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AccessMyLibrary.com Puts Library-Only Content On The Web

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AccessMyLibrary.com is a new site from Thomson Gale that has made content the publisher provides to library now accessible through the web. Searchers can go to the site directly, and if they have a US library card, access information behind password walls. Google and Yahoo are also apparently indexing abstract pages, so that relevant content may appear within regular search results.

Library Materials Given to Search Engines from the AP takes a closer look at the service, which was announced today.

Libraries offering free remote access to databases (think of them as vertical search engines) containing full text material (articles, reference info, etc.) from thousand of publishers is not new. As many of you know, I've been posting about this for a long time here on the SEW Blog and on my ResourceShelf site. In 2003, I wrote an article for SearchDay on this topic. Last week, I wrote a guest column for BetaNews that provides an overview about what you can find.

Needless to say, today's announcement is very exciting news. Hopefully, more people will become hip to the fact that many library services, not only databases, are accessible without having to go to the library building.

So, how will also of this work?

  • As you review web search results from Yahoo or Google you might find results from a Thomson Gale database. If you see material you might find useful, you'll click and determine if your local library is participating. Then, simply enter your library card number. Click again and the full text should be available.
     
  • You'll also be able to access Thomson Gale material via the Yahoo Subscriptions service. TG was named as a content partner yesterday. See our overview here. I would guess that some material will also be included in the Google Scholar database.

Remember, material is just starting to enter the Yahoo and Google databases. As Liedtke notes,

The search engines began scanning the Thomson Gale data Thursday, but it could be awhile before the material starts to emerge in search results.

Until then, these tips:

  • Simply and painlessly go to your library's home page (what I would suggest) and look for the link to their electronic databases. Again, more about this here.
     
  • You could also go to the AccessMyLibrary.com site, see if your library is participating, enter your card number, and begin searching.

A final caveat for now. Thomson Gale produces some great databases full of wonderful content from top publishers but they're not the only database provider out there.

For example, someone with a San Francisco Public Library Card can also access materials (full text books) and full text articles from many other database vendors including ProQuest, EBSCO, and even the Oxford English Dictionary.

Caveat aside, I think this quote from Clara Bohrer, president of the Public Library Association says it best,

"It's a real positive step," Bohrer said. "Most libraries just haven't been able to get the word out about all the wonderful resources that they have online. Hopefully, people will start finding more information through these searches and say, 'Gee, maybe I better go check out my local library's Web site and to see what else I can find there.' "


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