Magazine article Information Today

NetLibrary, Innovative Interfaces to Add E-Books to Library Collections

Magazine article Information Today

NetLibrary, Innovative Interfaces to Add E-Books to Library Collections

Article excerpt

NetLibrary, Inc. (http://www.netlibrary.com) has attracted a lot of attention lately through its major business effort to produce and distribute books. In its short corporate history that began in 1998, this Boulder, Colorado, company has attracted investments totaling over $125 million. It currently employs a workforce of about 350 and is aggressively working toward its goal of becoming the world's largest manager of electronic content. In March, netLibrary, Inc. and library automation vendor Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (http://www.iii.com) announced an agreement to facilitate the delivery of e-books into library collections. Under this agreement, Innovative will develop enhancements to its Innopac and Millennium library automation systems to help manage the integration of netLibrary's e-books into library collections.

NetLibrary in a Nutshell

NetLibrary's e-books emulate many characteristics of printed books. NetLibrary acquires distribution rights to books from publishers, and its staff renders the books into electronic form--working at a pace of about 500 titles per week. The company has worked out relationships with about 180 publishers and created about 14,000 e-books so far.

NetLibrary has established relationships with affiliate libraries that allow them to purchase sets of books on behalf of their users. Once a library signs on with netLibrary, its registered users can connect to the netLibrary site where they will find a collection of free public domain e-books as well as collections of e-books of copyrighted material purchased by their library.

The netLibrary online system enables users to treat e-books much the same way that they would treat traditional materials. Each e-book may be viewed by only one person at a time from that library and cannot be printed in its entirety or otherwise redistributed. If another user wants to look at a book that is in use, that user must wait until the first user is finished with it. Books can be "checked out" to a user, who then has exclusive access to that copy of the e-book for a defined period. To gain multiple access, libraries must purchase additional copies of a title. While entire e-books cannot be printed, selected pages can. Should a user attempt to print out an entire book, the system will display a copyright infringement notice. After about three of these warnings, the user is cut off.

Bringing E-Books to Libraries

I talked to Steve Silberstein, executive vice president and co-founder of Innovative Interfaces, and Woody Palasek, executive vice president of netLibrary, about the new partnership between their organizations. In its arrangement with netLibrary, Innovative Interfaces has agreed to create some specific enhancements in its library automation systems to support netLibrary's e-book program. The company will write software that will notify a library about new netLibrary e-books as they become available, thus enabling processing of payment for books the library selects. This system will include record-keeping and statistics features to assist the library in tracking these purchases. For one aspect of this joint project, Innovative Interfaces will develop a specialized acquisitions interface to accommodate netLibrary's e-books and business processes.

Integration with the OPAC

Another aspect of this alliance will result in a tighter integration of e-books into Innopac and Millennium, Innovative Interfaces' online catalogs. …

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