Ebook access

Until the Boreham Library LibGuide for using ebooks, under new management, is restored, the following links are available:

Get a free Adobe ID here.

Adobe Digital Editions is available for free from here. This is for Windows or Macs.

For Android or iOS (Apple iPhones, iPads), you can use Bluefire from the app store for your device.



Whole Earth Catalog

Alternet has a post on one of my long-time favorites: The Whole Earth Catalog. I got every one of these as they came out, including the Whole Earth Epilog. Amazing concept and surprisingly effective execution. Catalogs for a better future.

Popular DVD collection

[updated 2018.6.21, 2018.8.22]

So for anybody who wants the real nitty-gritty manual, it’s here.

We cut the Audio-Visual budget this year (2018-2019), but split it differently. Half goes to streaming videos from Alexander Street, and the rest is being selected (suggestions invited) by one of the librarians (not me, but instead, the one who is much more heavily into film).

5000 fingers of Dr. T

DVD cover

Including an old favorite of mine (see the picture). Gotta love a Dr. Seuss-authored flick, right?

The above is also an example of one of many special cases.

Briefly, we put out the cover and case, and create an insert for another case with the actual disc(s), which is kept behind Circulation. Bring the cover case to the desk, we find the actual case to check out, and put the case on the shelf in its place to signify it is not available. I’m using a long-time favorite program for printing barcodes and inserts, Wasp Labeler (now version 7). [note: I have no compensation from the software company, but I’ve used their program for years and really recommend it]

tl;dr for the longer version:

If there is a digital version, we have to cover that information up. Borrowers don’t own the disc and therefore are not entitled to download it.

[updated versions using landscape printed version as of 2018.8.22]

If there is a DVD and a Blu-ray version, I have to have two circulating cases. The Blu-ray has a special format:


We have color-blind staff who need something not color-coded to make it obvious. The DVD version, of course, has none of the Blu-ray indicators.


The vertical line is the fold line, to wrap the insert around. The blank area to the right at the top is for a label with the barcode.

A spine label is put on the display container instead, to link it back to the location of the circulating case on the shelf.

Using landscape allows me to put some of the description (provided it is already in the record) on the case that goes home with patrons.

All the feature films are 791.4372, all the TV shows are 791.4572, and otherwise they are by regular Dewey call numbers.

Sounds fairly simple, until you get into it. I have a list of my labx insert and related Wasp Labeler formats (which may vary from this over time):

DVD cover formats

And this doesn’t cover everything. I still have to modify these as I go along, for things like number of discs.

DVDlburayvariable2discs is for Blu-rays with 2 discs in the container, for example.

DVDset_televisionSEASON is for the sets of TV show seasons.

The important thing is, the fewer things I have to change, the less likely it is that mistakes are made. I discovered that early on.

And for the 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T I had to use the DVDvariablecoverLASER to copy a regular cover to use for the display container, because it came with others in a boxed set of Stanley Kramer films. You should see the 14 titles (plus bonus disc!) which I had to make up for the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection (and no, we’re not going to lend 15 discs at once just because they came in a boxed set at a better price). For many of those, since the display container would not otherwise have a description of the movie, I’ve started to add one from the notes in the bib record.

Titles: some of these are not in English. Since not all of our staff (me included) have the various languages, I adjust the 245 field to what’s on the container. Therefore, Black girl was originally (in the record) as La noire de … . Consider trying to teach all our student workers how to understand (if not actually pronounce) titles in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese… I did mention our selector is heavily into film, right? So, I cheat to make it easier on the people doing the retrieving from the stacks, not to mention the patrons.

And other stuff.

I use pink pages for DVD and blue for Blu-ray inserts. (It’s gray for some of us either way, but between that and the Blu-ray logos, it works out.) We use our regular label format to print barcodes/spine labels ( manual here ) which produces two barcodes and a spine label once we assign barcodes to item records.

