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    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Library Science: Books for the blind get a much needed technology update. In other news, some public libraries are loaning out e-books. You no longer have to live in New York to enjoy the inventory of the New York Public Library:

    In the first eight days of operation in early November, and with little fanfare, the library's cardholders - from New York City and New York state and, increasingly, from elsewhere - checked out more than 1,000 digital books and put another 400 on waiting lists (the library has a limited number of licenses for each book).

    E-books are only one way that libraries are laying claim to a massive online public as their newest service audience. The institutions are breaking free from the limitations of physical location by making many kinds of materials and services available at all times to patrons who are both cardholders and Web surfers, whether they are homebound in the neighborhood or halfway around the world.

    Interesting concept, although I'm not sure how they get the material returned. Does it automatically become non-functional after two weeks? Whatever, it would be wonderful to see medical libraries adopt this sort of policy. Most medical journals are far too expensive for humble practicing physicians. As a result, most of us only subscribe to one or two. (Usually The New England Journal or JAMA in the States.) It would be great to have access to the original papers we read about in the news. Of course, the publishers of those journals probably wouldn't agree.

    UPDATE: A reader who has checked out e-books explains how it works:

    You wanted to know how the checkout period of ebooks worked.

    Yes, the copy you download only works for that amount of time.

    The way it works in King County, WA (I've got a Palm OS PDA and so I have
    downloaded a few here)

    1. It's a proprietary format.You have to have the reader for that type
    loaded on your browser.

    2. You get access for a specified amount of time. After that, you can't
    access it anymore.

    3. There are a limited number of ebooks you can have out at once.


    posted by Sydney on 12/10/2004 08:47:00 AM 0 comments


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