The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte

Library Services on the Treo 600

These are all of the databases to which I have access as a Homer Library patron, SLS employee, and Illinois resident. I'm testing all of them on my Treo 600 to see how well they work in this shifted world.

Ancestry Plus 

EBSCOhost Masterfile
I was pleasantly surprised to see that EBSCOhost works well on a Treo 600. I was able to search for items (including using limiters), view the results, "add to folder" (which meant I could save them during the session), view an HTML full text document or a PDF, and even translate an HTML document into French or Spanish. I was also able to email myself the full text of articles, which is pretty cool. A pleasure to use, EM gets 9 out of 10 stars.

Like EBSCOhost, FirstSearch works surprising well on such a small screen and for this type of connection. I was able to search all of the databases, view full text results, and even make an interlibrary loan request. Navigation could be a tad smoother, but overall I was impressed. Overall, I give the experience 9 out of 10 stars.


Grolier Online

HAL is my home library's online catalog, and it's run on Sirsi's iBistro software. I was able to search the database, view results, and view the details for a particular item, and place a hold, but the interface could be a little confusing and it could use a little streamlining. However, iBistro has a lot of nice features, including pictures of book jackets and "My iBistro," and I was able to use all of the ones that I tried. One smart thing my library did was put their phone number at the top of each page, and with the Treo I can just click on the number to call them if I have a question. I give HAL 8 out of 10, although I'd bump it up to a 9 if they streamline the interface a little.

I am very happy to say that ListenIllinois works quite well on the Treo. I can view the jacket covers, read descriptions, add items to my "book basket," and view my "book basket." I was pretty sure it would work well because it's a fairly standard web site built on  ColdFusion, and I was right. Thank heavens. I give it 10 stars out of 10, but then, I'm more than a little biased.  ;-)


The first few netLibrary screens render pretty well on the Treo, and I was able to run searches fairly easily and view the results. I could see jacket covers and send an email with details about the book, but I couldn't actually read any of the titles. The frames completely throw off Blazer, and I couldn't even navigate within the book's pages. Needless to say, I am very disappointed, and I hope they figure out a way to offer an offline reader for Palms to remedy this. Of course, open ebook standards without ridiculous DRM would help here, too. Overall, I give the experience 3 of out 10 stars.


NoveList is an EBSCOhost service, so I was surprised to run into problems using it. I was able to search for a specific book, view the results, read the reviews, and even follow a link to look it up in SWAN. However, for some strange reason, I was unable to email the title's record to myself. I could fill out the form's fields, but the "Send" button just wouldn't work. In fact, actions that are displayed as a button didn't seem to work in general (as opposed to links displayed as a button, which did work), so I couldn't "Find Similar Books" either, which was a big disappointment. I could still view series names, read-alikes, biographies, discussion guides, and all of the services that are straightforward links. However, because the "find similar books" feature is one of the most important features of this database, I give NoveList 6 out of 10 stars. If they change the links from images to text so that they start working, I'd raise the rating to a 9.

PDR Electronic Library


Reference USA

SIRS Knowledge Source

This is my organization's consortial catalog, run by Innovative Interfaces software. The first thing I noticed was that the images don't display at all. I'm unsure why that is, but my guess is that it has something to do with the Innovative directory paths. Luckily, we used ALT tags for the images, so I was still able to run searches and navigate through the screens. I was able to do a keyword search and narrow it by format and even request an interlibrary loan. I was also able to authenticate through to netLibrary. Overall, I give the experience 8 out of 10 stars. If we can figure out the images problem, I'd raise that to a 9.

Virtual Illinois Catalog

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