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Got Audiobooks? (Your Library Does!)

Got Audiobooks? (Your Library Does!)

elizabeth enjoying audiobooks

The library is delighted to announce that we now have audiobooks that you can check out!

Our collection, offering a range of choices for listeners age 11-18 and beyond, is with the ebooks in Overdrive. If you want to see which of our audiobooks are recommended for someone your age, check out our Pinterest board.

If you are not an audiobook devotee already, you might be wondering what there is to get excited about. Click on a cover below to take a listen to some samples from our collection and find out:

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (Gr. 8+) Full Cast Reading

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (Gr. 8+) Full Cast Reading

The Night Circus (Adult for young adult) Reader: Jim Dale

The Night Circus (Adult for young adult) Reader: Jim Dale

The Graveyard Book (Gr 5-8) Readers: Tim Dann and Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (Gr 5-8) Readers: Tim Dann and Neil Gaiman

 

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Gr. 6+) Reader: Katherine Kellgren

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy (Gr. 6+) Reader: Katherine Kellgren

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Gr. 9+) Reader: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Gr. 9+) Reader: Lin-Manuel Miranda

How It Went Down (Gr 9+) Full Cast Reading

How It Went Down (Gr 9+) Full Cast Reading

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Gr 7+) Reader: Ray Porter

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Gr 7+) Reader: Ray Porter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So check out some audiobooks today, an tell us how you enjoy experiencing books in a whole new way!

Learn how to check them out on our how-to page.

Posted in Did You Know?, Reviews & Recommendations, Cool Stuff, Technology0 Comments

Ebooks on Break!

Ebooks on Break!

Don’t forget that we have ebooks over Thanksgiving break! With almost 2000 books to choose from, you’re sure to find something to read. The library also has Slate tablets to borrow to use as e-readers over the break.

If you’ve forgotten how to use Overdrive, here’s a handy dandy comic to get you started reading on your iPad or other device!

ebooks how to comic

Click to embiggen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So head to Overdrive to get reading, or over to our ebooks page if you have more questions!

Happy break!

Posted in Technology0 Comments

Our Library, Our Community… ebooks?

Kindle-Image

Back in January, we sent out a survey to Casti students and employees to gauge their interest, familiarity, and facility with ebooks. We were curious about your thoughts and feelings as we begin to explore new options for our library collection. Don’t worry: we’re still in the thinking phase; no radical changes are imminent! We’ll keep you involved and up to date as our thinking–and the options for libraries–continue to evolve.

Our Survey Results

As you might guess, there were a lot of strong opinions! Not only was the community torn about whether or not they find ebooks valuable, but individuals were torn as well, because there are many positives and negatives when it comes to reading ebooks, as the 70% of you who read ebooks “sometimes” or “often” know. For example, you noted that while you love the portability and storage capabilities of e-readers, you miss the physical experience of turning a book’s pages and are also aware that not all books are available in ebook form.

We were pleased to see that the survey responses represented a healthy sample of adults, upper schoolers, and middle schoolers. It turns out you all have different needs and desires when it comes to ebooks. Here are some things we found out:

  • About 80% of Casti employees would like to borrow ebooks from the school library, compared with 46% of upper school respondents and 49% of middle school respondents.
  • Employees (70%) were more aware of their public library’s ebook offerings than upper schoolers (20%) or middle schoolers (24%).
  • Employees and middle schoolers more often read ebooks than upper schoolers.

Many of you told us that you either like or dislike staring at a backlit screen while reading, that you worry about battery life, or that you have trouble keeping track of your place in an ebook. Perhaps your particular app or device is not the right one for you. Here is a resource comparing tablets and e-readers that may help you determine if your reading experience might be improved by use of a different software or a different device altogether: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20009738-1/kindle-vs-nook-vs-ipad-which-e-book-reader-should-you-buy/

E-Textbooks

We also asked you your thoughts on e-textbooks. Most of you identified both pros and cons when you considered the option of using an ebook for a course instead of a physical text. For example, you said you found it more difficult to highlight and take notes if you were using an e-textbook. Both students and teachers noted that it is nice to have some dedicated non-screentime in your day, and e-textbooks would add even more.

On the other hand, e-textbooks offer enhancements not easily accessible in physical books, like interactive and multimedia content such as videos or quizzes. E-textbooks can also be updated by the publisher if new research is published or errors are found, which means you don’t have to buy a new edition of a book to know what the latest news is. Another perk is that e-textbooks are weightless (assuming you’re already carrying  a device to read them on)!

