Thursday, December 29, 2011

3M Cloud eBook System

Website for the 3M Cloud – Desktop apps, instructions, etc.

Can check out 10 books at a time.

All books are EPUB.  In talks with Amazon to include Kindle.

The readers are not renewable, not holdable, and not floating. Can only check out one at a time.  Should be returned where checked out. 

Books are checked out only when they’re downloaded.  Until then they’re only reserved – patron has the exclusive right to download them, but if a title doesn’t get downloaded within a certain time period (which can be set by SPPL), it goes back into the library and someone else can reserve it.

The 3M Cloud Library communicates with patrons through Messages to the patron’s account.  When patrons log in at the Discovery Station or an app, they get a notification that there’s a message waiting. Messages might include hold notices or something library-generated. Currently there’s no email option – the only patron data 3M stores is what is needed to query the patron database successfully; they don’t want to store anything else.  3M’s long-term plan is to come up with a system where they’d work with the library’s ILS and have the ILS contact patrons through standard library channels. A short-term fix might be to let patrons opt in for emails from 3M and provide an email address.

This is a beta, meaning 3M are looking for feedback so they can tweak and improve the system.  Please be generous with your constructive opinions. Send feedback to

SPPL’s Digital Library
The store has Channels, Lists, Categories, Search, and My Books.
  • My Books shows what you have on your digital bookshelf – what you have reserved and what you have checked out.
  • Channels are library-determined – newly added, popular, etc.  Some are automatically populated from our stats, some can be filled manually. 
  • Lists show the channels in vertical list format as opposed to the horizontal ribbons of Channels. 
  • Categories organize our books by subject. 
  • Search … lets you search.  There is an option to only search for items that are available.

SPPL has the option of having the titles shown to include the entire 3M Cloud Library inventory or just what we own.  The entire inventory option gives patrons the Add to Wish List option that’s basically a request for purchase.  We can view the stats and use that data for purchasing decisions.  SPPL has chosen to show the complete inventory.  So patrons will see titles that SPPL does not own and are not available for check out. They will be clearly marked.

Click on the cover of a book to access its record.  If the green Check-Out bar is there, you can check out the title by clicking on the bar.  If it says Add to Queue, you can place a hold on it.  SPPL will set a length of time for items to be held for a patron.

The collection currently has a 90% overlap with Overdrive.  The other 10% are small publishers and 3M is working on adding them to their library.  3M is almost finished with the contract process with a large publisher Overdrive does not have access to, and that only beta users (that’s us) will have access to.  They’re also in talks with Penguin.

There are apps for Android and Apple smart devices available now through the respective official app stores.  There will be computer apps – for PC soon – they’re working out bugs - and Mac eventually, available through the 3M Library website.

The apps ask for your state, your library, and whatever basic info 3M needs to verify with the patron database – name and library card #.   You only have to provide this information once, after that it’s part of the app’s settings and is automatically applied on checkout.  These settings stay the same until deliberately changed.

You can have 5 devices per ID, and one ID at a time per app. 

You can return books early through My Books. Go to My Books in list view and you can choose from Continue Reading or Check In. My books is also where you select a book to read.

The apps will sync with the cloud and retain bookmarks, notes, and your place in a book.  If there’s no internet connectivity, there’s no syncing.  Notes and bookmarks stay in your account after you return the title.

The computer apps allow you to transfer a book to a reader via USB.  The other apps won’t. 

You can download 3M titles to any EPUB reader using the computer apps.  The software used in the library only allows downloads to the 3M readers.

You do need the Sony Library software on your computer to download books to a Sony reader.  3M is working on bypassing that.

The 3M apps only manage 3M books, not other EPUBs.

Discovery Station and Download Station
The 3M station has a scanner where patron can scan their barcode.

There’s a consistent interface between the Discovery Station and apps – they look and work the same.  The difference is that the Discovery Station only goes to the check-out/ reserve phase.  Patrons then go to the desk to download.  You can find a book, check it out, and download it through the apps.

The other half of the Discovery Station is the Download Station, software which is only on staff computers (one per library), and only usable with 3M eReaders, for now at least.

Log in with staff Cloud ID. Distinct possibility that each branch will have an ID based on the branch email.

There are two tabs – Load and Reset.

Load is for loading books onto the reader.  It asks for the patron information, and then accesses the patron’s virtual bookshelf to see what they have reserved.  Plug the reader into the computer.  Click the Transfer Books button. It doesn’t matter what order you perform these steps in. The station goes to the cloud, gets the books, wraps them in DRM, and downloads them. 

You have to transfer all the books on the virtual bookshelf – you can’t select some titles.  The patron can remove books from their bookshelf on the Discovery Station.

Reset is for when the readers are returned.  It erases all the books and returns any for which the due date has not passed.   If you forget to reset a reader, don’t worry.  Load automatically checks that it’s been done. 

There are 2 different readers – white w/keyboard and black w/out keyboard, and they have different cables. They are 2 competing designs that the beta test is being used to decide between.  After the beta test 3M will make a decision and go forward with only one.  3M wants input on the different designs, as well as on general patron usage issues with the system.

The readers are really locked down – all the features not integral to reading are unavailable – no wifi, no sound, etc. That means no syncing.  No messages – patrons have to access those on the Discovery Station.

We really want to stress to patrons that the 3M readers should only be used with the 3M system – i.e. the librarian-mediated system at the library. Books can be downloaded from another computer, but then the DRM dictates that all previously downloaded 3M books become unreadable. 

3M has no plans to market the readers separately from the Cloud system.

There will be a how-to manual for each manual both loaded on the readers and available separately.

Distribution of readers:
Central – 40 of style 1
Sun Ray – 30 of style 2
Arlington – 30 of style 2

Books can be found in the Digital Editions folder – on any device.

You can return books early on the apps, but not the reader due to lack of wifi. 

The readers will be most likely be checked out at the Mississippi desk at Central.

They can be charged by USB.

Melissa @ Central         

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