Magazine article Information Today

Summertime Blues

Magazine article Information Today

Summertime Blues

Article excerpt

My friend Sheri told me that her daughter Kelsey, who was about to graduate from high school, had a severe case of senioritis. It's been 25 years since my senior year of high school, but I know exactly how Kelsey felt.

It's summer. I want to be doing anything but what falls under the heading of work (writing this column, cleaning the house, pulling weeds, paying bills). I want to be outside, walking barefoot in the cool grass, gazing up at the dusky sky as the first stars start to twinkle, reclining in my well-worn beach chair, half sleeping, half reading, listening to the ocean (or a Hugh Jackman CD), content as I can be. While I know I'll have time to do all of this during the next 3 months, for now I need to buckle down, take care of business, and give you some good reading suggestions from the July/August issues of Computers in Libraries, The CyberSkeptic's Guide to Internet Research, ONLINE, and Searcher. They just might come in handy for your summer enjoyment.

Here, Hear

Digital audiobooks (DABs) are a hot commodity these days, and not just because the temperatures are rising in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you work in a library setting and want to find out more about how DABs may serve patron needs or you just want more information for your personal use, check out "An Overview of Digital Audiobooks for Libraries" (CIL, pp. 6-8, 45-48) by Tom Peters, Lori Bell, Diana Brawley Sussman, and Sharon Ruda.

The article focuses on four main North American suppliers of DABs: Audible.com (http://audible.com), OverDrive (http://overdrive.com), netLibrary and Recorded Books (http://www.oclc.org/audiobooks/default.htm), and Tumble Books (which has two offerings): TumbleBooks.com (http://www.tumblebooks.com) and TumbleTalkingBooks (http://tumbletalkingbooks.com).

A chart on page 46 of the issue compares usage model (how many users can be accommodated at one time), file format (MP3-based, Windows Media Audio, etc.), supported devices, and collection size. The article also highlights a few other services, including Project Gutenberg's Audio eBooks (http://www.gutenberg.org/audio) and Telltale Weekly (http://www.telltaleweekly.org).

The authors end the piece by making recommendations for this still-new industry. They address issues such as the user-pricing model, early return options (which are basically nonexistent at the moment), variable speed playback, style versus usability, the iPod-DAB incompatibility impasse, and sound quality.

Museums Across America

Want to visit hundreds of museums throughout the country without having to spend any money on gas? Well, you're in luck. While checking out the American Association of Museums site (http://www.aam-us.org), CyberSelection columnist Susanne Bjorner found the Museums in the USA portal (http://www.museumca.org/usa), which serves as a gateway to more than 1,400 American museums of all kinds (CyberSkeptic's, pp. 1-3).

There are three ways to browse the museum pages: alphabetically, by state, and by type. The last is Bjorner's personal favorite, as it groups museums in primary focus areas (art, children, history, miscellaneous, etc.). Visitors are encouraged to browse through the What's New button, which shows recent database entries, and Top Sites, which lists 41 museums organized by category. A search link enables searching via museum name, keyword, or content area. Bjorner said that while the site is well-conceived and designed, its lack of editing and updating frequently results in an unacceptable number of dead links, which could mean that you'll run into more than a few cyberspace dead ends. …

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