I have the Cutter and date in a separate field from the Dewey part of the call number. That way, I only have to change that most of the time, as long as I have the proper insert format. Then I change the titles and whatever else, and the OCLC number. For TV seasons, I separate the Cutter and date, and just change the date, season number, and as needed, the OCLC number. I’ve adjusted the season numbers in the 245 title field so it reads digitally (“the complete 1st season”) with the alternate in a 246 field (“the complete first season”) so in the catalog, the display sorts more conveniently.

Necessity, as the saying goes, is a mother. But we are handling it and have developed a routine, which is what it’s all about for Tech Services.


GDPR so far

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a lot of my emailers sending me notices. So far, I’ve been able to get off several elists which never produced any usable links.

That’s not what I expected when this went into effect, but, you know: serendipity.

[serendipity: finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for]

Passwords to go?

(updated 2018.5.10)

ZDNet has a post on how Microsoft is working to eliminate passwords.

“For Microsoft, multi-factor authentication and biometrics is seen as a good replacement for passwords — using a physical key, and/or your face or fingerprint to log into your device instead of a string of letters and numbers.”

So, we have yet another “key” (more like a USB plug) on our key rings, to forget and leave behind someplace plugged into the computer. I work in a library – do you know how often people forget USB flash drives?  Often, despite our warnings.  Some people should just give up and buy a retractable key ring reel for their belt.

Or we have our faces, which have already been counterfeited with photos (and if your photo i.d. is stolen from online, how do you change your face?!?!).

And there’s fingerprints. Better enter all of them, because if you have a bandage on them (oops! hot object!), it’s useless. And the same problem as faces – even easier to counterfeit (does your smartphone sense real flesh? Mine can be fooled with a stylus) and your fingerprints are impossible to replace if stolen from online storage.

This might not be the answer for a while, yet.  Keep working, Microsoft.


Oh, I see the browsers are doing this.

“That’s thanks to an emerging W3C standard called Web Authentication or WebAuthn, which is enabled by default in Firefox 60 and is coming later this month to Chrome 67, and Microsoft Edge. It’s also under consideration for Safari.

By removing passwords, the WebAuthn API will make phishing attacks a lot harder and gives users more convenient authentication choices, including hardware security key dongles such as a YubiKey device, fingerprint readers on smartphones, or facial-recognition systems like the iPhone X’s Face ID.”

I don’t have a dongle, and my staff computer has no camera or touch screen. So the Firefox 60 I just updated to wants me to start logging in to sync all the stuff I can’t use.

No, thanks, at this point.

Windows Updates gripe

Rant mode = ON.

So ZDNet has a post saying we should not disable automatic updates.

At least they admit that vendors make it problematic.

Here’s what I’m talking about: last week I had to write a check to a plumber and print it on my computer, since that is how I handle that.

What would I have done, if at that moment, Windows 10 had decided it needed a half hour or so to do updates, like it or not? It wouldn’t be the first time that I booted up and found the system was going to stall me while it did something like that. Just a few days later, it did exactly that – fortunately, I wasn’t in a rush then. But still…

The post says “Ideally – and I know I’m asking a lot here – patches shouldn’t require a reboot, or reboots should only be done when absolutely necessary. And ideally, if a reboot is required the operating system should return to the state it was prior to the reboot, complete with whatever apps and documents that were open.” That’s far too weak a requirement!

THAT’S what bugs me right now — I have no control over this when it requires a reboot. That’s obstructive as well as irritating.

Now, I am pretty good about getting updates. And the ones which don’t require a reboot install themselves. But this business of forcing a delay while working up to it is a pain in the fundament!

Until Microsoft and other vendors can find a way to avoid that, they are going to have people looking for ways to disable updates in order to avoid the interruption.

Mind you, I am okay with shutting down and THEN having the computer delay while it works on updating; I can walk away and let it do that and then shut down.

But this tactic of forcing you to wait during bootup is not just a pain, it can actually delay critical work. What if I’m trying to write a check for a service person standing there? (“Just wait a fifteen minutes for the update to complete, and I can charge you another $89 labor on top of the existing bill.”) What if I’m trying to lock the library doors with an app since it’s a snow day, or some other emergency, and the doors will pop open before the update is finished tying up my computer? Come up with your own rush matters, and it’s easy to see how this system is not functional.

