Using aolib.com boils down to the following:
This page explains how to all of the above better.
How to Select a Book
Even though there is Books section on aolib.com, it is
not the best or easiest way to pick a book to read.
Instead of browsing all the books, it is way better to start with Genres, get list of subjects comprising that genre (or
books tagged with that genre — every genre has links to such lists), and
then search it for the book you'd want to read.
You can, of course, start with with the list of subjects
to say... But please think of this: suppose, you're looking for a good
detective. If you start with the genre of detective, you'll see 10 subjects
comprising that genre, only six of which start with
Detective.... If you
browsed list of subjects looking for
Detective, you could have missed
four of 10 subjects — there are 8,719 subjects in our library as of
today, after all.
Alternatively, you may want to try our Advanced
Search, which not only supports many advanced features like natural
language book contents search, but also some unique features like boolean
genre search — be sure to check its Genre Assistant.
Whatever search method you use, you end up with a list of books. Each item of
that list contains "Read the book (NN pages)" link. Click on that link, and the
book will be loaded into Reader, and (if you are logged in) your choice will be
remembered, so that next time you switch to the Reader your last read book will
be loaded into it automatically, and you will get to the last read page.
What Else You Can Do with the Book You Found
When you read a book, you see book title at the top of the Reader page. You
can click on that title to see various information — author(s), genres,
subjects this book belongs too, etc. All these references are links, so with
just one click you can get list of all the books of the author, all books
belonging to same genres and/or subjects, etc. In other words, it is very easy
to find other books
of the same kind.
Moreover, there is a link to the same book at The Gutenberg Project site,
on which the book is also available in MOBI and other formats for portable
ebook readers. The Gutenberg site is not as convenient as aolib.com for
searching and online reading (let alone instant translation or Wikimedia
lookup), but if you are only interested in downloadable ebooks for your
portable reader, you may want to search aolib.com, find the book, and use
Gutenberg link that we provide to get the book in your preferred format.
You can bookmark any page you read by simply clicking on the «
Bookmark this page link right below the login box. Please note that this
will not add a bookmark to your browser's
Instead, it will add a bookmark to the list kept at aolib.com and managed
through your bookshelf, which is better that
your browser's list in several respects; for instance, if you upload your own
book, then bookmark some of its pages, and then delete the book, aolib.com will
take care of those bookmarks automatically, while they would be left
dangling in your browser.
Also, while reading a book, it is possible to select one of the five
font sizes, with the smallest matching
normal font used on this site,
and biggest being big enough for most people with poor eyesight — just
click on those + Use larger fonts or – Use smaller fonts
page menu items. Please note that this setting only affects the book reader page.
Finally, the Reader has keyboard interface: pressing '>' key
switches to next page (turns page), '<' switches to previous page,
'+' selects larger font (if it's not selected already), and
'–' selects smaller font.
How to Upload Own Books
You can upload a book in TXT (plain text) or HTML format and then select is
for reading using bookshelf. If you book is
not in a plain text or HTML format, you have to convert it first; if, say, it's
in a Microsoft Word DOC or DOCX format file, save it in plain text format, and
When you upload a book, it is first
compiled (processed) by aolib.com
server, and only then added to your bookshelf.
Compilation is necessary to break it down into paragraphs and pages, and to
detect and emphasize (with special formatting) such text elements as book and
chapters' headers, direct speach, and so on. While subdividing your book into
paragraphs, the compiler uses format tags in HTML files, or black lines and
indentation in plain text files; it is pretty flexible in this respect.
Contrary to what you might expect, aolib.com book compiler
may produce much better and
formatting if given plain text file
instead of HTML (that is, if you load an HTML file into browser, save it as a
TXT file, and then upload both, chances are the latter will look better in the
). This is because aolib.com
performs extensive analysis and applies numerous heuristics to figure out what
is paragraph, what is header etc. in a plain text file, while in an HTML file
it only uses its subdivision into paragraphs, and does not even try to guess
Registered users can add up to three books to their bookshelves. When you upload a book, you
- Book file. This is the only required field. The uploader
will handle plain text or HTML files in DOS (Windows), UNIX, or Mac encoding.
