18 February 2008

FAQ: questions from training sessions

I sat in on most of this morning's training, and here are some questions that came up. The first two were answered by Annie from OverDrive:
  • Where does the ISBN for a digital title come from?OverDrive uses the ISBN from the audio book on CD version of the title.
  • How can a library block the downloading of content within the library?
    If you want to block the downloading of content from within the library, please let Stephanie Chase know the IP address range of the patron facing computers and she can work with your Project Manager to enable this for you. The patrons will still be able to browse and checkout content from within the library, however they will not be able to download the actual content. If you are not able to separate patron and staff computers, OverDrive can provide you with a URL to block from within the library.
  • Who is doing the purchasing? The purchasing is done by your five-member selection committee for the entire consortium. Individual libraries are more than welcome to contribute additional funds, although titles purchased with those funds will be available to the entire consortium.
  • What about burning to cd? The majority of OverDrive's collection can be burned to cd. The ability to burn to cd is determined by the publisher of the content. Once burned to cd, the patron may keep the cds for life for their own personal use. It would be "against the rules" for the patron to upload the file to a file-sharing site or for the library to circulate the burned cds.
  • Can I "return" a book early? The downloadable audio books are checked out to a patron for a one-week period, and cannot be "checked back in" early -- the file will become unusable on the patron's computer at the end of the week-long period and available again for download. The main reason for this is digital rights management -- it prevents patrons from abusing the system.
  • What about moving the file to a mp3 player? During the check out period, the audio book file can be put on to a mp3 player -- some publishers limit the number of devices the file can be copied to (for example, to 20). Others do not. Teachers and school librarians might want to think of the implications of this for class-wide access to titles.
  • How long does the file stay on my mp3 player? With very, very few exceptions (such as a smart phone or pocket pc), mp3 players do not recognize the file expiration date. So, the audio book stays on your mp3 player until you take it off.
  • Why can't I find my favorite author? Well, the consortium might have not purchased anything by your favorite author. Or, you might have looked for the author using the method we often employ in libraries: last name, first name. The search in OverDrive is a search string, so it looks for the words in order. So, look for James Patterson instead of Patterson, James.
  • How long do I have to download the parts? You have the week-long check out period. So, you could download a part or two a day, if you wanted.
  • Can I use this on a Mac? You need a Windows-based operating system (98 second edition, ME, 2000, XP or Vista) to download the title. The digital rights management (DRM) that allows for checking items in and out uses Windows Media Player version 9 or higher. Windows Media Player for Macs is based on an older version.
Something I will check on is what permissions OverDrive has for schools. For example, could a teacher burn a copy of an audio book to cd and keep it as part of their personal classroom collection, for students to access? What are the "public performance rights" in a classroom?

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