By Nicole Rakozy
As the weather heats up and as school lets out, many of us are thinking of outdoor activities and summer projects. For me, summer fever has introduced idealistic visions of cultivating a vegetable garden with my one-year old daughter, but unfortunately I know very little about growing plants. In full disclosure: Some of my potted companions did not survive their winter stay at Casa de Rakozy. And despite my understanding that gardening with a toddler is likely to have more to do with stopping her from eating dirt rather than tilling it, I decided to give it a shot.
My first step was to do some research to answer basic questions like: What tools will I need? Where is the best spot to put a garden? Which plants are easiest to grow? I began by skimming one of the many gardening and horticulture e-books available to me in Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).
When most people think of an eBook they think of a digital copy of a printed book on their screen, but as the product manager for GVRL, I know the platform offers more than your average PDF format eBook. Instead of performing subject indexing at just the book level, as many publishers do, Gale dives deeper into the chapters and articles to assign subjects and identify keywords. This allows GVRL to suggest specific book chapters that are most relevant to your search parameters. Users are then more likely to discover information about their topic within books they might not have thought to consult or care to browse.
For example, the results for my search on “gardening and beginner” provided just that. The first few documents in the list included chapters from DK Publishing’s Gardening Step by Step called “Where to Start” and “Vegetable Gardening: Plant Guide.” Perfect! There was one surprising result that also proved useful, a chapter on “Gardening” from Alpha Books’ Idiot’s Guides: Stretching, which explained how gardening can be laborious enough to necessitate stretching – beginners be warned!
Within these documents, I found answers to my questions and I discovered other helpful information, such as the value of creating a composting bin to turn kitchen waste into rich garden soil and detailed descriptions of the types of plants to consider. I used the tools in GVRL to send these materials where I prefer to absorb them.
I emailed the start guide to my handyman husband with a note to review the bin designs, downloaded the Plant Guide as an mp3 to listen to on my way home from work, and printed the illustrations of some stretches intended to prepare me for the endless lifting and squatting ahead.
With GVRL’s unlimited simultaneous use, there are no restrictions on how many patrons can view a single book at a time—making eBooks like those above perfect for sharing with an entire gardening club or class, without having to worry about check-ins/outs. Not to mention, there are also no due dates or late fees and we offer 24/7 access through their barcode ID (or seamlessly through IP authentication).
Your patrons are sure to enjoy these features—whether learning more about gardening, digging in to a research paper, or exploring any other topic of interest—from within your library, from their couch, or even in their own backyard.
Not all platforms are created equal—explore GVRL for yourself. And in the meantime, I hope my personal experience and insight into GVRL will help you evaluate how your users might enjoy the tools that make ours unique.
Is there a specific feature or user tool on ours or other platforms that you want to highlight? As the GVRL Product Manager, I’m always eager to learn about what you and your users value the most.
About the Author
Nicole is Product Manager for GVRL. She holds a B.S. in creative writing from Eastern Michigan University and more than 14 years of experience working as an editor and project manager in educational publishing. She is a technology enthusiast, Francophile, and wannabe supermom.