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Friday, May 28, 2010

3D: the Future of Entertainment?

On June 11, Walt Disney is revolutionizing television entertainment with the latest rendition of its popular ESPN brand: ESPN 3D, a channel totally dedicated to broadcasting 3D programs. To kick off its launch, ESPN 3D will broadcast 25 games of the World Cup, the world’s most popular sporting event.¹ In addition to soccer, sports fans will also be able to marvel at screen-popping slam dunks or bat-crunching homeruns that appear to be taking place right in their living rooms.

Carried by DirecTV, ESPN 3D is one of the world’s first channels wholly dedicated to 3D programming and is a sure sign that 3D technology is here to stay. Once thought of as a fad, 3D entertainment has been evolving for nearly 200 years.²

It’s been around longer than you think
The original concept behind the creation of three-dimensional images, stereoscopy, was invented in 1838. The technique was sporadically implemented in low-budget films as cinemas gained popularity in the early 20th century. However, the 1950s ushered in the movie industry’s first 3D era, with House of Wax and It Came from Outer Space showing off stereoscopy’s groundbreaking potential. Even some popular films, including Hondo and Dial M for Murder, were released in the new, exciting format. However, 3D sales constantly lagged behind 2D and still left a lot to be desired in the eyes of studio execs.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that the film industry got another healthy dose of 3D. Movies, mostly sequels such as Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th Part III, used state-of-the-art technology to make moviegoers feel as though the action was popping off the screen. The invention of IMAX increased the popularity of 3D movies, especially in the late 90s. However, shooting costs limited the number of 3D productions being released to normal cinemas, that is, until recently.  

The turn of the millennium gave way to a new golden age of 3D technology. Advancements in computer imaging slashed 3D production costs and allowed movie makers to create the most realistic 3D experience to date. In 2010, some movies that didn’t plan on having a 3D release, such as Clash of the Titans, were given “3D makeovers” in an attempt to catch onto the success of other recent 3D releases.³

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Midwest Tape Presents a Free Webinar on Customized Standing Order Plans

On Wednesday, June 2nd, Inside Sales Representative Lisa Smith will lead a free webinar on Utilizing Midwest Tape’s Customized Standing Order Plans. The webinar runs in the afternoon from 1:30 to 2:30 EST, and you can register for the webinar by following this link.

Click the “read more” link below to view a brief description of this webinar.

Midwest Tape Congratulates Hometown Idol Crystal Bowersox

American Idol has crowned the winner of their season nine competition. Lee DeWyze, a Chicago musician and former paint salesman, nabbed the top spot, while Northwest Ohio-native and Toledo School for the Arts graduate Crystal Bowersox came in a close second. Holland, Ohio-based Midwest Tape has been cheering for Bowersox since the competition’s beginning, and we applaud her for an amazing Idol season.

Crystal impressively rocked the Idol stage throughout the season, boasting such memorable performances as Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and the Patty Griffin tune “Up to the Mountain.”

Born in small-town Elliston, Ohio, Crystal later attended school at Oak Harbor High School and later at the Toledo School for the Arts. After high school, Crystal struggled as a musician along the streets and subways of Chicago and then took up singing gospel at her church; (read more of Bowersox’s bio).

After auditioning for Idol, Crystal headed to Hollywood where she sped past the show’s other competitors, proving her originality and artistry through ace song selections and excellent guitar playing. During her Idol-sponsored hometown visit, Crystal drew in upwards of 10,000 fans for her downtown parade and concert and over 13,000 for her singing of the national anthem at Fifth-Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens (Fox Toledo: Northwest Ohio embraces Bowersox).

Here at Midwest Tape, we’re very excited to see a talented musician from Northwest Ohio succeeding in such a bright spotlight. We’d like to congratulate her on a job well done. We know that there are great things in store for this talented musician. Make sure you stay tuned for upcoming albums from both Crystal and Idol champ Lee DeWyze.

What are your thoughts on the Idol season? What do you think patron demand will be like for any upcoming Idol albums?

Monday, May 24, 2010

SmartBrowse: A Closer Look

Recently, Midwest Tape posted a blog about the basics of SmartBrowsing. Here, we present a more in-depth look at the advanced search engine, detailing a variety of ways to organize your results for a quick and efficient find.

First, entering fewer keywords will return more titles, so for optimal results enter as few keywords as possible. For example, try “Fresh Prince” instead of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Once a user enters keywords, SmartBrowse categorizes the results in an expandable list that divides products by titles exactly matching or containing the search word, categories, series, collections, publisher names, people, and numbers. The list of expandable subcategories makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for and ignore what you’re not. Additionally, selecting the expand/collapse (+/–) box will expand or collapse your search results so that you see only  the results you want.

Click image to enlarge.

Also, if there are more than 100 listings for a category you can opt to only view the top 100 bestselling titles or the 100 most recent titles. By doing this, you are able to quickly find the newest and most popular titles.

Click image to enlarge.

After making your selection, you can arrange information alphabetically or numerically in ascending or descending order by clicking on the column names. For example, clicking on price will sort the titles by the least expensive to the most expensive. Clicking again will reorganize the information so that the most expensive products list first. Similarly, this action works for stock number, title media, misc, genre, release date, sales rank, and price.

 Click image to enlarge.

Another way to manage your SmartBrowse search is to further narrow your results. By clicking on the filter criteria box, you are able to restrict your findings by release date, format, and ratings.