If the book contains non-ASCII characters (say, French or German letters), it
has to use code page 1252 (Latin I), or else those non-ASCII characters will
- Book author. If entered name matches an author whose books
are already in aolib.com collection, then, after you upload the book, author's
name (on the bookshelf list) will be represented with a link. If you follow
that link, you will see what other books by that author are in the aolib.com
collection. Note though that the name you enter must strictly match spelling
used by aolib.com; for instance, you must enter
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
sir arthur conan doyle to link to the author of The Hound of the
Baskervilles. It is OK, of course, to enter it as, say, just
Doyle, but the link won't be generated (it's very easy to check exact
spelling by going to search page, entering, say,
Doyle in the Book author(s) field and browsing the list of books
that the search brings). You can even leave this field blank — the field
would then be filled with
User (your name).
- Book title. If left blank, it will contain
You can edit this field (as well as Book author) later; see note below.
- Number of lines per page. This is approximate value, of
course. It is used once, by book
compiler during upload process, and
cannot be changed later.
If you want to add another book to your bookshelf, you will have to delete
one of the previously uploaded books first; to do that, follow the
Bookshelf link, select the checkbox(es) to the left of the book(s) you want
to delete, then apply the
Delete selected items action, and then the
Save changes action. It is important to understand that the changes you
do to your bookshelf must be
saved to take effect. If you do any changes
to your bookshelf and then go to another aolib.com page (or another site, for
that matter), then when you go to the bookshelf
page next time, you will see unmodified list. The same applies, of course,
not only to deleting items from the list, but also to arranging them (moving
translates (or rather
explains) one word at a
time — the one on which you double-click. However, you may also want to
look-up several words as a phrase or, contrary, translate just one word from a
phase which is an HTML reference (so that when you try to click on any
individual word of it, entire phrase/link is selected anyway). In such a case,
please select text to translate with cursor and then click the
Dictionary menu item in the Lookup page menu section that you can
see on the right.
Menu items below Dictionary are Wikipedia lookup,
Custom dictionary lookup, and Help lookup (this is what you are
reading now). Wikipedia may come handy when you, say, want to know more about
some person, or place, or anything else mentioned in a book. Imagine you are
reading Akbar, Emperor of India by Richard von Garbe and want to know more about
Akbar... All you need to do is to select
Akbar and click
Wikipedia — you will be taken directly to this Wikipedia
Custom dictionary defaults to Wiktionary, which is remarkable in great
many ways — for many words, you can find not only their explanations, but
also etymology and pronunciation, sometimes even as audio clips with American
English, British English, as well as other variants. As valuable as it is, it
may still be not what you want, so we made it configurable; more on this
below, in next Help section.
Note that when you double-click a word (or select it and click
Dictionary) to look it up using internal dictionary, the word usually
stays selected — so, if you need more information than aolib's internal
dictionary can offer, you should click on Wikipedia or Wiktionary
menu item to go to external site right away, with aolib's
pane still being On.
Please understand that aolib.com is not another online translation
service similar to Babelfish or Google Translate. Even if you select several words, aolib.com
will still try to translate them as a single dictionary entry, and the
same, of course, applies to Wikipedia and Wiktionary lookups. So if you, say,
try to translate
Church of Rome, aolib.com will give you correct definition.
But if you try something like
But the Church of Rome evinced little
interest, aolib.com will give up immediately. And this is by design: first of
all, aolib.com rather explains (in that same English) than translates. Second, even
if we had means of translating texts to every possible language, we still
wouldn't be doing that — aolib.com is meant to be assisting you in translation and/or
understanding, so that you could learn in the process. We ourselves found
this to be the most exciting and efficient way.
Profile and Customization
Site customization is available to registered users only. Respective page is pretty simple and self-explanatory
— provided that you are logged in and see actual customization options,
and not the comprehensive list of benefits for registered users... Anyway, lets
go throught the fields of User Profile one by one.
- Display name. This must be 2 to 32 characters long, start
with a letter, and contain only letters, digits, underscores, or hyphens. The
fact that the name cannot be changed after registration is, of course, not an
arbitrary restriction: we plan on adding forums and/or online word games (with
high score lists) in the near future, so such restriction
will become a necessity. And we're keen not to introduce new restrictions as we
go, as this is never received well by the online community.
- Email address. It is necessary to provide a valid email
address to which you have access, because upon registration we will send
confirmation email there, and you will have to click on a link to confirm
registration (please note that there will be another link in the message that
will allow you to cancel registration and remove all previously submitted data
from aolib.com database). We just want to be more or less sure we're dealing with
human beings here...
