Product: FollettShelf

Product: FollettShelf Retail price: free with the purchase of Follett eBooks and/ or selected digital products available from Follett Library Resources

By MaryAnn Karre

The FollettShelf is a Web service that enables students and teachers to efficiently search, read, and manage their Follett eBook collection online.

Quality and Effectiveness: The FollettShelf is a virtual bookshelf that allows Follett Library users 24/7 access to the eBooks in the Library’s collection from any computer with Internet access. Without checking a book out, patrons can browse through it, in much the same way they can a book in a physical library. Readers can also use the optional Digital Reader to enjoy eBooks offline. Circulation periods can be set to match those of the physical library, and books are automatically returned to circulation when the loan period expires. While the FollettShelf supports only books purchased through Follett, this collection includes more than 95,000 e-books from more than 450 publishers.

Ease of Use: The FollettShelf can be used with Windows (XP and higher) and Mac or Linux OS ; while it does not currently support other portable devices, the company promises that features will be added in a subsequent release. For the librarian, the FollettShelf streamlines the acquisition and circulation of eBooks; it is populated automatically with complete MARC data for Follett eBooks, so there are no MARC records to import. The service also provides circulation statistics and reports, so schools and districts can track Follett eBook usage easily. Most operations are simple and self-evident; even the youngest reader can click and read.

Creative Use of Technology: The FollettShelf not only provides easy access to eBooks in a bright, inviting, and easy-to-use graphical interface, but it also allows readers to interact with the text in much the same way they can printed material. Registered users build a list of titles for future use, and while reading they can highlight text and attach notes in both the Full-featured Online Reader and the Offline Reader.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: By using the FollettShelf, students of all reading abilities can enjoy eBooks. The Full-featured Online Reader includes a read-aloud feature that utilizes the computer’s text-to-speech capability to the limits set by the publisher of each book. The Offline Reader, unfortunately, does not support read-aloud. Alternative text Tool Tips display, in words, the functions of the buttons within the reader. There is also a Dictionary in both the Full-featured Online Reader and the Basic Online Reader. A dictionary tool is not part of the current release of the Offline Reader.

Top Features

¦ The FollettShelf supports and promotes easy use of Follett eBooks from home, in the classroom, or from anywhere, supplying 24/7 access to the Library’s holdings on the Web.

¦ Features such as note taking and highlighting, Dictionary, and audio make the eBooks attractive and accessible to readers of all abilities.

¦ The FollettShelf makes it simple to see, acquire, and circulate the collection of eBooks a school library purchases from Follett’s large assortment.