobile Website changed

Another recent website change! This past week we changed our mobile website (the page that you get to when you visit our library home page, wpl.winnipeg.ca, on a smartphone or small tablet) so that it takes you to the web version of our WPL to Go app, instead of to a basic information page. The benefit to this is that it gives you a quick, mobile-friendly catalogue search on your phone, without having to browse the full-sized page on your small screen or installing the WPL to Go app. You’ll also be able to access all of our upcoming event listings, quickly locate the closest library branch, grab an available eBook from OverDrive or eMagazine from Zinio, and more!

To try it out for yourself, just enter wpl.winnipeg.ca in your phone’s browser.

Enjoy!

-Sophie

New Features in the WPL to Go App

wpltogoapp

We’ve got some new features in our WPL to Go app that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. If you’ve got the app already installed, the features are live already (no need to install an update, just open your app and explore!)

wpltogoappmainNew Look

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that we’ve updated our app icons… our old icon set was looking a bit dated, so we’ve gone in and done a bit of a makeover. The new look is cleaner and sleeker – we hope you like it! If something’s not where you expect it to be in the app, note that all of the services that you’ve been using the app for – searching for books, checking your library account, contacting the library – are still there; we’ve just rearranged things a bit to make room for some new content.

Leave your card at home

The most anticipated new feature is the app’s ability to store your library card number and display your barcode for scanning at the checkout desk.   That’s right, you can now leave your library card at home (or lost in the back of your wallet, whatever) and just scan your app instead!

To show your barcode at checkout, you need to first save your library card in the app. If you use the app to place holds on items all the time, you’ve probably done this already – just check the “Remember login” box on the My Account sign in page.

wpltogoapplogin   wpltogoappshow   wpltogoappcard

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll now see a line that says “Library Card (#####): show card for scanning.” Tap this and a version of your library card will appear on the screen. You can show this to the staff member at your local library’s checkout desk to access your account, or use it on any of our self-checkout machines (note that you may have to turn your screen brightness up to 100% to get the scan to work).

cool new content

wpltogoappcontentWe’ve also added more library content on the front page of the app, so you can launch all of your favourite WPL services with a tap of your finger. We’ve always included a quick link to our available OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks (and that’s still there) but now we’ve also added quick links to our hoopla digital (movies, music and audiobooks) and Zinio eMagazines services, too.

We’ve also added a quick link down at the bottom of the app that takes you to our full library website, for those occasions when you find you need to access a library service that isn’t included in the app (after all, it’s an app, it can’t do everything).

what’s happening at the library this week?

wpltogoappcalInterested in checking out a program at the library? Want to know if there’s any interesting programs at your local branch this week? Or looking for computer classes to help brush up on a skill? Tap on Programs and Events to open the complete list of upcoming library events – and then search the Calendar list for something you’re interested in.

Enter your local branch name in the search box to find events near you, or search for a descriptive word like “story,” “ipad,” “HELP” (yes, we have programs that match that term!)

Try it out!

If you haven’t already downloaded the WPL to Go app, you can do so right now just by going to https://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/ (the page will redirect you to your device’s app store so you can install it right away – it’s free!).

You can also try it live before installing the app by going to http://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/m on your device. You can try this on your computer, too – just go to the page and then shrink your page window down to phone size.

We hope you enjoy it!

-Sophie

Library apps on your Tablet – more than just eBooks!

You’ve got devices, we’ve got apps!

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This fall, the Library is offering a new series of tech workshops designed to expand the range of “things we show you how to do” on your devices. We’ve focused on eBooks (and to some extent, eAudiobooks) in the past, but we’ve never covered the whole RANGE of options. This is partially because some of our services are newer than others – our eMagazines service has only been on offer since January, and our streaming movies and music service only since April.

The other major reason that the range has been limited is that to explain all the services on all of the various tablets that people bring in takes a lot of time and can be confusing (brain/information overload!). To deal with this, for our fall series we’re splitting the sessions by device type – iPads in one class, Android tablets in another – so that no one is presented with information that doesn’t apply to their device and everyone can follow along, step-by-step.

The drawback to this arrangement is that to cover the range of tablets available, we need to have more sessions, and our resources are limited. To start off, we’ll be offering sessions for iPad and Android only, but Windows 8 devices will be offered as an option in the near future. If you’re interested in having the Windows 8 session at a branch near you, please contact the branch directly and let them know!

A listing of when & where these sessions will take place can be found in the September/October issue of @ the Library (coming to a branch near you next week). Subscribe to our email newsletter to get it delivered the first day it’s available!

