Reading Rolling Stone (and other titles) on your device

RollingStoneDo you read magazines? Do you wish you could read popular magazines on your computer, tablet or phone?
Flipster is a digital magazine service provided courtesy of the SCLS libraries. Flipster can be accessed online using a computer or mobile device. Offline viewing is available via the Flipster app for iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets.

Help using Flipster can be found in EBSCO's Flipster User Guide or, if you prefer videos, in these EBSCO videos on YouTube. SCLS Director Martha VanPelt also shared information about Flipster in this 5-min spot on CW57's "Talk of the Town."

Promoting Flipster
You can find Flipster promotional materials on the SCLS website. You can also link to Flipster using this URL which goes through SCLS authentication:

If there are certain titles you'd like to promote, you can link to those too.  The key is to be sure to use the URL that goes through SCLS authentication.  Here's how to find it:

  1. Search for the Flipster title in LINKcat (searching for "Flipster" should bring up all Flipster titles)
  2. Click on the desired title
  3. On the details page, right-click the "Click here to access" link and copy the URL/link/shortcut (different browsers use different terminology) 
  4. Paste the link you copied into your tweet, Facebook status update, email, etc.

An example
I'd like to promote People magazine in Flipster. I did a LINKcat search for "people flipster" which took me right to the record.


Right-clicking on the "Click here to access online" link and copying the URL gives me this:  Because the URL is going through the SCLS authentication script, patrons inside the library will go straight into Flipster, and patrons outside the library will be prompted for their barcode to access the subscription.
Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) is currently conducting a survey for the public about digital magazines to help in guiding the development of Wisconsin's Digital Library. Please continue on with the survey regardless of whether you have or have not used digital magazines, as you still have valuable information to share. The survey will take less than 10 min. to complete and is available through March 9th.

Digitization/Oral History Interest Survey Results

Recently we surveyed SCLS member libraries about a topic that is getting attention*: digitizing materials and collecting community members' oral histories. With 25 SCLS member libraries providing substantive responses, the survey had a response rate of 47% and included libraries from all counties in SCLS.

Screen shot of survey summary resultsFindings in brief:

  • 92% believe it would be somewhat to very useful for SCLS to provide equipment to digitize historic print materials and/or capture oral histories.
  • A more detailed summary of survey responses is available.

Printed Materials:

  • 92% are somewhat to very interested in digitizing local printed media.
  • Photographs were the type of print material with the greatest number of respondents indicating a strong interest in digitizing (18).
  • For each aspect of the printed material digitization project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with equipment needed by the greatest number (20).

Oral Histories:

  • 80% are somewhat to very interested in interviewing community members to gather oral histories.
  • For each aspect of the oral history project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with audio editing software needed by the greatest number (18).

Thank you to all the library staff who completed the survey! SCLS staff will use this feedback as we plan future programs and services.

* For example, Wisconsin is joining the Digital Public Library of America, WPLC has a work group on Collaborative Digitization, there was a full-day digitization workshop offered at WiLSWorld 2015, and it's been discussed by SCLS's Library Innovation Subcommittee and Digital Content Work Group. (And those examples are just from sources I monitor consistently. What else am I missing?)

EBSCO Explora

By June 30th, EBSCO's new Explora interfaces will replace Searchasaurus, Kids Search and Student Research Center. The three new interfaces (Explora for Elementary Schools, Explora for Middle & High Schools, and Explora for Everyone) use the same great EBSCO databases, just displayed in a new and improved interface. They are accessible through the SCLS EBSCO account, courtesy of BadgerLink.

Explora for Elementary Schools
Explora for Elementary Schools is the replacement for Searchasaurus and Kids Search and features colorful pictures and school subject categories for easy browsing. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Explora for Middle & High Schools
Explora for Middle and High Schools is the replacement for Kids Search and Student Research Center and features an easy to use interface and updated functionality like the cite button. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Explora for Everyone
Explora for Everyone is a new interface for the general public that simultaneously searches 20 EBSCO databases for an easy one stop search. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Learn more about Explora in this short YouTube video (3:20):

more SLP

The first 2 of Jean's posts to help you develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers) are available:

  • Ancestry Library - Get the low-down on this fantastic genealogy resource!
  • NoveList - Learn more about the ultimate Readers Advisory tool for all ages and genres!

Each post includes an overview of the online resource, a short exercise to become more familiar with it, and a 3-4 question quiz (optional) to check your work. There are also links to additional training materials should you want to explore the resource even more -- for example, the Ancestry Library resources mentioned in the post included everything from their online Learning Center to "5 Minute Finds" YouTube tutorials to hour-long SCLS training webinars.

Ancestry Library is one of my favorites. I love to pull up the original census records and see who was living in the household, how old they were, where they were born, their occupations and more. Later in the summer, Jean will also cover another of my favorites, NewspaperARCHIVE, which is a another great genealogy resource. Combine these with the new SCLS slide and photo scanning kit and think of what genealogy fun you could have!

Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!

New Digital content web page available

You have a volunteer willing to digitize your library's historical photos. A patron donates a treasure trove of historical materials to the library and you would like to preserve these materials and make them available through digitization. But where do you put the digitized files? How do you make them available to the public? 

