Home > Uncategorized > ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting: Ebrary To Offer Self-Service PDF Platform

ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting: Ebrary To Offer Self-Service PDF Platform

ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting: Ebrary To Offer Self-Service PDF Platform

As far as digitized special collections are concerned, the more exposure the better. With that in mind, ebook provider ebrary is opening up a portion of its platform to subscribers of its Academic Complete product. DASH!—short for “Data Sharing,” and a nod to the speed with which materials are processed—is a self-service tool to help libraries upload locally digitized materials to ebrary’s ebook platform.
Once uploaded, items function the same way as any other ebrary PDF; they will be searchable and browser-ready using the company’s QuickView reader.
According to Kevin Sayar, ebrary president, “it’s a simple progression of what we do naturally”: ingest PDFs and enable additionally valuable features, all in a cost-effective manner. “It allows [subscribers] to make content accessible to themselves and the public,” he told LJ. Libraries can choose to make local content available only to students and faculty or the users of a select group of institutions or leave it unrestricted.
After receiving a preview of the software service, Allen McKiel, dean of library and media services at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, called it “a very desirable feature even for small campuses like ours for integrating isolated resources into a database that will make them more discoverable and usable.”
Collections to come
Libraries will be responsible for their own digitization process, the company said, including conversion to the PDF format. In addition, libraries must input all metadata at the point of upload. Still, “there are quite a few libraries sitting on PDFs,” Sayar said, “[so] here’s an opportunity to make [those] available and accessible for free.”
The platform will be available for free to interested subscribers (currently between 750 and 1000 libraries in North America, according to the company) as of the 2010 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Boston, which begins January 15.
DASH! is still in its nascent stages, and company reps will be soliciting input from academic librarians at Midwinter about where to take the service and how it might best serve subscribers. A number of features are in the works, including a batch-upload process and the ability to organize materials into subgroups and collections. Bruce Barrett, technical product manager, also indicated that support for OpenURL may eventually be included as well.
While the service is not designed to be the primary outlet for any school’s digital collections, it may prove attractive as yet another means of exposing an institution’s digitized contents and leveraging the benefit of PDF enhancements afforded by ebrary’s existing platform.
“We will make use of it even in its simplest initial release,” McKiel said. “There are odds and ends of resources to which we have copyright that could be included in the Academic Complete collection.”

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