Ebooks from your Public Library

Nearly all public libraries now offer ebooks and e-audiobooks. You don’t even have to visit the physical library; all you need is your library card (and sometimes you also need to create a username and password). We can help you learn how to use the various services that public libraries utilize for checking out ebooks. (Just stop in the library and ask if you need help!) The most common platforms are OverDrive, Blio, and Axis 360. There are also third-party platforms, like DAISY and Lendle, which don’t require library cards at all. You can learn about DAISY, for vision-impaired readers, here: https://openlibrary.org/help/faq/accessing#what-is-daisy and you can join Lendle, which is only for Kindle users, here: http://lendle.me

While we will likely provide you with options for borrowing ebooks from the Castilleja Library in the future, we are still considering the best course of action. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to ebooks. Different vendors have all kinds of unexpected rules, and these rules are usually different for libraries than they are for general consumers, which is why you may find that your library does not have the titles available that you would like to borrow, even if you see them for sale online.

Another thing to know is that neither consumers nor libraries ever truly “own” an e-book, which makes some people more comfortable with analog. When you buy a print book, you own it outright and can do whatever you want with it, whether it’s lending it to a friend, writing in it, or throwing it away. Ebooks, whether for individual consumers or libraries, are only ever licensed, which means at any time a book can be edited without your consent or even your knowledge, and you may be limited to reading it on certain devices, rather than being able to continue to own an ebook once you’ve switched from Kindle to iPad, for example. Ebooks also cost more for libraries than individual consumers. To learn more about these restrictions, read the Mountain View Public Library’s excellent explanation, available here: http://www.mountainview.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=10729

If you have more questions about ebooks, feel free to contact the library. You may also be interested in the Pew Research Center’s studies on Americans’ reading habits in the digital age, available here: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/

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Your Wikipedia Questions Answered

Wikipedia. We consider it the source of all knowledge, teachers generally consider it to be an ‘unreliable source,’ and everyone acknowledges that it’s a great starting point for any research project. But how much do we really know about Wikipedia’s structure?

The Seventh Graders recently worked with the librarians and members of the seventh grade faculty during Flex Block to talk about Wikipedia, and at the end of the period they still had many unanswered questions.

Q: How was Wikipedia started? How does it make money?

A: Officially, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started Wikipedia on January 15, 2001.

The idea came up much earlier, however. Several people attempted to use the web to publish free encyclopedias, but the projects never really took off. Jimmy Wales and several collaborators had the idea that they could publish an online encyclopedia written by highly-qualified volunteers with a complex peer review process. It was called Nupedia. They hired a full-time editor-in-chief, Larry Sanger, to be in charge of the editing process. Unfortunately, the process was so slow that they only completed twelve articles in the first year. Then, they got the idea to use wiki technology to make it really fast and easy for anyone to edit.

Actually, Wikipedia is not a company. It is part of a nonprofit organization called the Wikimedia Foundation. The money to operate the Wikimedia Foundation comes from donations, especially from its users. In a fundraising statement that is showing up at the top of every Wikipedia page right now, they say their average donation is about $15. Wikimedia says that the money they raise goes to buy the technology they need to run the company, and to paying the 175 employees they now have on staff.

To learn more about the history of Wikipedia, check out the “History of Wikipedia” article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wikipedia.

Q: Wikipedia now has 175 full-time employees. What do they do? Are they employees of just Wikipedia or do they work for all the Wikimedia sites? Do they edit the articles? Do the employees get paid? Or are they just volunteers?

A: The Wikimedia Foundation’s employees and contractors work in 7 different departments: The Office of the Executive Director, Engineering and Product Development (subcategories include Platform, Features, Technical Operations, Mobile, Languages, Apps, User Experience, Editor Engagement, Product, and more), Grantmaking and Programs, Fundraising, Legal and Community Advocacy, Finance and Administration, and Human Resources. As full-time employees and contractors, they do get paid. They do not edit the articles. Most of them are employed in the Engineering and Product Design department, which generally ensures that the sites run smoothly.

(Learn more: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff)

Wikipedia does have an actual office for its employees (see the contact information below).

The education needed to work at Wikipedia varies by the type of job, but there are some jobs that only look for a Bachelor’s degree (four years of college), while others might prefer a Ph.D. or law degree. Some jobs want degrees in computer science, but others may want linguistics or business degrees, while yet other positions are not looking for any particular background. In all cases, Wikipedia wants individuals with a lot of hands-on experience with similar work.

Q: Are Wikipedia editors ever paid?

A: No. Paid editing (writing or editing on Wikipedia in return for money) was proposed to Wikipedia, but ultimately failed, as it presented a moral issue in the form of “conflict of interest”– because paid editing includes inserting or deleting content to the advantage of the editor’s employer or client.

(Learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Paid_editing_(policy) )

Q: Why are so few women editing Wikipedia?

A: You might be interested to know that the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation is, actually, a woman named Sue Gardner. On her blog, she posted a list of nine reasons why women don’t edit Wikipedia, in their own words.

Some main reasons cited are that the interface is not very user-friendly, that they are too busy, a lack of self-confidence, the feeling that the Wikipedia-verse is filled with conflict and sometimes is overtly misogynistic, and there’s also quite a bit of online sexual harrassment.

You can find the full article here: (http://suegardner.org/2011/02/19/nine-reasons-why-women-dont-edit-wikipedia-in-their-own-words/)

Q: What is Wikipedia doing to balance the gender imbalance of the editors?

