Updated databases read you to sleep

Ebsco, the company that provides a good chunk of our article databases, recently rolled out a couple of new features. Don’t worry–the news is (mostly) good.

First, Ebsco has added an audio reader to its HTML full-text items. You get a choice of three amiable, robotic voices: American, English, or Australian (unfortunately, no Snoop Dogg option). For some reason, the American voice is male and the others female. (Why would this be? If you have any ideas, let us know.) Visually-impaired students may already be using a screen reader and therefore not have much use for this feature, but students with learning disabilities may find some real benefits here.

display of text-to-speech player in Ebsco databases

The other main enhancement is a new PDF reader. When you open a PDF file in an Ebsco database such as Academic Search Premier, you’ll now see a table of contents for the journal on the left-hand side of the screen. If all you’re after is the article you found, that’s no big deal, but if that article was published in a special issue of a journal devoted to a topic you’re researching, you might have struck gold. You can also easily jump to other issues of the same journal.

Display of new PDF viewer

Note: apparently Macs running Firefox don’t always like the new PDF reader. (We said the news was mostly good.) If yours has trouble with it, either use Safari or install the free PDFKit plugin.

For a longer list of enhancements, see Ebsco’s blog post.

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