Library Consortium Tests Interlibrary Loans of e-Books

Duke University’s libraries lend printed books to students and faculty members at other institutions all the time via interlibrary loan. But the university’s 900,000 e-books are off limits to anyone beyond the campus.

Robert L. Byrd, Duke’s associate university librarian for collections and user services, would love to lend out those e-books. But he can’t even share them with users at nearby North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Because of technical and licensing restrictions, library patrons at those universities—Duke’s partners in the Triangle Research Libraries Network—can see e-books in the library catalog, but they must visit Duke’s campus to read them. “The inability to loan e-books really undermines the services we provide to our users,” Mr. Byrd says.

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.

Click here to view the entire article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

To read more about the subject, another article from American Libraries Magazine:  Sharing Ebooks on the Razor’s Edge.

Library books were once chained to medieval library shelves.

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