I have been asked
to write something on Net access to libraries. Let me begin with this
encouraging statement: the decades-old dream of access to the world’s
library catalogues from home is now surely, but slowly, coming true.
First the slowly
part. Most on-line catalogues (namely those of well-established
reference and academic libraries) contain only recent acquisitions, with
older material being added retrospectively, as exiguous library budgets
Now the surely
bit, and here I suggest you start exploring using a search tool like Yahoo.
Yahoo offers links
to over 30 library-oriented subcategories, such as libraries by country,
engineering libraries, music libraries, psychology libraries, serials,
university libraries and so forth.
site is Internets *, which
provides a huge set of direct links, also by category, to on-line
databases. Both this and the Yahoo list tend to an American
slant, however, but that’s the way of the Web for the foreseeable
non-US English-speaking sites include those of the British
Library, the National Library of
Australia, the State
Library of New South Wales and a general site of links called Australian
Libraries. (Read the latter’s Frequently Asked Questions page
for good advice on Telnet software.)
As you’ll have
noticed, I’ve been referring to catalogues, not to the
collections that catalogues describe and index. That was the other
dream: to do away with books, and is quite a separate issue, the less
said about which the better, Project Gutenberg notwithstanding.
Since this article was first published in 1998, Internets seems to have vanished from the Internet