A: Also from Sue Gardner’s blog– some main things Wikipedia is doing to actively encourage women to edit are: deliberately focusing recruiting efforts on women (and encouraging the current female editors to recruit other women), staging and supporting women-only activities, working to create and protect a female-friendly environment (that is, getting rid of some of the sexism that already surrounds Wikipedia), and emphasizing the social impact that editing Wikipedia can have.

Again, you can find the full article here: (http://suegardner.org/2010/11/14/unlocking-the-clubhouse-five-ways-to-encourage-women-to-edit-wikipedia/)

Q: How do wikipedia editors find topics that are not covered and ask for them to be put onto the site?

A: First: search for the topic and any related topics. If there’s absolutely nothing there, then you can create a new article. Note that only registered users (no anonymous editors) can create new articles.

Wikipedia advises against creating articles about yourself/your friends and family/ your teachers/ etc., “non-notable topics,” advertising, anything with an opinion, or any very short articles. (Wikipedia has a List of Bad Article Ideas.)

The entire process is explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Starting_an_article.

Q: How is Wikipedia making itself a more reliable source? Does Wikipedia check the edits that we make (for accuracy and appropriateness)? How does something get fixed if a user contributes something inaccurate or irrelevant? Do other users fix it? Is it not fixed at all?

A: Wikipedia places a ton of trust in its editing community, as it doesn’t require a name, login, or even an email address to edit. Surprisingly, as it turns out, we as a community have earned their trust pretty well. According to a study done by MIT, “We’ve examined many pages on Wikipedia that treat controversial topics, and have discovered that most have, in fact, been vandalized at some point in their history. But we’ve also found that vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly—so quickly that most users will never see its effects…” That is to say, yes, there are some editors wreaking havoc on Wiki pages, but they are overwhelmed by others who correct their damage almost immediately.

(Learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia)

Q: How does Wikipedia deal with disagreements among editors?

A: Disagreement among contributors can take several forms, including:

  • People may have different ideas about a topic. When different theories are well-documented and widely accepted, an article often refers to them all. Editors can find factual ways to introduce conflicting ideas. For example, scientists have a dispute over whether octopuses can learn new skills by observing others. Currently, the article explains that the “idea [that octopuses learn by observing] is disputed by some.” (Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalopod_intelligence)
  • Each article has a Talk page associated with it. On that page, editors discuss questions and controversies. Editors are encouraged to work out their conflicts on the Talk page, but anyone can click on the Talk link at the top of an article and see what discussions are taking place.If an editor undoes another editor’s work on the same page three times within 24 hours, that editor will be blocked from writing on Wikipedia. This is to keep people from switching information repeatedly to reflect their own point-of-view.
  • If a highly controversial page is being edited constantly, going back and forth among two or more points-of-view, top editors may “lock” the page–meaning most people will be unable to edit it. If you are interested, you can look at Wikipedia’s list of most frequently edited pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Most_frequently_edited_pages

Q: How can I learn more about editing Wikipedia?

A: Wikipedia offers a lot of training in how to edit. As the organization works to create high quality information, administrators create more and more guidelines and policies to keep the process working well. If you want to learn more about editing Wikipedia (Simple or “regular”), you can start on the main Help:Editing page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing

Q: Where are Wikipedia’s headquarters located?

A: The Wikimedia Foundation is located in San Francisco. They welcome letters, emails, and faxes, and you can find contact information here: http:/wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Contact_us.

Q: What country has the most Wikipedia editors?

Most editors (20%) live in the US, followed by Germany (12%) and Russia (7%).

Researched and Written by Libby B. (’14) with some updates by Ms. Bergson-Michelson.

Posted in Did You Know?, Student Work, Technology0 Comments

5 minutes of time-saving tips from NY Times technology columnist David Pogue

Posted in Video, Technology0 Comments

Choosing Privacy: Who’s Tracking You?

 

May 1st to May 7th , 2013 is Choose Privacy week.  The purpose of Choose Privacy Week is to raise awareness about privacy rights in this digital age. The American Library Association established Choose Privacy Week in 2010. This year they invite everyone to answer the question “Who’s tracking you?” In this technological era, our personal information is easy to access. Every time you search online or make an online purchase, a traceable record is kept. Government agencies also have the power to track your phone calls, airline travel and online purchases. The legal system has lagged behind in updating any privacy laws concerning privacy online. The government’s last major privacy law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, was passed in 1986.

Choose Privacy Week believes that everyone should have the right to know who is collecting his or her information. “People who understand how personal data is generated, collected, stored, and used are better equipped to take control of their personal data and demand accountability from the agencies and corporations that store and use their information,” says Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Choose Privacy week will feature a week-long online forum with an introduction by Barbara Jones. Guest Commentators will include Khaliah Barns of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Mitra Ebadolahi of the ACLU National Security Project and many more.

For more information please visit: http://chooseprivacyweek.org/ or inquire in your library!

By Norma R. ’14

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