Thursday, March 14, 2013

Update from eBookland

I know there's been a fair amount of radio silence from me on our eBook project.  That's because we've had our heads down, working, and figuring out some solutions to problems that have come up.  Here's where we are now, for those who are interested:

- The biggest hurdle by far has been the VuFind+ discovery layer which is designed to work with one ILS.  Since we are a consortium with members who have multiple ILS systems, this has been an issue that has required a great deal of original coding to work around.  To be honest, I don't know that VuFind+ will be the be-all-and-end-all solution for us, but for now, it's what is out there, and until you start experimenting, you don't really know what you need, so it's been worth it to make it work.  Now we are incredibly educated with it, know what we will need in the product (or a new product) moving forward, and can make some decisions based on facts and experience.

- Along with VuFind+ there have been issues with metadata from publishers; getting fields to match up, etc., and finding an automated way of doing this.  Again, it took original programming to make this work.  These two issues have kept the tech folks very busy for the past few months.

- We're continuing to work with publishers, and sign up new ones.  We're going to have a shared booth at BookExpo this year (with Douglas County and NC Live) where we hope to meet lots of new publishers who want to work with us.  So far, the methodology I'm using in approaching publishers is to go through the folks who have already worked with Kansas, or Douglas County.  You can find a list of them in the How To Do It section of the evoke site that Douglas County has put together:

- We've put $175k on deposit with Smashwords.  We're going through their catalog now to find the books that we want.  It will add tens of thousands of titles to our shared collection, given that their prices are so inexpensive.

- We've also put money on deposit with several other publishers, and spent $40,000 on a Gale reference collection.  We bought 3 of everything in the Workman catalog, and have placed other smaller orders with other publishers including Infobase.

There are lots of other things going on - like talking with Bilbary about providing the Buy it Now button, getting ready to get Boopsie involved for the app, etc.  But we've been focused on getting CCCL ready to go live, and now that we're almost there, we can start to think about some of these other plans. After CCCL, the next libraries to go live with be three other BALIS libraries (since BALIS gave us seed money): San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.  Then the State Library of Kansas will also be set up in April.  By the end of April, the hope is that those five libraries will be set up.

So just because I've been quiet, that doesn't mean we haven't had our heads down working on this.  We think we will have something ready for our members to buy into by late summer or early fall.

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