dear NetLibrary/OCLC

Meredith notes that conference season has started.  I myself am not going to any conferences this year, and thus I will not be able to harass engage in thoughtful discussion with any vendors.

A few months ago I was grappling with some difficulties with NetLibrary’s downloadable audio books.  As usual, their help pages proved not terribly helpful.  Using the Google was somewhat more helpful, and what I was able to find I added to our wiki.  But then I thought, gosh, wouldn’t it be great if NetLibrary provided web forums where people could post and answer questions?  I mentioned the issue in passing in an e-mail to our state systems librarian, who said, “great idea; mention it to them next time you’re at a conference.”

I wasn’t going to any conferences then, either, so I decided at least I’d drop an e-mail into the black hole that is support@oclc.org.  But perhaps you are going to a conference.  Perhaps you also have frustrations with NetLibrary downloadable audio books.  Perhaps you would like to suggest the forums idea to the nice representatives in the exhibits.  In case you do, or in case some NetLibrary person out there is reading this, here’s the full text of my e-mail:

From: Laura Crossett [lcrossett at will dot state dot wy dot us]
Sent: Mon 1/8/2007 1:29 PM
To: support@oclc.org
Subject: forum for NetLibrary/Recorded Books

Dear OCLC:

Just out of curiosity, have you ever considered establishing some kind of an online forum for NetLibrary/Recorded Books?  Even in my tiny branch library, we have a number of patrons who have had difficulties with eAudiobooks that aren’t covered anywhere in the official FAQs.  Sometimes I’m able to find the answer by fiddling around; sometimes I have luck by just searching the Web, since sometimes a blogger or someone else will have written about the problem.

But going to that much work seems inefficient to me, especially since there are probably many other people having the same problem that I am at any given time.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were a central location where we could ask questions and answer questions posed by other users?  I think so.

As you probably know, forums, message boards, and wikis are popular features of support for many kinds of software.  My e-mail program, Fastmail, has them; WordPress, which I use for my blogs, has a great many.  Firefox, Thunderbird, and their extensions have them; even Microsoft has some user forums. 

I think OCLC could do a great service for the library community by providing some kind of a forum for NetLibrary/Recorded Books.  Doing so would allow librarians to do more easily what they already do best–collaborate and share information.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Laura Crossett
Branch Manager
Meeteetse Branch, Park County Library
2107 Idaho / PO Box 129
Meeteetse, WY 82433
307.868.2248 (phone & fax)
AIM: theblackmolly | Y!M: lcrossett

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