Monday, September 22, 2014

Manage Your Holds on ODL

Few things about the library are quite as handy as being able to place a hold on an item you want that is currently checked out. A friend, or a friendly librarian, recommends a couple new authors and mentions a particularly interesting new book, so you log onto the Ohio Digital Library ASAP to start reading them. Sadly, too many other people have heard good things about these books, too, so there are no available copies. You place holds on all of them, eager for them to start arriving.

And just when work is the busiest, you’re leaving town to visit your in-laws', and the leaves need raked, all three books you placed on hold arrive at the same moment.

Happens. Every. Time.

But no more! Now you can freeze the holds you place with the Ohio Digital Library, just like you can freeze the holds you place for physical items from SCDL. You keep your place on the hold list, but the hold isn’t actually filled until you’re ready for the item. And best of all, it’s simple.

After you’ve placed an item on hold, go to your account (the icon that looks like a person) and select Holds. Selecting Options next to an item reveals several new features. (You should check them all out!) One of these options is Suspend hold.

Use the drop-down menu to choose to suspend your hold for 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, or 90 days. Click Submit, and you’re done. In other words, you can prevent your hold from coming in for two weeks until you’re done with that presentation at work, or an entire month, because your mother decided to extend her visit. Or have it hold off for a week while you read that other hold that just came in.

So manage your holds so you never again have to bemoan the fact that the books you really want to read only show up when you can’t read them.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Ohio Digital Library—Streaming Video

The Ohio Digital Library has long provided streaming video, but to be blunt, I haven’t bothered looking for anything to watch on the site in ages because the selection wasn’t very good. Yet I couldn’t help but notice as I scrolled down the home page the other day that the selection has  improved. There are Oscar winners from recent years, such as The King’s Speech, The Iron Lady, and Django Unchained. There are television shows, individual episodes and complete seasons, ranging from Highlander to Sesame Street. The collection is still small, but it’s becoming something worth checking out.

And speaking of checking out, the process for video works just like books. Search or browse for video the same as you always have for books. When you find something you like, click on the cover. ODL has recently updated the look of what happens when you click a cover for all its items, including books and video. Select Sample, find out more about the title, add it to your wish list by clicking the ribbon, or click Borrow (or Place a Hold if unavailable).  
Find the item you want, then... the cover to see the Borrow button.

As always, the item appears in the Bookshelf. To watch the video, just click Play (Streaming Video).

OverDrive, the company that supplies the items available at ODL, says that: “Streaming video is available on any device with a modern web browser and an internet connection. Specific titles may require the OverDrive app on Android and iOS.” On my Windows 8.1 laptop using Internet Explorer 11, the video popped right up in a new tab, no problems, no extra downloads necessary. As with most streaming video, moving the mouse or swiping near the bottom of the screen reveals a menu with options to Play/Pause, open Closed Caption, open in Full Screen, and adjust Volume.

A few odds and ends

Watch checkout lengths. You can set the default as long as 7 days, but other items are limited by the copyright holders to only 48 hours, sometimes even for complete seasons of TV shows.

After clicking Play, the option to return the title disappears from the bookshelf.

ODL does not save your place. If the browser is closed in the middle of a movie, when Play (Streaming Video) is selected again in the bookshelf, the movie starts over. More disappointing, ODL does not keep track of which episodes have been watched.