06 August 2009

Notes from the Recorded Books training on 8/4

For those of you participating in the Recorded Books (RB) downloadable audio book project, here are my notes from the Tuesday training with Joe Levy.

The collection:
  • has 2,000 titles exclusive to RB
  • all titles are always available/multi-user, which means no holds
  • contains two core collections: adult, which includes Modern Scholar titles, and contains about 1900 titles; and children's and YA, which includes almost 800 titles
  • 830 of the adult titles are iPod-compatible; just over 250 of the children's/YA titles are iPod compatible
  • every month, 15 new adult titles and 5 new children's titles are added at no charge; these titles are of course multi-user, but are not iPod compatible
  • the GMLC will have to purchase additional iPod compatible titles for the available pool to grow (ie, the cost of purchasing these titles is not included in your 2009 fee)
  • titles in the RB collection cannot be burned to cd
  • titles are segmented into one hour parts to aid those downloading on dial-up (although a high speed connection is recommended)
  • patrons may check out up to 10 titles at a time, and these titles remain useable for 3 weeks. During those three weeks, you may renew the title. Unlike Listen Up! Vermont, the audio book will no longer play after three weeks regardless of whether it is on your computer or you have transferred it to a portable mp3 player.
Joe recommends doing the following three things to ensure success for the collection:
  • Put the MARC records into your ILS (if automated) -- these are available in the Box.net widget (connect to the folder directly at http://www.box.net/shared/4u74hy4w8w)
  • Get your staff on board with the service -- make sure everyone has tried downloading a title
  • Promote, promote, promote. Hang up posters, hand out bookmarks, put an icon on your home page, put a press release in the paper... Listen Up! subscribers should make sure to let their downloadable audio patrons know about both services. Promotional materials are available in the Box.net widget at http://www.box.net/shared/yc7mlchi8d and directly on the RB site. Those who attended trainings should have received some posters and bookmarks.
The main point of access through at least the end of 2009 is at http://gmlc.wordpress.com/recorded-books/. Scroll down, and you will see a link for each participating library. Each library has a unique referrer URL as part of the patron authentication piece; copy this URL and put up an icon on your library home page and a listing in your online resources to bring your patrons directly to where they sign in.

Patrons will have to enter their library barcode or patron ID -- this was the range of numbers you reported to Chris Kirby.

In January 2010, when the two downloadable audio services are bundled, we will likely have one main page for patrons to access both services easily. Stay tuned!

There are two ways to download:
  • Directly off the web site. Once your patron has put in their patron number, they will be taken to the main One Click page. From here, they can choose "eAudiobooks" and can browse by subject or search by keyword, title, author, etc as well as by the length of the audiobook (handy for folks going on trips!) and by format (WMA = not iPod, mp3 = all players, including iPod).
  • Using the new media center. Please let your patrons know that downloading and setting up the media center can take up to 45 minutes, depending on the number of Windows operating system updates that need to be done. The new player is compatible only with Windows, XP and above. Joe expects a Mac version sometime in the near future (6 months?). Once the media center is downloaded, patrons can go directly to that piece of software on their computer, skipping the website.
In the media center, patrons can manage their experience using the "My Stuff" menu, where they can store favorites (ie, create a list of things they would like to listen to) and see what's out.

As with anything, the key to success for your patrons is the comfort level of your own staff. Practice!

I will also draw up in the next week or so a small handout for staff and patrons on the differences between OverDrive and Recorded Books. I will post it at the blog when done.

Does anyone have other tips they picked up at their training? Be sure to post them in the comments below. And give a hearty thanks to Joe Levy and Chris Kirby at the Ilsley Public Library for all of their hard work, and to David Clark at Ilsley and Jerry Carbone at the Brooks Memorial for hosting trainings.

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