Monday, January 28, 2013

Ghost Hunters

I've had a patron in a few times now asking about any movies (preferably documentaries) about ghosts and ghost hunting.  I'm into them as well, so aside from the regular ones (like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures etc) he was asking for, I had a few of my own suggestions.

Using both sets, and an Amazon search, I was able to scour our systems, looking for any and all movies about ghosts and ghost hunting.  Unfortunately, by the third search, we were just getting repeats, which he wasn't interested in.  I told him that I'd keep my eyes and ears open for any new ones we get in, but aside from further developing our Ghost Hunters collection (which always seem to be out), we don't have very many new ones.

Netflix, however, has at least a dozen different ghost shows.  Ghost Lab, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Files, Fact or Faked, Ghost Hunter International are just a few off the top of my head, but I've seen many, many more come across my suggestions screen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Optimal Sleep Time: Results?

I had a patron come in asking about material (not just books, but articles too) about 'Optimal Sleep Time'.  You've probably heard of this.  It's been the focus of a few studies where the result is that high schooler's do better in school when the school starts later, and kindergartners do better earlier, when the school starts early.

Unfortunately, a search (not just through several databases, but google and google scholar) of "Optimal Sleep Time" only gave me a couple results, much to my surprise.

After finding the few scant articles that specifically mentioned the words "Optimal Sleep Time" for my patron, I started to brainstorm other ways to search for the information she was looking for.

The one that got the most results?  From google and our databases?  "High school sleep", and a few variations of that.  So, after probably fifteen minutes of searching for what we'd consider the 'proper name', a few keywords pulled up more than anything.

With her second topic, I just basically ignored the 'proper name' and did a keyword search (early intervention at risk kids), and a few variations of that as well.  (Of course, that didn't have a proper name so much as the Optimal Sleep Time did).  I found her enough articles to make her very happy.

So, using the very specific isn't always a good idea, even though, logically, if you're looking for that one thing, it should be.  Go a bit broader.  Do a keyword search.  That's also how I find a lot of the obscure books that patrons ask me about.  If they don't remember much (like just a plot), a keyword search can usually get me a lot further than most anything else.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Computer Questions

Let me preface this by saying that I'm pretty good with computers.  My dad and husband both have comp. sci degrees, and I've been around them since before I can remember.  I know how to do a lot of things with and to them, and I'm pretty used to running checks etc so they stay working.

So I get a patron who asks if our wifi is down.  I tell him, no, it's still up.  He replies that he can't get into his e-mail.  I cock my head (over the phone, so he can't see the gesture) and ask him if he's in the library.

No, he's at home.  But he can't get into his e-mail.  He's just making sure that our wifi isn't down.

Upon further questioning, I find out that it's just his e-mail that's down.  He can access other websites except for his e-mail.

Now, to my knowledge, that's a problem with his e-mail.  Host, server, they're doing something.  Maybe updating, maybe it's just down.  But it happens to websites - sometimes, they go down randomly.

I tell him this, that it's a problem with his e-mail, especially if he can get into other websites.

So he wants to speak to our tech page certain name.  I shake my head and tell him that he's not here right now, but even if he were, he'd probably tell him the same thing I am.  That if he can get into other websites (which he says he can do), then it's a problem with his e-mail and there's nothing we can do.

I had another patron (a few days ago) wanting to talk to our tech guy to help retrieve his facebook password.  That he'd put in the day before.  And hadn't saved.  Now, to my knowledge, without a keylogger, there's no way to retrieve a password like that.  And our computers wipe the drives (or something like that) when they're shut down, so there's no way to retrieve the passwords.

He was very disappointed, but understood where I was coming from.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So today, I got asked a question about a murder that had taken place in '92.  Going back into our indexes for that year, I found not one or two articles, but over 3 dozen.

I copied what I thought were the most relevent off of the microfilm and called the patron back.  She wanted all of them, so I explained to her what I did and invited her (she is in the area) to come and look up all the articles she wanted.

I wrote down all the dates of the papers that had articles pertaining to the case and mailed them to her, so maybe I'll see her in a few weeks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to get Overdrive for your Kindle Fire

Go to the Playstore (or Amazon Appstore).  Search for "Overdrive".  Download the Overdrive Media Console.

When it's on your Fire, go into the settings.  To get there, it's the middle icon at the very top right.  Looks like three vertical lines. 

Put in your Adobe ID (e-mail address) and password.  If you don't have one, get one using the button for getting one.  Then put it in.

Go back to the library view.

Click on the symbol of a book at the very top right (left of the 3 icons).

Add a library.

Search for your library.  Pick the right one out of the list.  Click the star.  Click the library.

Go to the library's Overdrive page (clicking the library will take you there.)

Search for a book.

Find one.  Make sure it's Epub.  If you get the Kindle version, you can still check it out, but you have to read it through your Fire and it's a few different steps.

