Library Adds OverDrive to Digital Collections

The library is thrilled to announce that we are now providing access to OverDrive e-books and audiobooks courtesy of the Massachusetts SAILS network of libraries. OverDrive offers thousands of popular fiction and nonfiction titles that can be accessed on a variety of devices via web browser or app.

OverDrive offers many features that make it a welcome addition to our collection. With this service, we’re now able to offer a much wider range of popular and leisure titles, including magazines and children’s materials. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? OverDrive offers curated reading lists and intuitive searching by keyword, subject, or availability. And if we don’t have what you’re looking for, you can recommend a purchase within the OverDrive app.

Perhaps the best feature of OverDrive is that you can read books or listen to audiobooks on a variety of devices, including Nooks and iPads/iPhones. OverDrive also integrates seamlessly with Amazon for Kindle users. While you can access OverDrive via web browser, your experience is optimized when using either of the OverDrive apps. The Libby app makes it easy to switch between multiple library collections if you are also using e-books and audiobooks at your local public library, while the classic OverDrive app includes some features that are not yet available in the Libby app, such as streaming video and recommendations, as well as compatibility with Kindle Fire, mp3 players, and screen readers. Either app will allow you to read or listen to your loans, as well as manage your account.

OverDrive homepage

It’s important to note that we lease a limited number of copies of each digital title, which means that there may be a wait list for popular titles, just like with print books. Fortunately, OverDrive makes it easy to place holds and build wish lists with just a click of a button, and if a hold becomes available before you’re ready to read it, you can postpone your hold until a later time.

Because titles and availability are subject to change without notice and copies of individual titles are limited, OverDrive is not considered an appropriate resource for course materials. Materials available via OverDrive are also not listed in Scholar OneSearch, as titles are not permanent additions to our collection. Please contact your department’s subject librarian with questions about access to assigned course materials.

When you’re ready to explore our new OverDrive offerings, go to sails.overdrive.com, where you’ll be asked to select Northeastern University as your home library and then provide your MyNEU credentials. For more help, see our e-book reference guide or ask a librarian.

Happy reading!

Open Access Week event: Open Textbooks and Flat World Knowledge – Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Join us on Thursday, October 27, at 10:30 a.m. in 90 Snell Library for a presentation on open textbooks. Michael Boezi, editorial director of Flat World Knowledge, the leading commercial publisher of open textbooks, will speak on “Keeping Education Accessible: The Textbook Affordability Crisis and Emerging Open Solutions.” High textbook prices increasingly challenge the mission of many institutions to provide affordable, quality education. The emerging trend of open content is reshaping the publishing landscape, allowing for the rise of new business models that:
  1. significantly reduce the cost of high-quality learning materials, and thereby the overall cost of education;
  2. meet the growing demand for alternate, flexible formats that keep pace with the different ways we consume information; and
  3. provide authors with a forward-looking compensation model.
Boezi will discuss the emerging trend of open content, examining the advantages (and challenges) of “open” as it relates to textbooks, as well as the economic, social, and technology drivers that are transforming education and propelling the growth of free, low-cost, and open alternatives to expensive, traditional college textbooks. Refreshments will be served. For a full schedule of our Open Access Week events, visit our News & Events page.

Lots More E-Books!

In my last post about the availability of the 2010 Springer E-Book collection, I outlined some of the advantages of e-books over the print — 24/7 multi-user access, support for distance users, powerful and granular searching, suitability for reserve, and more. To expand our e-book offerings, we’ve now leased access to a core collection of over 50,000 e-books from the past several years — a collection called Academic Complete and hosted on the ebrary e-book site. We’re providing this collection on a trial basis this year to see how well the titles are used and to gather feedback from you. The Academic Complete collection is multidisciplinary, covering a variety of subject areas in the humanities, social sciences, business, medicine, and science, and offers a large number of titles from leading academic publishers. Over half of the collection dates from 2004 and later. Special features include: * Powerful searching across all of the e-books or all e-books in specific discipline areas * Complete full-text searching, including indexes and tables of contents * Ability to navigate directly to your highlighted search results within a title * Ability to browse through a book, or to navigate via the table of contents or index * Ability to browse titles by discipline and drill down to specific subject areas * Automatic generation of citations and persistent links to titles, chapters, and individual pages * Ability to add highlighting and notes to text and save in your personal online bookshelf * Convenient printing and copying * Easy export of information to EndNote or RefWorks citation managers * Text-to-speech and other accessibility features You can go directly to the ebrary site to search or browse this collection. You’ll also find the individual titles listed in NuCat. By the way, on the main search or advanced search screens in NuCat, did you know that you can now limit searches to e-books only? Instead of “View Entire Collection,” simply select “Ebooks.” I hope you enjoy using our new e-book collection. Your comments are welcome and important to us; you can comment on this post, contact your subject librarian, or you can reach me any time at a.aaron@neu.edu.

Kaplan Providing Free E-book Downloads through January 17

Want free test prep books for your e-reader? Head over to Kaplan to download your choice from 130 e-books from now through January 17th. They are yours to keep and will not expire! E-readers supported include Kindle, Nook, iPad, iTouch, iPhone, and Sony eReader.

E-books Making It Harder to Meet (and Judge) People?

I just read an interesting piece in the online magazine Slate in which the author is lamenting the rise of e-books for a very specific reason: he thinks it will make it harder to meet people and form impressions of them or get to know them because we can’t see what they’re reading. Check out the article. The author, Mark Oppenheimer, notes that he enjoys looking around on the subway to see what books people are reading, and that he has learned more about people he was dating by observing the books on their shelves. If everyone on the train is carrying a Kindle or a Nook, and books on apartment shelves vanish in favor of an iPad on the coffee table, he fears, we’ll lose out on one of the best conversation-starters around. What do you think? Is this an unforeseen drawback to the e-book revolution? Or is Oppenheimer worrying too much?