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Safari Books Online Mini Review: Part 1
Friday, 28th October 2011
Safari Books Online is an on-demand digital library with a collection of over 14,000 books, training videos and articles from some of the world’s leading publishers. Also included are Rough Cuts, which are books in the process of being written or not yet published, and Short Cuts, which are short topic works that are either too early in their lifecycle or too niche to warrant a full book.
Safari says that subscribers enjoy access to:
- Content from publishers who represent more than 85% of the technology books available on the market
- Access to leading creative professional content resources from bestselling authors like Garr Reynolds, Scott Kelby and Derrick Story
- Access to books and videos from dozens of publishers, including O’Reilly Media, Peachpit Press, Apress, Manning, John Wiley and Sons, Addison-Wesley, Talented Pixie and many others.
- Approximately 80 new books and videos each month
- Up to 35% off the published hard copy book price
- Revisions of books as they come out.
The content covers technology (software development, network administration etc), the creative industries (web design, CSS, photography etc) and business and management (project management, HR, leadership etc).
The audience for this product is potentially large and varied and many users won’t be information professionals trained in the use of detailed search query building, so it’s encouraging to see a flexible but simple-to-use search interface.
These are all available to read online (as a webpage) or in PDF format (as an ebook) for whole book or chapter downloads. You can also read them on a mobile device.
There are two choices of subscription available for single user access. A Safari Library subscription allows unlimited access to all books (including Rough Cuts). Safari Bookshelf is a limited subscription which allows a preview of all books and full access to 10 titles only (but not to Rough Cuts). Either option can be purchased monthly or annually.
It's worth pointing out that you can purchase complete books at a discounted price and receive “download tokens” every month, which can be used to redeem content to print or read offline.
With a Multi-User Account, teams of people (between two and 25 users) can share access to content and create and share notes with colleagues. It provides simplified billing and account administrator privileges. If your organisation requires more than 25 users, you can contact Safari direct for a corporate subscription.
Searching - overview
Searching is via a basic or advanced interface. Basic search allows you to enter a word or phrase to search across the entire collection or you can filter by Book/Video, Short Cuts or Rough Cuts. The advanced search feature provides a much more comprehensive set of options.
The homepage at http://my.safaribooksonline.com contains a useful How it Works section and an FAQ list (Figure 1). You can browse the collection and perform searches without signing up first. Free trials are available.
Part 2 of this review takes a closer look at product features, particularly search and collaboration tools.
By Dale Moore
Dale Moore is employed as an information manager and English language teacher at a private language school in the South West of England. He has a masters degree in information management from the University of Sheffield and over 12 years experience as an information practitioner.
He has worked for a number of organisations of all sizes from the BBC in London to government funded regional entities providing business support to small companies.
Dale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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