Making ebooks “findable”

With the Hunger Games craze that has hit the 5th graders (and their younger siblings), I have often been asked about the Hunger Game trilogy in the catalog that is only available on one set of the Nooks, while one copy of the first Hunger Games book is available in print.  The catalog records make the books appear to be “in,” and there’s been some confusion for students when they are not on the shelf with the print book.  Even with the MARC records showing what we have, students have trouble finding it…and furthermore, they often give up if they can’t find it on the first try.

When I was in library school, I was assigned to read Peter Morville’s “Ambient Findability,” and the basic point was that everything (digital or print) is “findable” from anywhere if a person has the right equipment and skills.  In that vein, making something easier to find and use is the key to patrons using the library’s services.  I’m sure that’s a gross over-simplification of the book, but that was my takeaway.

I thought of that reading today, when I read this blog post on how to make ebooks findable in a physical library collection.  It’s a simple, cheap, and brilliant idea. I honestly never thought of using “dummy” placemarkers for ebooks on the library shelves, though I use empty video cases for placemarkers for both Playways and Nooks.  I don’t have enough weeded videos to produce cases for all of the ebooks on the Nooks, nor do I have the shelf space.  What I do have is extra plastic “book lookers” or shelf markers that I am going to repurpose.  The benefit is that it makes ebooks easier to browse along with the physical collection.

I like the idea of QR codes to link to the catalog record, and I might add them.  Students currently aren’t allowed to bring cell phones or iPods, though there are plans for that next year at the secondary schools.  No word on the elementaries yet.  Still, it might be a good way to plan for future use.  I’ll post photos and documents when I get a few done.

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Mrs. J in the Library

Collette J., or Mrs. J in the Library, is a full-time elementary teacher-librarian, blogger, and mama from Pennsylvania. She loves technology, books in any format, makerspaces, and all things Harry Potter. The information and opinions represented here are her own and are not the views and opinions of any business or organization.

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