Updates will be more popular when they become less obstructive.

Rant mode = OFF.

Amazon, billing, and shooting feet

(updated 2017.5.17, 2017.8.9)

For those who are boycotting Amazon for other reasons, you may skip this.

I feel I have to use a cost-effective vendor, despite other factors. Up until recently, Amazon has worked well for us. People could make up lists, share them with me, I could use those to create orders, I could use a credit card which saves me from doing as many Requisitions/Purchase Order approvals myself, and it used to be pretty straightforward. They had a huge number of items in stock and accounted for when orders would arrive, for the most part.

Then, they shot themselves in the foot. Maybe both feet.

It’s not just me. I’m hearing (from a competitor, granted) that a number of libraries are dropping Amazon, at least as a primary vendor. (The competitor normally handles academic libraries, but now has public libraries asking them for service. The traditional wholesalers have changed and reduced a lot in the last few years.)

It seems we are going to have to join the exodus, and it’s not political or other high-minded reasons; it’s pure bookkeeping practices.

Amazon has become non-cost-effective, due to their new credit card charging methodology. This has been going on for several months, but it’s become, frankly, untenable.

Lemme ‘splain this. (tl;dr*)

Amazon has taken to combining charges from their Printable Order Summary.

amazon For example, you see multiple charges on here. The total will be $276.17.

However, despite what it says on the page, that IS NOT WHAT AMAZON CHARGES to the credit card.

The Order Summary has three shipments listed, for $105.61, $37.16, and $133.40.

They add up to $276.17, true. But this IS NOT WHAT AMAZON CHARGES to the credit card.

Look at the summary of charges at the bottom of the Order Summary. Not the same as the shipments.

Now combine them to get the actual charges on the credit card statement.

$14.99 plus 79.84 = 94.83, and the rest add up to 181.34. We were actually charged $94.83 and $181.34. The total is still $276.17. We haven’t been treated dishonestly as far as the amount charged; only in how it was actually stated on their (digital) paperwork.

However, the only one of those charges on the order summary for a shipment matches $37.16 for the middle shipment of three on the Order Summary. And that one was combined with others to get a charge of $181.34 on the credit card. The amounts on here do not match the shipments or the credit card charges.

$105.61 and $37.16 and $133.40 (the amounts on the shipments in the Order Summary), cannot be combined to get the two charges on the card, and yet those book titles are on this order.


To sum up: The charges listed as charged to the card on the Printable Order Summary DO NOT MATCH WHAT IS ON THE CARD CHARGES: 14.99, 79.84, 90.62, 37.16, 53.56 are NOT charged; $94.83 and $181.34 are charged for these books. Where does it say that? On the spreadsheet.


Spreadsheet? Yes, I managed to get a customer service person for corporate accounts on the phone (their people are usually fine to deal with but are stuck with this). They now have a spreadsheet that you can download (not listed, at this time, among all the services they show for accounts). I was sent a special link to it. Then I have to download it. Then I have to go searching. The spreadsheet has columns out to AE (over 30). This, apparently, is a kludge made available for all the squalling customers demanding to know what charges equal what.

First, you find the total amount (in this example, 276.17). Then you slide over (about a page and a half of columns) to see how it’s broken down to — not the charges they claim on here — the actual charges on the card (94.83 and 181.34). This is the only place where they tell me what they are actually charging to the card, so I have no regular packing slip/invoice/order summary to show my receiving person or my business office or the state auditors. How are we expected to match the shipments and charges up to what is on the credit card statement, without a research project to decipher this spreadsheet?

Aside from this spreadsheet, I have nothing to show my people here or the state auditors, who want specific amounts that match. The only comfort I can take is that this is going on all over campus, and probably all over the state and nation. So at least the state auditors cannot blame just our library.