Check it out.  Download it.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Overdrive errors: The parameter is incorrect aka error 0x80070057

As a reference librarian, I get to deal with e-books and Overdrive a lot, if you can't tell from previous posts.

Today, I got to walk a patron through deleting her DRM folder.  First, she told me her error was "Parameters are incorrect".  From there, we found that she had Windows XP, and that it's a fairly common error.

To fix it, I googled it.  "Parameters are incorrect overdrive".  One of the first links I pulled up was this: Fixing: error 0×80070057: The parameter is incorrect for OverDrive media console .

From there, they'd posted what Overdrive tech support has posted to several people.  Below is a quote of the fix for "The parameter is incorrect".


We are sorry that your patron is having difficulty downloading OverDrive Audio Books. We think the error they are receiving can be resolved by resetting the DRM (Digital Rights Management) for Windows Media Player. Please ask the patron to perform the following steps to reset the DRM and let us know what results they get:

 1. First, please delte the DRM folder on your computer. Depending on your OS, it can be found in different locations:

* Windows 2000 and XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM
* Windows 98: C:\Windows\All Users\DRM
* Windows Millennium Edition: C:\Windows\DRM


 If you cannot find the folder, it may be ‘hidden’. Please use the following steps to view hidden files and folders.

* In Windows Explorer go to Tools > Folder Options > View
* Under ‘Hidden files and folders’ heading, make the following changes:
o Select ‘Show Hidden Files and Folders’
o Un-check ‘Hide Protected Operating System Files’
* Click the button ‘Apply to All Folders’. This will ensure the changes affect all folders on the system.


 2. Re-run the Windows Media Player Security Upgrade from the OverDrive Media Console under the ‘Tools’ menu.


3. Attempt to download an OverDrive Audio Book.


We apologize for the difficulty. Please let us know if this resolves the error or if the patron requires further assistance. Thank you.


The Library Reserve Support Team

So if anyone runs into this problem, I hope this helps.  It worked for my patron who hadn't been able to download several different e-books.

Friday, January 11, 2013

GED books? Sorry, we have none.

They seem to have grown legs and walked out.  Or somebody decided to keep them as a new pet.  Or  a way to keep their coffee table level.  Or to learn how to walk properly.

Either way, we don't have any on the shelf.  Actually, most libraries around us don't.  They seem to be the most popular book that people either like to keep or steal.

Luckily for us, we do have access to an awesome database.  You might have heard of it.  It's called the Learning Express Library.  It's not just for GED, either.

It has SAT, ACT and a few other practice tests.  It has computer tests, career tests, tests to help you remember your English lit and your history.  And a bunch of other tests.

Not just tests, either.  Just e-books and courses.  And it's free as long as your library subscribes to it.

Thankfully for all of our GED-seekers, my library does.

ETA: We had a 2005 GED book returned the other day!  No idea where it came from, but it was in such bad shape that I pulled it.

Overdrive: Kindle App vs Overdrive App

If you have a tablet or a smartphone, you have two basic choices.  You can get the Overdrive app or the Kindle app.  Which one you want depends on what you need it for.

Do you want to listen to audiobooks?  If so, then rule the Kindle app out.  It's strictly for e-books, so go with the Overdrive app (aka Overdrive Media Console).

If you're reading just e-books, then read on.

Do you have multiple libraries you're using?  If so, go with the Overdrive app.  You can add multiple libraries to the "My Library" list.  If one library doesn't have the new book you want, the other one might.

Do you already have the Kindle app and don't want to install another app?  Then stick with the Kindle app.  You'll have to use your browser (Chrome, IE etc) to get to the library's website to get the books, but you won't have to install another app.

Do you want one-stop-shopping?  Then go with the Overdrive app.  You pick what library you want to get your new book from, and it opens up right in Overdrive.  Everything, actually, is done from the Overdrive app once you get it downloaded.

The one drawback (in my mind) of the Overdrive app is that to use it the first time (to get that first book), you have to get an Adobe ID.  It's free, so don't worry about it charging your credit card.  But it's your e-mail address and a password.  You can register for one right on the Adobe website.

As for ease of use, I find the Overdrive app easier to use and more convenient.  The Kindle app is nice if I don't want to get another app, but there are a few more steps since it takes you to the Amazon store to check out the books (a marketing way of trying to get you to buy it), but it's not too bad to use once you get used to it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spelling is important & yes, I know how to research.

And knowing how to spell, as a librarian, is very important.

I had a teen come up to me asking if we had any books on fersous?  (That was about how it was pronounced.)

After a few questions on my side, she told me she really needed books on the elements.  Especially zinc and fersous.  When she said elements, I asked her if it was phosphorus.  Her eyes lit up.  Bingo!

