Thursday, September 2, 2010

Now Hear This! WilsonWeb will talk wordy to you

Listen up!

WilsonWeb, the purveyor of our online databases OmniFile Select and Art Abstracts, has a new feature for those who like to multitask, those with a print disability, those who need a little more help studying those technical journals, and those who still like a bedtime story read to them (and honestly, who doesn't?)

When you pull up an article, the new ReadSpeaker function will give you the option of hearing HTML full-text as an streaming audio file. You can read along just like you did with your audiobooks when you were a kid (back in my day, I had a little record player, and they would ring a bell when it was time to turn the page--but I'm dating myself). I'm not kidding, sometimes it helps you keep your mind from wandering when you're reading a scholarly article full of jargon. Or perhaps you'd like to listen to the article while you're doing something important on another site, like tending those Farmville crops or playing Bejeweled. You can even download the articles as mp3 files to play back later when you're working out or driving or doing some mindless task like folding laundry.

It's not exactly like listening to an audiobook. Wilson didn't shell out for Samuel L. Jackson to record The Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology for you with full inflection (although wouldn't that have been awesome). The voice is kind of robotic, although you can control the reading speed and even select whether you want a male robot or a female robot. You know, for those of you who care what sex your robot is. You know who you are.

It really is a good idea. I have to admit, it makes me more likely to search the Omnifile first just in case there's a good article I want to listen to while taking my nap break. As busy as we all are, we need all the help we can get, and if listening to the robot makes studying more efficient and helps me get more done, I'm going to do it!

Check it out!

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