For a long time when I talked to people about the easiest way to find e-books and e-audiobooks from the library, I admit that I would frequently recommend just skipping the Library’s online catalog. If you wanted to borrow a digital item, you would have to go to the Ohio Digital Library to find out if it was available, and then if it was, download it, or if it wasn’t, put it on hold. Then Hoopla came along, which offers another option for e-audio, so that added another site to check.
But with a recent update to the Library’s online catalog, Encore, searching for digital materials has become so much better that I encourage everyone to start their search there. (Encore is the version of the catalog that’s on the Library’s home page on the left side.) Now the catalog lists what I think are the three most important facts about digital material.
1. Is the item available?
This was always the big problem with searching for digital materials in the catalog previously. There would be a moment of elation when you discovered the library owned the e-book, only to have your joy melt away when you connected to the Ohio Digital Library and saw there were no available copies. Now you can see whether or not a digital item is available without ever leaving the Library’s catalog.
2. How long is the hold list and how many copies are there?
If an item isn’t available, I can’t help asking “How long is the hold list?” The length of the list is now available in the catalog, although a long list should never deter you from placing a hold. If enough SCDL patrons want the same item, there’s a good chance more copies will be purchased.
3. What site has the item?
When the Library added Hoopla service, a second place to find e-audiobooks opened up. But rather than checking the Ohio Digital Library and Hoopla to see if either site has the item and if it’s available (Hoopla titles are always available), that information is easy to spot in the catalog.
Of course, the other great bonus here is that for those of us who want a book so badly we don’t care if it’s e-book, hardback, paperback, CD, e-audio, or any other format that can be imagined, there’s one simple place to start looking—the Library’s catalog.