Sunday, June 26, 2011

App How-To: EBSCOhost iPhone/ iPod Touch app

If you access EBSCOhost resources regularly, you might want to give this EBSCOhost app a try (even if you don't it's still worth giving this a spin if you own an Apple mobile device).

It's compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (though, the design/ app display size is more for the iPhone and iPod Touch than the iPad).

NOTE: After you've installed the app on your iPhone or iPad, you can't use it right away. You have to obtain and activate an Authentication Key from the EBSCOhost database page, which has to be done via logging into the library's eresources website. It seems you do this step once and it's valid for 9 months. It's also valid only for the individual database, which means you have to do the same authentication process for each of the EBSCOhost that you want to access via the App

Ebscohost iPhone app

Here's a step-by-step guide (btw, the steps were done via my iPad):

Download the app from the App Store (keyword search "ebscohost").

After installing the app, there's a few more preparatory steps. You need to obtain and activate the authentication key (if not, you won't see any menu options on the app).

To get the key, you first login to in order to get to an EBSOhost database (I'm assuming you've already signed up for a digital library account, or you're registered as a NLB library member. The site's How To section has details of how to sign up/ access the resources).

After logging in, browse through the database listings and click on the EBSCOhost database you prefer. The list is in alphabetical order, so you've to scroll the page to entries starting with "E".
eResources - National Library Board, Singapore

In this example, I clicked on an EBSCOhost database called "MAS Ultra - Public Library Editition". On the database page, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the link "EBSCOhost iPhone/ iPod Touch Application":

You will be prompted to enter your email address, where the authentication link will be sent.

The authentication mail looks like this. Follow the instructions (the link has to be accessed via your iPhone/ iPod Touch/ iPad).

After that, you're done. When you open the EBSCOhost app, the menu appears.

Under the Settings option, I can specify the databases I'd like to access (note: you have to repeat the authentication process for every individual database. But

You can specify what results to display (e.g. show you full-text articles only, or filter by date ranges):

To search for articles, you type your keywords (there's no Advanced Search option in this app, but you can filter the results under the Settings option, as explained above)

Results are displayed like this.

The default display is by articles that the system deems as most relevant based on the keywords. In the above screenshot, the first article was published in 2006. is You can display the most recent articles by tapping on the Date tab (the following screen now shows the first listed article published in 2011).

READING (on and offline)
Tapping on the displayed article title brings you to a screen like this. It gives you the abstract, the link to save the article to your mobile device, or download the PDF or email.

Scrolling down the page shows information like the author, article source, subject headings, database name (tapping on them does an automatic search and display, based on those links):

When I tapped on the PDF icon, the app starts to download the PDF document:

The PDF document shows the scanned article, with all other contextual information (e.g. sidebar, ads) preserved on the page.

The display can be expanded by dragging. But the display window is definitely not as large as the iPad, so reading the PDF was a bit tedious (the app works on an iPad but resolution tends to become grainy when enlarged).

I was able to access my saved articles from the "Saved" tab.

The saved articles can be read off-line, which was great. When I disconnected from my WIFI, the app says as much.

The NLB libraries subscribes to the EBSCOhost databases, which you can access at

There are 14 EBSCOhost databases, out of which 11 are accessible from home (and hence via the app). The 11 are:
  3. EBSCOHost Funk & Wagnall's new world encyclopedia
  4. EBSCOHost kids search
  5. EBSCOHost MAS ultra : public library edition
  6. EBSCOHost MasterFILE premier
  7. EBSCOHost military and government collection
  8. EBSCOHost novelist
  9. EBSCOHost primary search
  10. EBSCOHost regional business news
  11. EBSCOHost searchasaurus

Of the 11, the ones in bold are accessible via the EBSCOhost app (at least, it's listed in the app).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

What others shared: Their ideas on ideas on using social media as part of library services for Children or Teens

[From this earlier post]

Thanks for the responses, people!

"We are having our teen advisory groups make videos that we post on blogs, facebook and Twitter. I am sure thus isn't anything new though." ~ Jessica, who works for Seattle Public Library.

[I quickly commented that it wasn't necessary to be new or earth shaking. Being consistent and being genuine in engaging customers were more important]

"you can make them post impressions of what they read on facebook. It helps to introduce others to particular books and rate them. When I go to the library, I see shelves of books that might not be good to read rather than shelves of books that may be good to read. Maybe if there is a rating system using social media, it might help." ~ This was from my band-buddy, Adrian (a teacher and a biologist). I think his comment about "seeing shelves of books that I might not like to read" was something worth looking into.

"Maybe this is already done. Set up target group specific twitter alerts. For example for pre-school kids, encourage parents to follow "twitter tots" for updates on bks suitable for their kids" ~ From Mui Lin, an ex-colleague of mine and now a stay-at-home mommy. She also adds:

"I'm a SAHM, am planning to set up a book club in the online forum that I'm a member. What prompted me to do this is I'm stressed out looking after my 3 young kids and want to reach out to other parents who love to read. We do not need to meet and can share anytime of the day :). Not sure how it will work out or if anyone will join" [I think she should just give it a go! :)]

"Make facebook friendly. You have almost the entire population of kids on facebook (short of a couple of non-facebookers). Tag a discussion board to the end of the listing and allow posting by people. Policing the discussion boards would be a challenge but I don't see how technology can't overcome it." ~ from Say Hong. [Hmm... nice idea; the online catalogue is probably the most visited page/ site of the library so it makes a lot of sense to make it more social]

how would you use social media to service children and/ or teens, in the context of library services?

What's interesting for me was that in all their ideas, there's a strong social element and about people-to-people-to-content connections. There's also implied or explicit roles for the librarians.

It's also about simplicity.

It's definitely less about the tech.

Thanks again, people!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tools don't make change. People do.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was re-quoted some years down the line:
Social media is like a hammer is a tool...

"Social media tools in themselves can bring about change no more than a hammer can in itself build a house." ~ @ShelIsrael

It was from Shel, as part of an email conversation we had some weeks back. Just briefly about social media and social/ political change.

I liked Shel's quote so much I just had to tweet it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Your ideas on "Using social media as part of library services for Children or Teens"

Question to librarians (or people who use library services): how would you use social media to serve children and/ or teens?

I've been invited to speak at the 5th International Symposium on library services for children and young adults, in South Korea. Several weeks back, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from the organiser (the National Library For Children and Young Adults) that they wanted me to present a condensed version of the "Web 2.0 and Library Services for Young Adults: An Introduction for librarians".

I'll share more of what I intend to talk/ present, in subsequent posts.

For now, I thought I'd ask the above question. I'm interested in examples or just ideas (they don't have to be earthshaking ones), to be featured in my presentation.

P.s. Let me know how you would like to be quoted in my presentation (if I do cite your idea/ comment).