Services & Policies - Spring 2001

NetLibrary Makes Ebooks Available

If you are searching the Weinberg Library's OnLine Public Catalog and find a title you wish to retrieve, but are puzzled by the fact that the location code shows only a holdings note called "electronic text," then you have accessed a title from the Library's newest service called netLibrary. As a member of a state consortium of academic libraries (PALCI), the Weinberg Library has gained access to over 2,000 current titles in electronic format (eBooks) in virtually all areas of the curriculum, with an addition 4,000 titles in the public domain (through Project Gutenberg).
 
Promising to be the first major change in book publishing since the introduction of the paperback in the 1930's, electronic books offer the Weinberg patron the opportunity to read a page, a chapter or a whole book from their laptop or desktop anywhere in the world. NetLibrary, the most established of the for-profit digital archives, currently provides its services (for a fee of course) to more than 1,000 academic libraries, and 70 large public and corporate libraries as well.
 
The books are selected from the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles for the current year, so they are pre-screened for quality of content and pertinence to the university environment. They vary in coverage from programming language titles (such as java or perl) to more esoteric subjects, such as the archeological expeditions in the Florida watersheds in the nineteenth century.
 
You can search or preview eBooks as an anonymous user without establishing a login. To actually check out an eBook, you must first create a user account. This account must be established from an authenticated PC on the University's campus (Library, dorm room, lab or office). Once the account is created, you may use your account to log in from any computer with Internet access.
 
You may access the netLibrary titles in several ways. Simply access the Library's homepage from the University's website (www.scranton.edu), click on OnLine Public Catalog and do a keyword search by typing netLibrary into the search box. You will get a complete list of all titles currently available to the University of Scranton community. You may also access the netLibrary database from the Electronic Index page on the Library's homepage. With netLibrary, you can search every word in the entire collection, as well as search within a particular eBook. You may preview any title for fifteen minutes, looking at the table of contents and subject headings or you simply check it out without sampling the content. Here is where the account information is essential. In order to check out the title and download it to your PC, your account information must be entered. The checkout period is three days for PALCI titles and 24 hours for the general collection. You must have at least five megabytes free on your hard drive for a full download. Once the "loan" period is over, the file turns to unreadable characters, and you must delete it in order to free up space on your hard drive.
 
Printing is available, one page at a time, so there is little chance that this product will replace the traditional monograph you usually check out for one month at a time and read at your leisure. What it will do is give the patron a wider breadth of current titles that may have a more transitory or reference- oriented nature, and provide access to this material outside the traditional four walls of the Library building.
 
If you'd like a demonstration of this new service, or have any questions about setting up an account or downloading a title, please feel free to call the Reference Desk at 941-4000 or the Systems Desk at 941-6135.
Betsey Moylan