Thursday, February 20, 2014

Library eBook Lending

One thing I've been afraid of with the rise of eBooks is that those of us who depend heavily on interlibrary loan will be frozen out of the resources necessary to do research and keep up with our fields.  I'm glad to see academic librarians are on this:
But lending e-books may soon get easier. This spring a pilot project called Occam's Reader will test software custom-built to make it both easy and secure for libraries to share e-book files while keeping publishers happy—or so the software’s creators hope...
Scheduled to begin in March, the pilot will run for a year. If it works well enough, the library alliance hopes to make Occam’s Reader available to other academic libraries and perhaps to persuade other publishers to join in...
Using the web-based Occam’s Reader software, a lending library takes a stripped-down version of an e-book and loads it onto a secure web server. (Publisher metadata is removed in the process, Mr. Litsey says, to keep the feel of a print-book loan and—more important from a marketing perspective—as a compromise to preserve the potential sales appeal of publishers’ enhanced versions.)
Borrowed e-books can be read but not copied, printed out, or downloaded. The idea is to give borrowers quick access while reassuring publishers that copyrighted content will remain secure and can be shared without eating into sales.

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