By on November 4, 2003

I stopped at the library over lunch today looking for a book. A search of the catalog system — browser-based by the way — showed just what I was looking for, except that it was in a Collection called “Ebooks”, it’s status was “Web Access”, and that I had to go to to find it. Without even leaving the catalog station, I was able to browse through the pages of the book (in PDF) online and print them out if I wanted, but I ran out of time.

Once I was back at work, just for fun, I pulled up the library’s web page, searched there for the book, and found that after a quick registration at netLibrary I could read the book online from the comfort of my desk!

We offer the only comprehensive approach to eBooks that integrates with the time-honored missions and methods of libraries and librarians. Our vision is one of enhancing the role of librarians as stewards of knowledge, supporting their crucial role in serving millions of people every day who seek information.

To get access to netLibrary, you need to be a card-carrying member of your local library, and your local library needs to be an affiliate of netLibrary. But once you’re in you can “check books out” at your leisure, from wherever you are. One major annoyance is that you can only view one page of the book at a time, which seems to be built in to the system to discourage pilfery. It doesn’t make it impossible, just very inconvenient (so no adding to your personal e-book library.) Aside from that, it’s a neat system.