Sooner Libraries Put Their Books On-Line

Article excerpt

Oklahomans now can access an on-line library -- a really, really big one -- via the Internet thanks to a consortium of state agencies. The Oklahoma Libraries Department has spearheaded the effort, giving a grant to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to purchase a statewide license to FirstSearch, an electronic information service offered by the Online Computer Library Center.

"This has been a dream of Oklahoma's library community for some time," Robert Clark, of the Libraries Department, said in a news release announcing the system. "Oklahomans have upgraded their technology at their public, school and academic libraries. We've invested in building the OneNet infrastructure and we've built a statewide on-line catalog of library materials. Now, through OneNet, we're bringing on-line access to current information resources on a variety of topics." FirstSearch will be available to state libraries, public schools, vo-techs, universities and state agencies through OneNet, the state's telecommunications and information network. All Oklahoma libraries with an Internet connection will be able to access the service and also make it available to their patrons for home use. Hans Brisch, the higher education chancellor, says the service "illustrates the results of cooperation and collaboration between state agencies to make the best use of scarce resources." "By working together, the state regents and Oklahoma Department of Libraries are saving taxpayers thousands of dollars while providing a service that is far superior to the information services formerly available to many Oklahomans," he says. FirstSearch will provide access to 612 full-text periodicals, a full-text encyclopedia, an on-line newspaper, the World Almanac and other resources to help meet the information needs of the state. Jon Walker, managing librarian of Tulsa Central Library, says the FirstSearch system will provide access to resources for "information poor" areas of Oklahoma and it will do so at a savings to taxpayers. "It's unfeasible to physically create major research libraries in locations throughout the state," Walker says. "It's too expensive to purchase the books and buildings to make this happen. …