Because some people prefer the “Do-It-Yourself” method, here’s a rundown of the library services you can get on your device with links to our “visual guides” for setup and installation:

OverDrive Media Console App: for eBooks and eAudiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Overdrive

OverDrive is our most popular eBooks platform! To download books from OverDrive, you need to install the OverDrive Media Console app, even if you already have an app like iBooks or Kobo for your purchased eBooks. Library eBooks have “time-lock” software attached to them that controls the lending/returning of the books (the “library” part of the deal!), and you need an app that knows how to handle the library code. Luckily the OMC app is free and easy to use – just follow the steps in our visual guides:

OverDriveiPad

Guide to OverDrive for your iPad

OverDriveAndroid

Guide to OverDrive for your Android Tablet

OverDriveWin8

Guide to OverDrive  for Windows 8 tablets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoopla app: For streaming and downloading Movies, Music and Audiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Hoopla

Hoopla is the newest download service offered by WPL, but it’s quickly becoming one of our favourites! Hoopla allows you to stream movies, TV, music and audiobooks on any computer, and if you’ve got an iPad or Android tablet, you can download your items and save them for offline use (like road trips, plane rides or days at the cottage!). You can check out 10 items per month, per card.

hooplaiPad

Guide to Hoopla for iPad

hooplaandroid

Guide to Hoopla for Android

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zinio app: for downloading and reading eMagazines

Search your app store for the keyword: Zinio

Zinio eMagazines are great because they never expire! Once you’ve checked out an issue, you keep it for as long as you like. The only complication is that the account setup process can seem a bit confusing. If you read through our Zinio Account Setup Guide, though, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your accounts ready, download the Zinio app and start checking magazines out! Note that even though the eMagazines don’t need to be “returned” to the library like our eBooks do, you still need to use this specific library app to download the files. The eMagazines are in a proprietary file format that can only be opened in the Zinio app, so other apps like Newsstand can’t open them.

zinioiPad
Guide to the Zinio App for iPad
ZinioAndroid

Guide to the Zinio App for Android

ZinioWin8

Guide to the Zinio app for Windows 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPL to GO: the Library’s OWN App!

Search your app store for the keyword: Winnipeg

Last but not least, we have our own app – one that gives you quick access to the library catalogue, shows you holds you have available and when your items are due, all in a touch-friendly environment. For more details and links, head to our demo page where you can try the app live before you download it!

Enjoy!

-Sophie

Suspended Holds and Auto-Checkout now available for OverDrive

We’re happy to announce that some long-anticipated features are now available in our OverDrive eBooks/eAudiobooks catalogue:     

Suspend a Hold

suspended3This feature allows you to temporarily suspend a hold on an item in the waiting list. Just like when you suspend holds in our “physical items” search catalogue, your position will continue to advance in the queue while the hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. This can be useful for a number of reasons, like stopping new book deliveries while you’re at the cabin for a week or away from your email, or if you’ve got ten books to read and can’t check out anymore until you’re finished with them.

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suspended1

You can choose to suspend your title for 7, 14, 21, 28, 60 or 90 days. Once the suspension ends, the title will go back to advancing in the list until the hold becomes available. If you advance to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold – but you’ll stay there waiting at position #1 until your suspension ends. If you’d like more details, here’s a link to OverDrive’s instructions on their Help site.

Auto-Checkout for Holds

At the time that you place a hold, the option to ‘auto-checkout’ the title when it becomes available can be set.

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autocheckoutsIf you choose this option, you will receive a notification email when your title is available, but the email is just to confirm that it has been checked out and can now be found on your account bookshelf. Basically, when the previous user’s loan period expires, the book automatically adds itself to your account. You’ll still need to log in and download the item to your computer or tablet from the bookshelf page, but you won’t have to worry about the hold expiring after 96 hours if you miss the email!

If you select this option but are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (for instance if you’ve already reached your maximum checkout limit) you’ll be sent the same hold notification email you’ve seen in the past and will have the full 4 day/96 hour hold pickup period to make your checkout. If you leave the auto-checkout option unchecked, you’ll also get the old 4 day/96 hour notification email.

Here’s an article in OverDrive’s Help that explains this in more detail.

“Recommended for you” collection

recommended for you

After you sign in, a collection of recommended titles will appear on the homepage. Recommended titles will be available for checkout and suggested based on titles you currently have checked out or on hold. If you do not have any checkouts or holds, this collection will not appear.

