E-Books Increase Library Research

Michael J. Arvizu
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale Community College, in cooperation with Pasadena City College, has built a collection of electronic books that can be accessed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

GCC and PCC began negotiations in March with NetLibary, the company that provides the e-book service, and in August the collection was ready for public use. So far, the GCC Library has roughly 600 e-books in its collection, with plans to expand.

The same criteria applies for e-books as it does for regular print books, whereas a student can check out an e-book for 24 hours for his or her personal use. After the 24 hours has elapsed, the book is returned to the collection.

A student may also browse the book without checking it out. The student may view the book and do any necessary searching or copying.

The student may also download the e-book onto their computer desktop. In this manner, the student has the option of using the book for his or her personal use. If a student wishes to download the e-book, the student must first download an e-book reader (about 5.6 megabytes), which can be found on NetLibrary’s Web site, in order to view the e-book correctly.

“This might be important if the user has to pay connect time to the Internet,” said electronic and public services librarian Linda Winters. The difference between downloading, browsing, or checking out a book lies in the time that the book is available to the student.

According to Winters, e-books have a check out period of 24 hours because research has shown that patrons who use e-books normally do not read the entire book on their screen.
Most patrons check out e-books for reference purposes.

“They [patrons] typically won’t use it [e-book] for more than 15 or 20 minutes,” said Winters.
Students can also access the service off campus if they have filled out a short registration form on NetLibrary’s Web site.

Students can search for e-books in much the same way they can search for regular print books. If a book is available in its electronic form as well as its print form, the catalog will show both.

The library plans to expand its e-book collection, and when it does, there will no longer be a check out period, which means that a user can only browse the book.

The user can browse the book for as long as he or she wants; however, if the book is left idle on the screen for seven minutes, it will “reshelf” itself; that is, it will become available for the next user who wishes to browse it.

Additionally, the library will begin to work on including public domain books (older titles that are no longer copyrighted) in its online collections.

Winters believes that with all of the online resources available to students in the library, e-books are the next step in allowing students to retrieve information about any subject.

Student can access the library’s online resources page at www.glendale.cc.ca.us/library/onres/local-index.htm. Students on campus and those who have registered on NetLibrary or filled out a remote access form can also access NetLibrary’s Web site directly at www.netlibrary.com.