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Archive for April, 2014

For this Thing, I tried out Wattpad and Free Books.

Wattpad:
I’m going to sound like a huge snob here, but the fact that this is mostly user-created content is a personal turnoff for me. I did create an account, and I downloaded a few stories, and I will read them. Reading a book that has gone through traditional publishing avenues is of course no guarantee of “quality” or promise that it will be “good,” but I do know that I have a completed product–stories can be posted here before they are finished. But on the other hand, having an online community where writers can post their work-in-progress and get feedback form readers and critiques from other writers is invaluable. So depending on what you want out of this, it might very well work.

On the technical side of things, I didn’t like the interface very much; it’s not very browseable; there are carousels with thumbnails in each section, but there are only a few titles displayed, and getting to the search option is quite clunky. The classification of books into categories is also somewhat idiosyncratic. Final verdict: It *looks* good, but doesn’t quite perform as desired.

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Free Books:
This is much more up my alley, and I will probably keep it. I like how things are organized, the categories make sense to me, I can choose how results are displayed, and it’s much easier to find things. In short, it makes my OCD happy.

While I certainly can get public domain books through Amazon or Apple, they can be annoyingly difficult to track down; this has them already arranged nicely for me, ready to go. Yes, there are occasional ads, but they aren’t very intrusive. And since I need more books like I need a hole in my head, I will of course download a bunch of books. That I will read. Someday. Final verdict: for my reading needs, this is the clear winner.

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Both the library system where I work and the library system that I am a resident of have mobile apps. I do use them on occasion, but truthfully I find them to be buggy enough that I usually just go directly to the websites to do my library business. I do use the apps if I suddenly need to renew something while I’m out on the town…who am I kidding, this has never happened.

I understand why libraries are using third-party apps for their mobile presence, but much like I wish libraries were able to design and maintain their own catalogs and websites, I realize it just isn’t possible given staff and budget limitations. Sigh.

My very favorite thing about the ELM site is that it is a responsive design. (I wish all websites were responsive design.) Many of the databases in ELM I have access to already, but there are a few gems that I forget are there, until someone needs something exceptionally specific for a school project. CAMIO is probably my favorite, because I like that it’s a visual database. Several other databases do have visuals in them, but you have to know how to find them; CAMIO is all visuals, all the time.

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Duck-Shaped Vessel

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