Integrating Resources – A Case Study Print E-mail
By Miffy Farquarhson   
During 2015 I attended a SLAV workshop on eBooks and eResources, where David Feighan (Mentone Girls’ Grammar) spoke about purchasing eBooks from OverDrive and integrating them into the school library collection. I was very keen to have a look at increasing our eBook collection, but was unimpressed by the lack of Australian content in the Follett TitleWave online shop.
 
It transpired that David’s presentation was very timely, as Follett announced that they had integrated OverDrive into Destiny Library Manager earlier this year. And I was onto this opportunity like a shot!
 
As is the way with many a fantastic moment in library land, the wheels of commerce move slowly. I was ready to go, but there were obstacles to overcome at every stage.
 
The first obstacle came from OverDrive. They are based in the U.S., and so the time difference precludes making a phone call and talking to a real person, so I got onto the email. Wait 24 hours for them to wake up and process their Inbox and then a few more days on top of that. The message comes back – “Thanks for your interest. Please contact Softlink. They are our distributors in Australia.” Okey dokey. Another step forward.
 
Luckily, the team at Softlink were super-helpful, and provided the subscription information quickly. This was the next hurdle. Boy, howdy! It is not cheap to subscribe to OverDrive, and there was some soul-searching and discussion between myself and the Middle School Teacher-Librarian about whether we could afford it, how we would split it, and how we would manage to financially support this purchase into the future. We decided to split it 50/50 for the first year, and just see how the students used it. So, the order went off to Accounts Payables, we found out that we’d left off GST (!), the subscription was approved and we were away.
 
Well, not so much. It turns out that there is a lot of setting up to do in the background of both OverDrive and Destiny before this becomes a functional source of digital content. After the Over Drive account was made and some content purchased (and they were pretty keen for us to spend most of our included content credit almost immediately – we resisted!) the site went live! Now it was time to integrate with Destiny. This part was seamless. After setting up Destiny to integrate with OverDrive, it’s a matter of moments to upload a code. MARC records are included in the OverDrive subscription, and are uploaded to an FTP site, where you can retrieve them and upload to your catalogue. Because of the integration, sign on through the catalogue is seamless (for the most part – nothing’s perfect!) and all the resources are available to our students and staff within 12 hours.
 
 
 
 
OverDrive has a very attractive interface and is easy to use – from the front! The backend is powerful and complex, and takes some getting used to, but OverDrive provides a comprehensive manual in PDF format, and there are a number of videos available for users to get help with using the platform. And each account is assigned two managers to take care of different aspects of your experience with the product, and ours were knowledgeable and quick at responding.
 
And the product is really, really good. Lots of Australian content, reading in the browser is a cinch, reading in the app is a little tricky to setup but seamless once you’ve ‘joined’ your library, and there has been a pleasing level of engagement with students from Year 5 to Year 10.
 
 
 
 
We’ve decided to go ahead with a second year of OverDrive, pending budget approval. If you’re thinking of looking into eBooks through OverDrive, I can highly recommend it.
 
 
Miffy Farquharson is Head of Libraries at Mentone Grammar. Miffy is a teacher-librarian, Library Manager and Book Nut.
 She aims to put the right resource into the right hands at the right time, and provide appropriate resources to students and teachers, using Library and Learning Management Systems, social networking and Web 2.0 tools. In her spare time (!), she is a judge for the Aurealis Awards.
 
She can be contacted at:
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@miffyf02 (personal account) on Twitter
@libraryhelpmgs (school account) on Twitter
 
4 blogs
Fun Fair - personal blog – http://miffyjf.wordpress.com
Mentone Mif - Professional Learning blog – http://mentonemif.wordpress.com
MGS Library - School blog – http://mgslibrary.wordpress.com
Miffy Reviews Book Review blog – http://miffyreviews.wordpress.com
Miffy Reviews on Google+ – linked to the review blog – so don’t subscribe to both!