Sunday, August 1, 2010

Now that we can create ePub-based eBooks quickly and easily, our thoughts naturally turn to finding ways and means of publishing those digital books and other ePub documents. There are several options to consider so I'll take them on one at a time in successive blog posts. This post will deal with establishing an online catalog that enables remote access to your book collection. Depending upon who you share the address and optional password with, this could be just for your personal convenience or it could be where your students go to discover and acquire ePub documents (books, monographs, handouts, etc.) that you have made available to them.

A tool that can help us achieve this end is the free, cross-platform application called "Calibre."
Calibre has many attributes such as managing your eBook library, converting eBooks, syncing to eBook reading devices, viewing eBooks and providing you with a content server for online access to your book collection. It is this last capability that we'll be focusing on here.

Calibre's content server is based upon the
Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS). Many eReader applications such as Stanza are capable of browsing an ODPS catalog by categories such as newest, title, ratings, publishers, series, authors, tags, etc. and then downloading selected items. The catalog can be password protected. Here's a screenshot of the server settings:

One thing that you'll want to be sure of is that you network administration has arranged for access via HTTP port 8080 or whatever other port you have configured the server to "listen" to for requests. There may be a firewall in place that would prevent that. If that is not possible, just use port 80 which is the default port for HTTP. If you can surf the web, port 80 is open and, so, this should work.

Here's a screen shot showing Stanza on iPad browsing an OPDS catalog:

It's also possible for Caliber to send eBooks and magazines via email. Here's the setup for that:

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