Before we offer a look at another online book database, NetLibrary, a brief review.
Last week I wrote about ebrary, a company offering thousands of full text books (no limit on how much you can read) that licenses new books (in-copyright) to many companies, libraries, and other organizations. They also offer services (for a very low cost) for individual users that I cover in my article. For example, you can search/view about 20,000 books and pay about a $.25 a page to print or copy. Btw, the article also includes mentions of similar services like Books24x7 and Safari Tech Books.
OK, that was last week.
This week, a look at another service called NetLibrary (a division of OCLC) that has been around for several years and just last week passed a milestone, they've now digitized more than 100,000 titles (mostly new content). Additionally, NetLibrary offers ebooks, audiobooks, and even some ejournals online. The books are available full text and in some cases can be printed/annotated. Of course, all of the content is fully searchable. According to an announcement last week, more than 20,000 new titles have been loaded in 2005 alone.
So, where does the material come from? NetLibrary works with more than 400 publishers. Here's a list of those publishing partners.
Ok, this sounds cool but where and how can you access this material? Unlike some of the services I mentioned last week, NetLibrary doesn't offer a program for the individual searcher but rather provides its services through more than 13,000 libraries around the world. For example, the San Francisco Public Library offers a collection of NetLibrary materials that you "virtually" checkout from the collection.
As I've said many times before, NetLibrary and many other databases are accessible for free from home, dorm, office, anywhere with a web connection. All you need is a library card from a library that offers NetLibrary services. Here's an article with more about what's accessible. From ebooks, to audio books, to full text journals, and more. Every library offers a different collection of NetLibrary materials just like every physical library offers its own collection.
This Fall, NetLibrary 4.0 will debut several tools that you can learn more about here and see a screen shot of the interface. It will offer something that we're likely to see more and more of in the future from all databases, automatic summarization. More demos here.