Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Library resources online - explore your regional libraries for some amazing resources. Also, my Amazon ECHO arrived yesterday. Initial brief report.
LIBRARY RESOURCES ONLINE FOR MANY REGIONAL AREAS
I've mentioned this earlier and am updating the info -- there is a treasure that many of us have at our fingertips without realizing it -- none of my friends knew we had the access I'm describing in this updated posting although we are all somewhat heavy readers.
One day, while looking for information on something, I wanted to access Infotrac which has articles going back to 1970s or so, in full text, for participant institutions like my city library. I live in California, and the requirement for accessing my library's special online resources is California residence.
To give an example of what may be available in your area -- the Berkeley and San Francisco libraries both give its members access to databases that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for most of us. And merely as a California resident, I am able to access both. (I didn't look for others.) Many of you will have similar access in your areas.
Infotrac is one of the offerings and a more common one.
See http://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/services_and_resources/online_resources.php for an example of what is often available through public libraries in the U.S.
. I saw, on a web search, that many remote county libraries have the same access, so it's not just where a university might be.
Besides Infotrac, I clicked on one of the gazillion links that came up on my screen, this time:
This link will work only for people with a Berkeley Public Library card, even if California residence is all that's needed. A similar link should work with your own public library's link, which you can google. That'll depend on the state you're in.
Safari Books Online
To see, OTHERWISE, what Safari Books Online is like without the special public library access, here's their own site. The regular situation (without library access) -- They have a free trial, but the monthly cost is, at $39/mo. for full access to all their books (see what's included, below) in the Safari "Bookshelf" option. In this blog article, I'm describing the (free) "Library" option instead.
I have no affiliation with Safari Books Online. And, at $39/mo, or $399/yr for full access to all their books (no limit on time spent online) their regular offerings may be worth a look for any who need such books regularlyh for their work or study.
The rest of us may have, though, free public library access to what we need from that collection.
The free library access version, if your library has it, is to almost all the current major computer/technical books that I've browsed at Barnes & Noble while lamenting that I couldn't justify spending that much money, since I wanted to read so many of them. It gives access to most of the current offerings I'd browse at the store.
Included in the free Safari Books Online are O'Reilly Media, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, PeachPit Press, New Riders, Sams, que, Adobe Press, and many others.
It's all current -- books on items like Photoshop CS5, some on using Facebook :-) -- and so I tried it at the library (from home) for free to see what the various e-books are like, to read on my desktop or netbook.
These offerings are FULL TEXT and speedy online reading if you have fast Internet access. Every now and then a graphic image might not show up where it should but all the text is there as well as most of the graphic images. I did a tutorial on fixing photos from a book that normally costs $40 to buy.
I hope that most reading this will be able to find similar resources at their regional or state libraries.
Pennsylvania's Free Library of Philadelphia offers a library card for out-of-state-residents for $50/year (the link is to www.freelibrary.org/register/getcard1.cfm ). No in-person visit required in Philadelphia.
HOWEVER, while they do carry Infotrac and a myriad of other reference databases, they unfortunately don't carry Safari Online books. They DO carry Overdrive for ebooks (for those of you who don't get Overdrive for easy Kindle book public library borrowing on Whispernet and need to rely on 3M instead but would prefer the easier to use Overdrive).
My Amazon ECHO arrived today
I ordered the almost vaporware Echo in January, and it actually arrived yesterday, after I had really lost interest. But I'll report tonight on my initial explorations and I have to admit it's more fun than I had guessed. After reading in the forums about all the things that didn't work quite right at first, from the paying beta-exploration customers who nevertheless related what they did like so far, I found that most of my instructions were working well (without doing the 'training' in my voice and enunciation), after the requested almost daily feedback to the Echo team who are adding features on a regular basis. For example, lowering the volume while I'm doing something else, normally you'd say 'softer' or 'lower volume' or 'level 4' -- but I just said, naturally, "Alexa, not so loud" and it went down. It's 'learned' from customer feedback.
Word on the street now is that Amazon has positioned itself ahead of Apple, who had to stall theirs for a while, and mainstream reviewers are more delighted than they'd expected to be.
I'll blog on this tonight when I get back. It's been interesting to see my own reactions to using such an odd duck but also I was surprised at why I like certain aspects of it. A sort of weird but fun experience I'll explain later tonight.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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