Now, I understand that Amazon is probably having to adjust their bookkeeping so they can pay the new taxes that states have been demanding they begin to charge (and starting March 1, here in Arkansas) but we already pay that on our own. I suspect this may have something to do with how they handle bookkeeping for that, or maybe an attempt to reduce credit card fees by reducing the number of transactions. I can allow for changes.

End Result

BUT: you cannot do business this way. It takes far too much time for the customers to account for this, and it does not correspond to any acceptable accounting procedure to claim you made these charges when you actually made those charges, even if they add up the same on the spreadsheet. Spreadsheets, especially ones like this, are not intended to substitute for proper customer notices — spreadsheets are primarily for internal use, and cannot substitute for showing correct amounts on the (digital or print) paperwork. The additional time it takes to track all this down is just dirty icing on a very unpleasant cake (pardon the unappetizing metaphor). The fact that it is not technically dishonest in the amount being paid does not excuse the appearance of something being off, somewhere.

We’ll still use Amazon for creating want lists, but I never used those just for ordering via Amazon in the first place, if I wanted prebinding, or a complete set of a multi-volume set. Rush items can still go through, or items from associates (which are somewhat more likely, but not always, to end up on separate shipments/charges), or anything only Amazon seems to have. I may try shifting back to a personal account to see if that works better, but the customer service person thought it was all going to be the same. The bulk of the business they once got from us is going to have to move to somebody else, at least until they straighten this out.

Amazon is welcome to contact me to explain, correct, show me an easier method, or whatever, assuming anyone there ever reads blogs like this. I’ll be happy to post corrections or recommended methods (working or otherwise, from my point of view).

Update as of May 17, 2017:

The higher ed rep for Amazon has been in contact several times now, and agrees with the need to fix this. He’s been working at his end.

He called today with the discovery that the information we need does exist and if you want to burrow down some, it can be found, with some limitations. Thanks go also to his colleague – she found a way to dig this out from the screen.

On the printable Order Summary, go down to the bottom:






Click on the link for “To view the status of your order, return to Order Summary.” That sounds like it would just loop you around to where you came from, which is why I never used it (and the rep didn’t expect it either), but instead you get this:









Okay, now click on the Transactions link under the address.






AHA! The long-missing actual charge amounts that were not visible (except in the cockamamie spreadsheet).

Click on the amount you want, and get:








There, finally, is the list of titles that went on the actual charge made on the card for $94.83. Ta and da!

Of course, as I pointed out, we really need a subtotal for each shipment as well, and ALL of this needs to be out front, easy to find, preferably on the Order Summary. Instead of the charges listed as being charged, which are not actually being charged.

The main point is, the information is there and already, for the most part, extracted – they just didn’t make it easy to find and the link terminology is vague. That means, IMHO, that it should be possible to pull that out, with some reprogramming, and put it on the Order Summary so we can provide that to our people for reconciliation with the credit card statement.

The wheel that squeaketh doth receive greasing.

Oh, and BTW: the more places that complain about this, instead of just quietly changing vendors, the more push we have to get this fixed at Amazon. SPEAK UP! The phone for the corporate accounts at Amazon is 866-216-1072 (if you are on a business account). Call and gripe!

I also lost them some more business today with a potential new account (juvenile correctional facility) that wanted a source for buying books. They have to account to the state auditors as well, so I had to warn them off dealing with Amazon right now. Which I, of course, reported to the rep as additional ammo for doing something about this. Squeak, squeak!

Update 2017.8.9

Amazon has updated their view to make this a bit easier.

Click on the Order link in the email and you now get:







Below the shipping address is the “Transactions” link which takes you to the actual credit card charges.








Compare the actual Transactions to the Order amount to see what Amazon is really charging on the card.

In this example, they match. For larger orders/shipments, that may or may not be true, but this makes it more convenient to tell, at least. I will give Amazon that.

I’ve had no other information from Amazon; I just noticed this when I tried an actual order. I don’t know if they are matching Transactions to shipments or whatever.


*tl;dr means Too Long, Don’t Read unless you want to.