Partnership boosts e-book acces

Partnerships between electronic book providers and developers of library

automation systems are making access to e-books easier for library patrons.

A recent deal involves Data Research Associates Inc. and netLibrary

Inc. The companies are working together to integrate netLibrary's eBooks

with DRA's online catalogs and resource management software.

Librarians use the catalogs and software to organize their collections

and acquire new material. Now they can click on links for eBooks and send

an electronic purchase order to the book distributor.

"We create machine-readable catalog records for all of our eBooks, and

we can flow them into the library automation systems" when a purchase is

made, netLibrary spokesman Brian Bell said.

Electronic books can benefit libraries because they save shelf space

and are immune to loss, theft or damage. And there are no worries about

late returns. When the circulation period is over, a patron loses timed

access to the book. Libraries usually limit books to one user.

Patrons can search the online catalog from home by accessing the library

network and using an authenticated code. If the book is on the "shelf,"

the patron can preview it and check it out.

With agreements such as this, netLibrary gains access to libraries without

developing an automated system of its own, while DRA cost-effectively adds

functionality to its system, Bell said.

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