Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Info Book Media Tools - Library 101

If you intend to be a library worker you need to know how to view, download and save an electronic text files, Adobe .pdf files or how to find and listen to an audio recordings.

Hey, I'm In It For the Books. Why Do I Need To Know This Stuff?

Define "book?" This is not a trick question. Traditionally there was a physical, tangible object made of paper and ink called a book. It was and is a delivery device used to convey ideas, stories, methods and instructions. A mighty fine delivery device.

However, it is not the only way to deliver content. A book can now be:
  • An electronic text file that can be read on-line or through a e-book reader and some media players. For example, if you wanted to read a book in the text format you could visit Project Gutenberg to search, download and read books that are in the Public Domain.
  • In the Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) that can represent book-like feature but allows you to search, annotate and electronically highlight sections. .pdf files are printer friendly and can be sent via e-mail, downloadable via the Internet or compose your own book for distribution. Planet PDF has free books for download such as Anna Karenina, A Tale of Two Cities and Beyond Good and Evil.
  • An audio file book can be delivered via vinyl records, cassettes, proprietary audio formats (Audible.com) or in computer audio formats such as .mp3, FLAC, .wav, aiff and other electronic audio fomats. Computer audio formats can be listened to on-line, played back on certain CD/DVD players or from a media players such as Apple's iPod/iTouch, Windows Zune, Creative's Zen and many more. One place to find free audio books is LibriVox. I can personally vouch for The Prisoner of Zenda.
For example, you are assigned in the library computer lab. You are siting at the desk all alone on a Saturday afternoon and the tech staff is long gone. A patron comes up to you saying "I want to download Parallel Systems: The Coexistence of Subject Cataloging and Folksonomy" and save it on my USB drive. Could you help that person?

Or, you are asked to find an audio copy of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" Can you find a legal public domain version in the mp3 format? Could you also find other audio versions performed by professional actors that the patron might want to know about?

To Get You Started:

Try the recommended links and view the web sites. Now if you do this at a public library or even at PCC there may be restrictions on what you can view, download or save to an alternate device.

Some libraries will allow you to save to a USB drive but not to the computer's hard drive. Other will temporarily allow downloading to the computer's hard drive but the user needs to know how to transfer to the USB drive. Ask the staff or read the computer lab policy first.

When searching remember, it is not just about Google. Try Ask.com, Hakia and SearchMe.

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