Maturity Settings

Two options have been added to the Account Settings page that will allow you to customize your browsing and discovery experience based on content maturity level:

1. The ability to exclude certain content based on the maturity level (Juvenile, YA, General, Adult). This will allow adult users to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience.

maturity levels
More information how to use this setting is available in this Help article: http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1492447.

2. The option to “mask” all adult cover images with a basic cover image. This option will be set to “No” by default.

cover images

Search Relevance Improvements

Based on feedback from users, the default word used between your search terms in the OverDrive search box has been changed from “OR” to “AND.” What does this mean? Basically, previous searches for ‘Stephen King’ would return all records that contain either the word ‘Stephen’ or the word ‘King.’ That means in addition to books by Stephen King, your search result list would show books by Stephen R. Covey, Laurie R. King, etc. With the new search style, your search will only return records that contain both the words Stephen and King. The new search style means the number of results returned for a search will likely be lower than with the old search behavior, but the relevancy of the results will be higher.

If you have questions about these new services, drop us a line in the comments!

 -Sophie

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

New language-learning features from Mango!

There have been some exciting new changes made to our Mango Languages service for 2014!

The first is a change to the dashboard interface, moving from their old “antique paper” look & feel to a new, sleeker dashboard called “Mango Connect.” When you launch Mango, you will now see a message asking if you want to use the new dashboard or stick with the old one. The old interface will remain accessible until June of this year, but after that the Mango Connect interface will become the default.   

welcometomango

New Languages: Mango announced the addition of 14 new language courses to their complete subscription: Armenian, Azerbaijani, Hungarian, Kazakh, Serbian, Yiddish, Bengali, Malay, Malayalam, Punjabi, Telugu, Scottish Gaelic, ESL Arabic MSA and ESL Armenian. These courses are also available in the Mango Languages for Libraries app for iPad/iPhone once users upgrade to version 1.3.0, released January 28, 2014. The new languages do not seem to be listed in the Mango app for Android, but may become available in a future app update. 

mangopremiere

Introducing Mango Premiere – Language Learning Through Films: One of the new features introduced with the Mango Connect dashboard is the new Mango Premiere service . This service is integrated with our existing Mango product and can currently be accessed through our Search a Database page.

Mango Premiere takes films in several languages and builds a language-learning system around the dialog of those films. You can either watch the film straight through with two sets of colour-coded subtitles on the screen, or use the intensive “engage-mode” to break the film down into scenes and delve into the sentence structure, grammar, culture of those scenes and more.

For more details, there’s a brief tutorial/trailer explaining the service:


Try Mango Premiere without creating a Mango account: For a limited time, Mango is making Kung Fu Dunk, one of its Mango Premiere titles, available immediately without an account for trial purposes. Go to  http://trymp.mangolanguages.com/ to take a test run of this service.

If you’d like to try a movie in another language, log in to Mango from the Search a Database page, create an account if you haven’t made one before (you can also log in as a guest if you’re short of time)  and click on the Learn tab and look for the “Apps” link in the middle of the page. The Mango Premiere courses appear at the bottom of the “Apps” screen. We currently have ten Mango Premiere courses available covering five languages – Spanish (Latin America), Italian, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese and English for Spanish speakers. There are more films/languages listed on the Mango Premiere promotional site, but licensing restrictions in Canada mean that we currently only have access to a limited set.

మీరు ఆనందించండి ఆశిస్తున్నాము!
(That’s “we hope you enjoy”) in Telugu. :)

Sophie

OverDrive for Windows 8, eBooks Video Tutorials and eBooks for Little Ones

If you are planning to buy a new computer soon, chances are it is going to come with Windows 8. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s newest version of their operating system for desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. In some ways it’s a significant departure from the Windows of the past, mainly in the touch-centric Modern User Interface (formerly codenamed Metro). Apps (basically, software) that are designed for this new user interface are made available through the Windows Store.

OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8So why am I writing about the latest operating systems on a library blog?  Well, available in the Windows Store is the new Overdrive Media Console for Windows 8.

Overdrive Media Console (just Overdrive from now on) is the main interface to the Winnipeg Public Library’s downloadable eBooks on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Like Windows 8 itself, Overdrive for Windows 8 is a departure from the interface we’re familiar with for the Apple iOS and Google Android versions of the app.

windows8Because it’s such a departure, we’ve created a new Windows 8 version of our instructions for using Overdrive with the Winnipeg Public Library. Readers can find it (as well as our step-by-step guides for iOSAndroid and Blackberry) on the Downloadable eBooks page of our eBooks and Audiobooks guide.