- Password. This must be at least 6 (and at most 32)
characters long and may consist of lower- and uppercase letters, digits, and
special characters like '$' or '%'. Please note that aolib.com does not
store its users' passowrds. Instead, we store so-called hash codes of the
passowords, wchich allow us to tell whether password provided during log-in is
correct or not; this approach is known to be much more secure. We also do not
security questions — these could be too easy to break.
So... if you forget your password, we cannot email it to you, but we can do
something better (at least safer): we will generate a temporary password for
you, and send it to your email address. If this ever happens, please be sure to
change your password once you log in using temporary one, for security
- Remember me. Keeping this checkbox ticked (as it is by
default) will allow you not to re-enter email and password each time you visit
aolib.com — you will be logged in automatically. Highly recommended.
- On auto-login, take me directly to the reader There is
just one reason why this convenient option is off by default: so that
not to confuse you, because when this option is turned on, it will
automatically take you to the last read book page even if you enter just
www.aolib.com in your browser's address bar the first time you do
so since you started your browser. Please note that if you, say, bookmark (in
your web browser) a book's page, and then, some time later, open your browser
and select that bookmark, aolib.com will
understand that you're opening
some book's page, and will not switch you to the last read one.
- User dictionary URL. By default this equals to
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/*. What happens when you select some text
and click U is this: aolib.com replaces asterisk ('*') in the URL with
selected text, and opens that URL in a separate window. Therefore, if you want
to use another external online dictionary, simply use its URL with asterisk as
- What kind of examples should be shown along with
definitions. This controls whether to show examples which actually
illustrate synonyms of the current word rather than the word itself, or
wherer to show examples at all.
- Show synonyms and antonyms along with definitions.
Turning this off makes definitions look more compact; but it also makes them
- Show topic, usage, and regon information. Ticking this
checkbox turns on display of categories the word belongs to.
- Display See Also tips. Turns On or Off display of the
links to related words.
- Display verb frames. A very useful option which, if
turned On, would enable display of so-called verb frames, also known a verb
usage patterns. The verb frames would be displayed as links in the dictionary
inset; clicking them would unfold list of frames (patterns).
- Maximum number of definitions per word per part of
speach. Limits visible number of definitions; might come handy when
viewing our dictionary on a small screen.
- Look-up these dictionaries. Allows to enable/disable
English-English and English-Russian dictionaries.
- Illustrations of what size should be shown if you click on an
icon. This controls the size of a bigger illustration that opens up
if you click illustration icon within definition.
- What kinds of illustrations are allowed. Allows to tailor
illustraions for the target audience (kids, sensitive people, adults).
- Prefer photographs over drawings. Sets relative
priorities of drawings vs photographs. If more than one illustration is
available for a word definition, then only first one is shown as an icon, but
it is possible to switch to next one by clicking on a dotted line to the right
of the icon; which illustration is shown first, which next, etc. is defined by
- Site skin (color scheme). One of the most exciting
customization options of aolib.com. Please note that it is called
and not, say, a
color scheme for a purpose; it is not just re-coloring,
many elements change their sizes as well. And even if some things stay the same
for different schemes, it is because we liked them that way — the
underlying mechanics allows to change everything, and we plan to add
many different skins, at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, you may want to look here for samples of existing skins.
- Font size for the book reader. It is possibly to pick one
of the five font sizes. This is one of the very few settings at
aolib.com that can be changed not only on Profile page, but also directly on the reader page, and it affects the book reader page
- Allowed advertisement types. The default is to show both
textual and image ads. Registered users can pick text-only ads if they find
image ads (still images or Flash animations) distracting or annoying, or
graphics-only (rich media) ads if they find textual ads boring. :-)
- Show less tips and hints. When checked, on many pages this
option does not show extra explanatory text that might be unnecessary for an
experienced aolib.com user. If you try this option, you'll see its effect right
on the Profile page.
- Send me site news emails. Enable this if you want to be
provided with a nice extra little service of email updates — we would
inform you about any new site features and contents, and that's it. This is
what is all about. Here is what we say about those news emails elsewhere on
These notifications can, of course, be disabled, but please
note that our promise to you is that we will only send them when we have actual
news about aolib.com (so no
Nothing new today, but here is this
AMAZING and plainly UNBELIEVABLE offer from our sponsors!!! type of...
stuff), and we will keep them concise and strictly to the point.
Oh, and by the way... We certainly hope that you are reading all this out of
pure curiosity and not because you actually did not understand something at
aolib.com — we took every effort to make sure the site is as simple,
convenient, and easy to use as humanly possible. On the other hand, as they
Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.
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