[Libs-Or] Overdrive / library2go website updated on November 18 - what do you think?

Liz Paulus LizP at wccls.org
Wed Nov 24 18:59:09 PST 2010

Hi to all -

If you or your patrons are users of Library2Go and use mobile devices
(Apple iOS, Android or Windows Mobile products), you will want to be
aware of a recent web site update that changes patron options in a
significant way. See details below, including the update announcement
from November 18th. If you or your patrons have comments about these new
interface changes, please forward your comments to your representative
for the Oregon Digital Library Consortium or to Overdrive directly. 

Thanks to Lorie Vik for tracking down the announcement of the change.
My opinion (and it's no one else's) and response to the changes are
listed below. It's a bit long; please forgive. 

Thanks for your attention, thanks to the ODLC crew for their work with
Library2Go, and for all you do for Oregon library patrons every day. 

Liz Paulus
Reference Librarian / Cedar Mill Community Library
lizp at wccls.org

Summary of changes (mine)
The good news: mobile device users can no longer download products that
they can't use e.g. iOS and Android users see only MP3 downloads.
Windows 7 Mobile users get to see WMAs and Videos in addition to MP3s.

The bad news: those same users can no longer see all the content (no
videos, no ebooks). In addition, all Advanced Search options have been
removed, so no "what's in now?" or Subject searches to help narrow what
you really want.

As a patron, I'm bummed because I can't browse all content, put stuff on
my wish list, or place holds on their website *only because I choose to
surf the web using an iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad or [name your
device])*. As a librarian, I'm appalled that I have to explain to my
iPhone-wielding patron, "I'm sorry sir, you'll have to step over here to
log into an Internet computer to see everything that's available". I
want Advanced Search back just for the "what's in now?" feature!

It's possible that Overdrive is planning to return this functionality in
the new apps due late in December, but it seems unlikely. The demo
videos don't really offer any evidence to the contrary and Overdrive is
not offering details.

I'm not happy about these changes to their website, and I'm pretty sure
I'm not alone.Take a look and see what you think. Thanks for reading.

Announcement from Overdrive through ContentReserve (Overdrive service)

November 18: Mobile Versions of Library Websites Have Been Re-launched!

As previewed, as of November 18, OverDrive has re-launched the Mobile
Versions of Library Websites. This is a step in a series of efforts to
improve your patrons' download media experience.
With this redesign, when a user visits your mobile site, their mobile
operating system (OS) is detected and the site displays only titles
compatible with their OS. While Android(r), iPhone(r), & Blackberry(r)
users see only MP3 titles featured on the home page & in search results,
Windows Mobile(r) users also see WMA Audiobooks, Music, & Video
supported on their device.

Similarly, the Help page only displays information relevant to the
user's OS. The OverDrive Media Console download button in the footer
also changes based on OS. This means that with a single click, users now
link to install the OMC version that is right for their device.
An image-rich interface makes the site more intuitive & easier to
navigate on touchscreens, while title discoverability is enhanced with
simplified searching and browing.
While these changes improve the mobile experience immediately, they also
pave the way for the early December launches of mobile versions of
OverDrive Media Console for Android(r) & iPhone(r) with EPUB eBook
support. These builds also include a new 'Get Books' feature--helping
users find your mobile Virtual Branch from OMC. Click here to experience
a sneak peek at OMC for iPhone v2.0<http://bit.ly/bpJV1f>!
(end of Overdrive announcement)
You can see the "mobile-only" site at:

Try searching for something in this mobile interface (say, "ebook
Patterson"), and see the error message you get:

"There may be titles that match your search that cannot be downloaded on
this device. Visit this site on a computer; many titles can be
downloaded to computers and then transferred to devices."  

This is a big change from Overdrive's previous mobile site, which at
least offered the Advanced Search which meant you could "shop" for audio
content, ebooks and video from your phone/iPod/iPad, place holds and
otherwise surf almost like a full desktop computer. Overdrive has been
asked, repeatedly, to add a simple "View Standard Site" or "Full Site"
link at the bottom of the mobile site for those that want to use all the
features of the main site. Now, they have taken away access to Advanced
Search as well with no recourse to a Full Site link. 

There's a workaround of course: you can access the full library2go
website on your handheld directly via this URL:

However, Overdrive didn't tell us that; a savvy librarian figured it out
and passed it on.

Yours in better interface design and access for users,

Liz Paulus

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