OverDrive for Android

OverDrive for Android

OverDrive for Blackberry

OverDrive for Blackberry

OverDrive for iPad

OverDrive App for iPad

As I wrote above, Overdrive is the main interface for our eBooks on phones, tablets, and now computers; but how do readers with dedicated eReaders like the Kobo or Sony products borrow our eBooks? Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 eReaders come pre-loaded with an Overdrive alternative, found on the second page of the home screen and labeled “Public Library.”  We have instructions for the Sony eReaders, as well. Other eReaders need to use intermediary software called Adobe Digital Editions.

We just published a series of short video tutorials describing the process for these eReaders. The third video in the series will be of use for those using Overdrive as well.

If you’re looking for help with a specific step, here’s the playlist broken down:

Winnipeg Public Library Offers Thousands of Free eBooks:
A general introduction to eBooks
Installing Adobe Digital Editions to Transfer Free eBooks to Your eReader: 
How to install ADE on your computer so that you can transfer them to your eReader device.
Create an Adobe ID:
How to create an Adobe ID so that you can copy eBook files from one of your devices to another
Authorizing Adobe Digital Editions to Read Free eBooks from WPL: how to input your Adobe ID so that eBooks can be downloaded and transferred
Find and Download Free eBooks at the Winnipeg Public Library:
Steps to search OverDrive and then checkout & download free eBooks from WPL
Download Free eBooks from WPL to Adobe Digital Editions:
How to get your eBook from OverDrive into your eBook software so that it can be transferred 
Transfer Free eBooks from WPL from Adobe Digital Editions to your eReader:
How to move an eBook from your computer to your eReader device

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eBooks for Little Ones

As the father of two little girls in the age of Netflix and hand-me-down mobile devices, sometimes I find it challenging to pull my three-year-old away from Caillou, Madeline, and Kipper. Our TumbleBook Library has been helpful in this.

50below

TumbleBook Library features animated, read-along versions of many children’s books.  My daughter is particular fond of Robert Munsch’s performances of his books. She laughed a lot the first thirty times he read his 50 Below Zero.

Now that she’s worn the ones and zeroes on these eBooks down to their fractions, I’m planning to introduce her to the Disney Digital Books we have available on OverDrive. With her library card, she can check out 10 of these at a time and read them over and over on our computer or laptop.

For more information about these and other kinds of Online eBooks, take a look at our eBooks Guide – you may be surprised at the variety of titles you find there!

Mike

10 Interesting Things I Learned From Databases at WPL

Winnipeg Public Library pays for databases that everyone with a library card can access for free.  These databases are intended for anyone with an information need (adults and children) and they include a wealth of information  for both research and leisurely information pursuits.  Here are 10 things I learned today by accessing our databases:

ancestry

1. I was recently wondering about my heritage, and was asking my siblings if they knew what my paternal grandfather did for a living.  No-one knew, and there are very few living relatives left to ask.  I decided to check on Ancestry Plus (available in-library at all locations) and immediately located a voting list that listed my grandfather as being a millworker.  I’m now curious to do much more research on my family tree, and Ancestry Plus is a great place to start!

2. I remember seeing Husker Du at the Royal Albert Arms when I was much younger, and I was curious as to which year this concert wfpoccurred.  I checked out the Winnipeg Free Press Archives (available in-library at all locations) and discovered that they played there for 2 nights in 1984.  This also means that I went to see them at the bar before I turned 18, and this is a fact that I’ll never share with my son as he reaches his teen years!  The review of the Husker Du show was on a page that also included ads for restaurants and other businesses, many of which don’t exist any longer.  One ad is for Mother Tucker’s restaurant, and they’re advertising a sirloin steak dinner for $7.95!

3. Career Cruising is an extremely popular database that provides acareer wealth of information about various careers, educational requirements, resume building and even provides assessments to help point you in the direction of jobs and careers that would be well-suited to you.  I took the assessment out of curiousity and the results indicated that were I not currently a librarian, fields that might be well-suited to me would be lobbyist, criminologist or proofreader- interesting!  Many job counselors use Career Cruising with their clients and it’s definitely a database that’s worth checking out, whether you’re a high school student looking for career options or you’re looking to change careers.

4. We have several streaming music sites, including Naxos Music.  

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I was interested in seeing whether Naxos Music had any bellydance music, as this can be difficult to locate.  A search on Naxos Music revealed many CDs of bellydance music that could be streamed for free, and this is a database that can be accessed from home as well!