Click image to enlarge.

To continue perusing through the subcategories in the search summary list, simply select the Return to Original Search button. It is essential to select this button because clicking the browser’s back button will return you to the Midwest Tape homepage, thus closing your current results.

 Click image to enlarge.
Want to learn more about SmartBrowsing? Watch our tutorial.
Have you used SmartBrowse? How has it aided your acquisitions experience?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Midwest Tape Presents a Free Webinar on Workflow Solutions

On Wednesday, May 26th, Inside Sales Representative Elaine Schlagheck will lead a free webinar on Midwest Tape’s Workflow Solutions. The webinar runs in the afternoon from 2 to 3 EST, and you can register for the webinar by following this link.

Below is a brief description of this webinar:
Workflow Solutions        May 26, 2010        2:00–3:00 EST
Is your staff juggling multiple responsibilities? Are you looking to get your audiovisual material on the shelves more rapidly? Do you have a special project or opening branch underway? Join us and learn how Midwest Tape can help streamline these processes. Our Workflow Solutions team, comprised of our Processing, Cataloging and Opening Day Collections Departments, will work with and guide your staff towards the most cost-effective, efficient way for keeping up with increasing patron demand.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IE Sliding, Chrome Picking up the Slack

For the first time since 1999, Internet Explorer's share dipped below 60% in the internet browser market. Although Internet Explorer (59.95%) still has a considerable market share advantage over Mozilla Firefox (24.59%) and Google Chrome (6.73%), recent trends indicate it will continue to lose market share. According to data published by Net Applications, users are dropping IE6 and IE7 for other brands, rather than upgrading to the current IE8. And although IE8 continues to grow at a steady rate, it is simply unable to keep up with its predecessors’ losses.¹

The New Face in Town
Perhaps the most surprising development in the browser market has been Google Chrome’s rapid growth. Chrome, which Google released back in September 2008, gained .60 points in April and was the month’s biggest winner in the market share battle.² However, it remains to be seen if Chrome can unseat Firefox as the industry’s runner-up.

The Comeback Kid
With its current crop of browsers sliding, Microsoft is focusing on Internet Explorer 9 and its reputed performance improvements.³ Although IE9 is still several months away from public release, beta testers and curious parties can install its preview model here; (requires Windows Vista or later).

Will Internet Explorer make a comeback with IE9? Will you even use it? Have you ever tried Chrome?
Leave some comments below.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Audiobooks on CD Represent Majority of the Market, MP3 Audiobooks’ Share Miniscule

In a 2009 sales survey, Audio Publishers Association (APA) measured the growth and divisions of the one billion dollar audiobook industry. (Check out the survey results here.)

APA found that audiobooks on CD account for 72% of the audio market. And while the market share for downloadable content has increased at a noteworthy rate, audiobooks on MP3 discs have maintained a steady market share over the past few years at an unimpressive 1%.¹

On his blog, RickLibrarian cites an online AudioFile survey that found that the largest percent of audiobook listeners prefer audiobooks on CD.² And in a 2008 article entitled “A Rapidly Growing Electronic Publishing Trend,” Jan. J. Engelen cites the “the universal usability” of CDs as one of the major reasons audiobooks on CDs remain the popular choice for audiences. Additionally, Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues have made audiences, especially libraries, weary of the MP3 format: “In practice, however, DRM lead to quite a lot of customer frustration as it hindered copying in general or made it sometimes impossible to play the legally acquired files on a whole series of devices.”³

Because of its lack of market share and universal usability, Midwest Tape doesn’t currently carry audiobooks on MP3. The demand does not yet exist, and with its sluggish growth, we’re not sure when it will. We’re always keeping our eye on the industry, though.

What’s your take on the MP3-disc format? What patron feedback have you received on the many audiobook formats?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Midwest Tape Presents a Free Webinar on Collection Development Services

On Tuesday, May 11th, Inside Sales Representative Lisa Smith will lead a free webinar on Midwest Tape’s collection development services.  The webinar runs in the afternoon from 1:30 to 2:30 EST, and you can register for the webinar by following this link.

Below is a brief description of this webinar:

Collection Development Services     May 11, 2010     1:30-2:30 EST
Do you have a special collection project underway?  Whether it is as simple as a new format launch or as complex as opening a new branch, let Midwest Tape lighten the load!  In this session, we will explore how Midwest Tape's Workflow Solutions' Team can assist in building and preparing a complete collection—completely processed, cataloged and ready for your shelves.  Log on and Learn!

Have you attended our free webinars? Share your experiences and feedback here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Your Fiscal Year-End Approaching? Midwest Tape is Here to Help

Summer is quickly approaching, and while that usually means barbeques, sandals, and sunscreen, for many libraries it also means the end of your fiscal year.

Midwest Tape understands your needs as a library, and it is our goal to make this process as manageable as possible.

We would like to offer you assistance in making your year-end experience successful and stress-free. Here's how we can help:
  • We can provide product in hand and invoicing by a specified date.
  • We can offer tools and information to assist you in tracking and reconciling your budgets.
  • Our collection development team can aid you in fulfilling remaining budgets.
Let’s enjoy the summer together. Let Midwest Tape help you wrap up your year-end.

Call ahead and speak to one of our customer service representatives. It is important to give your representative time to handle your inquiries and requests.

Contact us today at 800.875.2785.