To help libraries answer these questions, SCLS has created a Digital Content resources web page that includes brief overviews of affordable hosting options such as OverDrive Local Content and Recollection Wisconsin. We'll continue to update the page as new resources become available.

What's the status?

This post was first run in 2009. It is being re-run with minor updates to reflect services that have changed.

Technology doesn't always have to be super complicated. Sometimes the best technology projects are very simple. A great example of this is the SCLS status wiki. This web page allows you to see which SCLS technology services have known issues in almost real time.  You can view this page from any computer, that's right any computer!  (not just a PC on the SCLS network)Crutches

Here is a list of some of the SCLS technology services that might have updates on the SCLS status wiki:

  • Koha
  • Library Online
  • SCLS network
  • Web services
  • OverDrive and other online resources
Let's look at a real world example

The first one will be before you knew about the SCLS status wiki and the second after you started using the SCLS status wiki.


You are sitting at your desk and a coworker says they can't access OverDrive. You spring into action...

Before the SCLS status page

...and in a panic you sprint towards the nearest computer, but on the way you trip and twist your ankle. Down but not out, you crawl to the computer and see that OverDrive is indeed not working. With tears in your eyes, you fumble for the phone and call the Help Desk. After all that, you get a busy signal because everyone else is calling at the same time. Battered and broken, you sit on the floor defeated.

After the SCLS status page

...and calmly open your Internet browser, navigate to the SCLS status wiki see that OverDrive is down.  You also see that SCLS staff are working quickly to resolve the problem. Relaxed and comfortable, you sip on your morning coffee and realize what a beautiful day it is.

Can you really afford not to check the SCLS status wiki?

LibraryReads and NoveList

I've written briefly about LibraryReads here before and just finished the top pick for April, At the Water's Library_reads_logo_websiteEdge by Sara Gruen last week (and I agree with it being top pick). If you haven't used LibraryReads (or Edelweiss or NetGalley to access digital Advance Review Copies) yet, I highly encourage you to give it a try. 

Last week, I learned that NoveList, my favorite database, has made it much easier to find LibraryReads books by giving us several ways to find them. This post from the NoveList blog explains in much better detail than I can here. I'm adding these tips to my upcoming database training programs (contact me if you want to know more).

P.S. I'm currently reading Badlands by C.J. Box which comes out on July 28, 2015. 

Pointing at LINKcat: Redux


Earlier this week, Kerri posted regarding how to link to library databases through the SCLS patron authentication system.

That article also pointed to an earlier article about the venerable (but retired) LINKcat URL Scrubber, whose links in turn redirected to the Scrubber's replacement, the LINKcat Link Advisor. Some folks tell me that this should be an Adviser, while Wikipedia tells me that advisor and adviser are "etymological twin cognates" (i.e., they mean the same thing).

Suffice to say that there are often different ways of labeling or pointing at a thing, particularly online. These ways are often completely interchangeable, and what does it really matter, so long as you get to where you want to go?

Well, the bottom line is that things do change, and on the web at an unrelenting pace. This means that some ways of pointing at a thing may suddenly become obsolete, such that if you were to follow that kind of pointer, you would not get to where you wanted to go.

This is where the LINKcat Link Advisor comes in. By creating a pointer that is canonical (scientifically speaking, having standardized coordinates), we can help ensure that this way of pointing at LINKcat will endure, even through sweeping changes. If your library website links to LINKcat, but you are not using the Advisor and its cousin the LINKcat Launcher, such changes could be a nasty surprise (and may be coming soon to a catalog near you).

After the Liblime Koha code branches for public libraries and academic libraries are merged, it is entirely likely that LINKcat will have an all-new URL scheme, a.k.a. an application programming interface (API). Pointers that use the old API syntax could (and probably will) fail to point at the desired target. Yet pointers that use the Launcher (the canonical way of pointing at LINKcat) will continue to work after the API migration. Why? Because the Launcher has its very own API, which we control.

Instead of ending the old way of pointing after Liblime Koha changes, the SCLS Launcher's local API will evolve to encompass and adapt to the new Liblime API, while still supporting backward compatibility. Old style Launcher links will automagically transform to the correct new form, and we will all still get to where we want to go. Learn more in the Link Advisor FAQ.

Linking to databases

Want to recommend Flipster or another electronic resource to your patrons? You can link to it! But be careful that you link to it through our authentication scripts (instead of directly to the resource) to make sure patrons will be able to access the resource from home as well as from in the the library.



Find the URL for a resource: Electronic_Resources

  1. Navigate to the SCLS Online Resources by Name page. There are 3 tabs: system-wide resources, locally-subscribed resources, and "What is Home Library?".
  2. Find the resource to which you'd like to link.*
  3. Right-click on the link to the resource and select either "Copy shortcut" (IE), "Copy link address" (Chrome), or "Copy Link Location" (Firefox).
  4. Use the URL you copied to create your link.

In our Flipster example, the URL for Flipster that goes through the authentication script is .

Happy linking!

*If you're linking to a BadgerLink resource, please give BadgerLink credit. Ex. "Access to this resource is provided as part of the BadgerLink project."