Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Reading Log - a review

The Library Network's iBistro catalog links to My Reading Log. They recommend it as a tool to help patrons keep track of books they've read as well as books they'd like to read. Since I've been using the iBistro catalog for almost two years now, I thought it was time to give it a shot.

The one thing that My Reading Log has going for it is that it is simple. Patrons who are internet "newbies" will appreciate the lack of information overload, but that's if they can get the darn thing to work in the first place.

The first thing I did when I created my account was try to read their little introduction. I glanced it over, seemed like a normal, easy-to-use-site, so I carried on. I got to my home screen and tried to add a book...

When you add your own book, instead of searching by ISBN (or whatever other number you have), you have to make sure to enter in all of your own data. The site isn't intuitive enough to take a title and just automatically find it's author/pub info/etc. I guess I was expecting this...

So I did a search via ISBN. I accidently put the ISBN in wrong and after waiting a couple minutes (they say their search function takes a while, they weren't kidding), they added something to my "Want to Read" list that had absolutely no information in it. No error message came up - just a blank record added to my list. Durrrr....

I finally got the ISBN right, added the right book to the list, and now they tell me that the author's name will be all in one field (Last Name) as opposed to two (Last Name, First Name). Which requires the user to go back in and fix every single one of them, if they're a perfectionist like me! My frustration is building....

Next I scrolled down and noticed that there's another search option available. I tried to search Lincoln Park's catalog, since they're my "home library." I did a search for a title that I know to be in the collection - Cancer Schmancer (by Fran Drescher). It opened up a new window and promptly gave me an error. I clicked ok, to see if maybe it'd still work, but then I got another (different) error. :-( Now that I know THAT doesn't work, I did a Amazon book search and it gave me what I wanted - but that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll connect back to My Reading Log in any way. The WorldCat search also works in the same fashion.

Also, as a side note, the user must guess that the "My Account" link goes to their home page. I've always associated "My Account" with changing password information, user information, etc.

To make a long story even longer (not that any of you have read this far), I must say that My Reading Log has completely disappointed me. At this point I have no desire to explore any of the other options on the site.... but if anyone else comes across something here that's useful, feel free to give me your $0.02.


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