Another variation of needing to know how to spell is authors.  Now, I don't know all authors.  That's just impossible and silly.  But knowing how to spell the most popular author names, like Clancy, Steele and Auel comes in handy when we get the questions about a new book they've put out.

The second part to this post is something that sometimes irks me.

When a patron calls up with a specific request.  Something like "I'm looking for an encyclopedia about criminals published in the 30s."

Okay.  So I do my normal searches.  Library catalot.  MeL catalog.  WorldCat.  When those three fail, I go to my backup.  Google, Abebooks and Amazon.

When those three fail, I tell the patron that I'm sorry but I can't find what he's looking for.

He proceedes to tell me "Did you try google?" "Can you search by copyright?" "Did you search in MeL by date?"

Now, like a lot of reference librarians, I went to school (graduate school) for what I'm doing.  I took classes on searching, reference, cataloging and more.  It's a rare thing when I can't find the answer to  a reference question like that - if the answer exists, more often than not, I'm going to find it because I know how to search for books.

When a patron acts like I need to be told every step to take to find a specific book he wants, it's annoying.

Like any good librarian, though, I hide my annoyance.  I tell him that while I didn't find that exact book, I found others that are newer.  They aren't what he wants, though, and he questions my searching skills.

On the other hand, I get patrons who just want me to google something for them.  Which I do happily.  Then, I pick the best two or three links that explain what they want to know.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lost & Found in a Library

In a large library, we get a lot of patrons who bring in their personal objects.  Phones, laptops, iPods, we get it all.  Glasses, hats, gloves, necklaces, we've found them all.  Wallets?  Got those, too.  Strollers?  Surprised?  We've had two name-brand, expensive strollers left behind from children's events.

What's surprising is the number of things that are turned in.  Wallets and phones; that winter coat?  We've had them all turned in to us at some point.

Sometimes, though, they go missing.  Flashdrives are a common thing for people to pocket since they're palm-sized.  Another thing that goes missing are phones.  While they're usually turned in, sometimes we'll get a phone call asking if we have one that isn't in our lost and found basket.

Weirdest thing I've found?  Someone's hoodie in the back of the stacks.

While weeding older books in the science section (500s for you DDC people), I've found flowers and leaves dried in the appropriate classification books.  Bookmarks that are old, recipes, prescriptions and notes are all pretty common things to find in older books.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Just For Fun

Three minutes before closing, we got a phone call.  Since we were still open, I answered it.

The patron wanted to know if I could tell her what movies were coming out next month.  After telling her that we were closing in just a couple minutes, I quickly tracked down the upcoming dvds in February.

I told her that there were quite a few of them, and reiterated that we were closing in three minutes.  She told me that that was all right and that she was a fast writer.

With an inner sigh, I quickly read through the list.

She replied with "I thought Skyfall was coming out then?"

I went to the next month and there was Skyfall, which I told her.  She then wanted me to read through all of the next two months (February and March.)

Still before closing, I blazed through them.  Then, she wanted April's upcomings, which weren't out yet.  After telling her that, she told me she really wanted to know the upcoming Disney dvds.

After getting to the website, the closing call came across the intercom.  I told her that we were now closed.


"You can call back tomorrow at 10 and someone will be happy to help you," I told her.


At a loss for words, I simply said, "You have a nice night" and hung up on her.

Microsoft Surface Tablet & Overdrive

The new MS tablet.  The Surface.  It can come with two different operating systems.  Weird, right?  A comparison of the hardware & specifications of Pro vs RT.  And what's worse is that they're treated different when it comes to Overdrive. 

The first is tablet based, called "Microsoft Surface RT", so to get Overdrive, you treat it like a tablet.  Get the Overdrive app and all that, from the Appstore, like you would any Android device or smartphone.  Straight from Overdrive:

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
With the OverDrive app for EPUB & MP3 and the Kindle app for Kindle Books.

So, you have to either get the Overdrive app or the Kindle app, much like any Android device.  I've used both, but I prefer the Overdrive app since you don't have to go through the Amazon website everytime you want to get an e-book.  The other great thing is that you can do both audio and e-books from the Overdrive app, so it's one-stop shopping.

Now, back to Overdrive. 

Notice how Overdrive doesn't say anything about the other Surface?  That's because if you don't have the RT, then you have the other OS.  You have the MS 8 based "Microsoft Surface 8 Pro", which is a desktop OS.

To get Overdrive on the Surface 8, you treat it like you would your desktop computer.  To do that, you get the Overdrive Media Console for Windows 8, which according to Overdrive, works on any Windows 8 device.  To get that, just go here.  You just pick your version - which would be the desktop Windows 8.

If you don't want to go through the Overdrive website, you can go right through your Windows Appsore.  Do a search for "Overdrive" or "Overdrive Media Console", both of which give you the only Overdrive app in the Windows Appstore, which is the Overdrive Media Console.  It's a free app, so download and enjoy!