5. My son loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and I was curious about what other authors he might be interested in.  Using Novelist jacketPlus, I was able to search for these books and then click on ‘author readalikes’ and ‘series readalikes’ to discover other items he might be interested in.  Results included Gordon Korman, Tom Angleberger , Jordan Sonnenblick, Knights of the Lunch Table, Big Nate and Zombie Chasers – some good choices for my son to try.  Novelist Plus is a great resource to use for reading recommendations both for children and adults.

6. A colleague of mine is moving to Peru for a year, and I was curious to csimagelearn more about Peru.  Our database Lands and Peoples contained an article about Peru, and I learned a few things I didn’t previously know (all food-related, which means it’s close to lunchtime and I’m getting hungry!).  I discovered that most stores and businesses in the large cities close at noon and reopen at 3:00, as the mid-day meal is the largest.  The potato is a staple food in Peru and other popular dishes include anticuchos (main ingredient is beef heart) and seviche (raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juice).  Cuy (guinea pig) is also eaten in Peru, often barbecued on skewers.  As an owner of three guinea pigs named Max, Arthur and Felix, I quite hope that my colleague will not partake of cuy!

7. The Mango Languages database is an awesome resource for learning languages, and it includes a multitude of language choices.  In addition to mangoFrench, Spanish, Italian, Polish (and many others) Mango also includes Pirate.  I discovered that ‘buddy’ in Pirate is ‘me matey’ so I just might annoy everyone I know by calling them ‘me matey’ from now on.  Judging by how often Pirate is accessed on Mango, I won’t be the only one!

8. When using Consumer Health Complete, I discovered that there is untitledan actual disease called Rabbit Fever (or tularemia).  This is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by small animals such as rabbits and mice, and can be transferred by the animal or by a tick or fly bite.  If eating wild game, it should be cooked thoroughly so as not to transmit disease – so, if you’re eating rabbit, make sure you cook it thoroughly.  However, as a bunny lover who has been known to feed carrots to backyard rabbits , don’t tell me if you’re cooking up some rabbit stew!

9. In the database Columbia Granger’s Poetry database I searched for popoetry about Winnipeg, and located an absolutely lovely poem entitled Winnipeg – At Sunset, written by Emily Pauline Johnson (or Tekahionwake).  You can even listen to audio of the poem being read aloud.  My favorite stanza of this poem is:

Twilight is lingering over the rim
Of prairie and sky,
Its purple and amethyst, born in the dim
Horizon, to die.

tita10. I was curious about the Manitoba connection to the sinking of the      Titanic, and did a search on the Canadian Reference Centre database to locate articles about this.  I found an article entitled Titanic – The Manitoba Story from a journal entitled Manitoba History.  Very interesting article about local people who died in the tragedy.

Spend some time exploring Winnipeg Public Library’s databases, and you just might be surprised at the interesting things you discover!

-Theresa

New in Online eBooks: Disney Digital Books

One of the most common questions at our Children’s service desks is, “do you have any Disney books available?” Unfortunately, far too often the answer is no, there aren’t any, because they’re very popular and get checked out as soon as they’ve been returned… either that or they’re in paperback form and have started to fall apart due to too many *enthusiastic* readings.

Well, now there’s an option for anyone who goes home empty-handed: Disney Digital Books! This newest addition to our OverDrive eBooks service lets you check out Disney Digital Books from home and read them right there on your computer. Because the Disney books are browser-based, they can be enjoyed on a Windows or Mac computer, with no software or book downloads required.

A Disney Digital Book in action.

A Disney Digital Book in action.

Each book offers interactive features to enhance the user experience such as a ‘magic pen’ that pronounces words with just one click, trivia questions, and the ability to look up word definitions. Users will recognize familiar Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Disney Princesses, Hanna Montana, and more.

One thing to keep in mind when checking out Disney Digital Books is that because they’re part of our OverDrive collection, you can only have 10 titles out at any given time, assuming you do not also have other OverDrive materials out on the same card. Remember, though, everyone in your family is eligible to get their own Winnipeg Public Library card – even the kids! And if you regularly check out downloadable eBooks from OverDrive for your eReader or mobile app, you’ll want to note that the Disney Digital Books can’t be returned early – if you check them out for 21 days, they’ll be on your account for 21 days. You can set your personal default lending period by going to Account and choosing “Settings” (you can set the default lending period here for ANY of your favorite OverDrive formats – and they can all be different!).

There are over 600 Disney Digital Books to choose from, so check some out today!

-Sophie