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Kindle 2: next chapter in wireless reading Friday, 3 April 2009 4:47 pm

Posted by Dongmei in e-books.
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Have you seen it?  Kindle 2 is here.  It has a sleeker design, more storage, longer battery life.  It will even read to you, if you choose so. All for $359.

Not a bad idea for a birthday?  I’d really like one for myself.

Check out more about this new version of Kindle here.

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Online access to the world’s most trusted reference collection (Oxford Reference Online) Tuesday, 9 May 2006 5:40 pm

Posted by Dongmei in biology, chemistry, databases, e-books, Library Resources, science.
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The library has purchased a collection of 14 online encyclopedias, the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf (http://www.oup.com/online/digitalreference/).  This online collection of reference books is added to the existing Oxford Reference Online from Oxford University Press.

The Oxford Reference Online collection contains over 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works.

If you go to the library's Web site (http://www.cofc.edu/~library), click on Database, then click on the letter "O", you'll see a link to the collection. (Remote access is same as other databases, you'll use your webmail username and password to bypass the proxy server).

It's really a remarkable collection. Just to list a few, it contains bilingual dictionaries (e.g. The Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (English-Latin), The Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary (English-Spanish)); World Flags, World Maps; Timeslines (e.g. For the Science Technology, and Medicine theme, there are Timelines for Inventions, Medicine, Scientists, there are also specific timelines for countries, there's also the timeline for 20th century); encyclopedias (e.g.A-Z of Countries of the World).

There are also many subject specific references: for science alone, there are 26 reference works. You can search these 26 books altogether, or search within more specific subjects (Biological Sciences, Computing, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Medicine, Physical Sciences & Mathematics). You can browse these subject areas too. Or you can choose to search within one specific reference work.
One nice feature of this database is that you can highlight any term in your search results page, click on cross-reference, and it will automatically search that term for you, and the results are broken down by subjects as well.  There are also different search strategies that you can use on the "advanced search" interface, such as "Standard search", "Pattern search" besides the usual "Boolean search".  Courious about what reference works are included in a specific subject area? click here to find out.

Shop ebrary, free online access to 20,000+ in-copyright books and more, + many cool features Monday, 3 April 2006 12:19 pm

Posted by Dongmei in e-books, Internet Resources, search engines.
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If you haven't used "Shop ebrary", you may want to try it, it's really great, and it's free (to anyone) to access and read (online) over 20,000 books from major publishers. These are in-copyright books in multiple academic and general interest subject areas, sheet music titles and reports.

A general keyword search on "stem cells" generates 5338 results, a phrase search of "stem cells" (you have to do a proximity search "stem within-1 cells") brings out 1432 titles. That's just an example. If you like travel, there are plenty of travel guidebooks in it. There are also popular titles like "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, "Light and Liberty: reflections on the pursuit of happiness" by Thomas Jefferson, edited by Eric Petersen, controvertial "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey, etc. If you love classics, there are plenty of those, like Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables".

Set up is quite easy:

1. Set up an ebrary account (with a minimum of $5.00 to view titles at any time).

2. Get ebrary Reader, the free software that allows browsing, searching, and other advanced features.

3. Search full text and view titles in the ebrary database for free. More details.

4. Create a personal Bookshelf to save your bookmarks, highlights and annotations to view whenever you return to ebrary.

5. Pay only to print pages or copy text for a small fee deducted from funds in your ebrary account (generally 25 cents/page).

Cool features (under "info tools", listed a few here):

  • look up new words in an online dictionary;
  • find a person (phone, postal, email address, biography);
  • find a place (on MapQuest, Yahoo! maps, National Geographic);
  • highlight texts in different colors;
  • with one click, you can purchase the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Gary Price has a review piece about "Shop ebrary", "A (Non-controversial) Alternative to Google Print" on Search Engine Watch; he blogged about this on the Search Engine Watch Blog as well, see "Search and Read Full Text Books Online via ebrary".
Note:
1. It seems not real, but I started this post before I went for the CIL 2006 (Computers in Libraries 2006 Conference) and get caught in other stuff after I came back … I really think people (the general public) should use this service, compared to Google Print (for online book search capabilities) and Amazon's Search Inside the Book, it allows the user to read, annotate, copy and print (for a fee, see above) the full text of books. Compared to other e-book providers(netLibrary, Books24x7, Safari Tech), its interface is clean and very easy to use, and its fully featured search technology is not just cool but powerful.

2. Our library at CofC, just got a subscrption to ebrary. I'll have another post just for that since the paid product does look a little different, and has different functions such as browse capability … …