December 2013

Periodically, I will be spotlighting databases that are available through Alameda County Library.

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We are in the thick of winter, and it’s that time again to check the roof for leaks.  Maybe those household pipes are frozen on a cold morning? Or, maybe you are just looking to redo the floors and windows without paying an arm and a leg? Look no further for answers.  The “Home Improvement Reference Center is designed to assist homeowners in do-it-yourself home repair, maintenance, and remodeling projects. Step-by-step instructions for thousands of projects in the areas of plumbing, outdoor, woodworking, electrical, and decorating are provided in high-quality PDF files. Additionally, thousands of articles from magazines and reference books provide tips and suggestions to supplement the step-by-step project instructions.”  home improvement 3

Content Includes:

  • Full text for more than 120 reference books (87 major reference works from Creative Publishing International)
  • Full text for more than 45 magazines
  • More than 35,000 images (none found available online anywhere else)
  • Nearly 100 videos of popular home repair projects
  • A convenient A-Z browsing tool for searching
  • Remote access is available for use from home
  • Unique, user-friendly interface

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If you are trying to access the Home Improvement Reference Center database remotely, you will need an Alameda County Library card, or and eCard.  One can access the HIRC database by going to the Alameda County Library home page, and doing the following:

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Then the next step is clicking on the letter “H” and looking for the Home Improvement Reference Center database which is illustrated below.

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Periodically, I will be spotlighting databases that are available through Alameda County Library.

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Byte Bytes: GreenFile is a free research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment available through EBSCO. It features hundreds of scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports, GreenFILE offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect ecology.

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covers all aspects of human impact to the environment

This comprehensive resource draws on the connections between the environment and a variety of disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology. Topics covered include global climate change, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling and more.

Extensive Multidisciplinary Coverage

This collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects.

Content Includes:

 Indexing and abstracts for more than 612,000 records

Open Access full text for more than 9,100 records

New Features!


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One can also store items such as articles, images, ebooks, and notes and videos in the folder for a future session by Signing Into to My EBSCOhost .  To access GreenFile database, please go to :

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If you are trying to access GreenFile remotely, you will need an Alameda County Library card.

The official GED® test is changing. The new LearningExpress Library platform (version 3.0), is now live and provides preparation resources to meet the new 2014 test specifications. Click here to finish up any finish any previously accessed tests, tutorials or eBooks on LearningExpress Library 2.0.

Here is what you need to know about the changes to the test:

• The new GED® test will launch on January 2, 2014.
• Current GED® test scores will expire in 2013—they will not carry forward.
• Users will ONLY be able to take the new test on a computer. There will no longer be a paper-and-pencil version of the test.
• For more information about the GED® 2014 test, please visit the official GED® Testing Services website.

The entire GED® Test Prep Center and associated materials will be removed from LearningExpress Library 3.0 on January 2. Users must complete all LearningExpress Library GED® Test Prep Center work prior to this date, as the center will be removed to accommodate the new High School Equivalency Center. The new GED® 2014 test preparation resources will be phased in during January 2014. Preparation for new, additional high school equivalency exams, the HiSET® and the TASC®, and Spanish GED® 2014 test preparation content will follow.

The GED® Preparation Center in LearningExpress Library 2.0 will be removed on December 30, 2013, as part of the phased retirement of the 2.0 platform. Effective January 2014, no new content will be added to LearningExpress Library 2.0 and the product will be retired on June 30, 2014.

Your Alameda County Library has added the ability to stream music, in addition to downloading.

Streaming and downloading. You now have a weekly download allotment, and a daily streaming allotment. For most library cardholders, you will have 3 downloads per week, and 3 hours of streaming every day. Counters are in the upper right corner and will keep you informed of your allotments and usage.

How to stream, how to download. Nothing has changed with the download functionality, except that the sample clips are now gone.

When you put your cursor over a song or an album, you will see a “stream now” button come up. That’s your signal to press that button and start listening. If you press that button on an album, the whole album will play in order.

You can use “Freegal Playlists.” This is a list of pre-selected songs in a genre that you are certain to enjoy.

To create a playlist:
1) Click on “My Playlists” under “Streaming” on the left side.
2) Click on “Create and Store Playlists.”
3) At the top center, click on the “+” symbol next to “Saved Playlists.”
4) Name your playlist (ex. “The Boss”) and describe it (ex. “Bruce”).
5) In that box, click on “Create New Playlist” and your playlist is ready to add music.
6) Click on the “Home” page and start looking for music to add.
7) To add an album, move your cursor over an album cover and a =+ will appear. Click on that, and then add to your chosen playlist option.
8) To add an individual song, click on the image until you see a play arrow and =+ sign. Pressing the =+ will allow you to add the song to your chosen playlist.

Go Mobile with Freegal Apps! As always, Freegal Music is also a mobile experience. The new Freegal Music update for Android and Apple devices is in the stores/marketplace for you to be able to stream ad-free music, at no charge to you.

For more information, see the FAQs on the Freegal Music site.