[ Issue 5 ]

Libraries keep Emily Bronto occupied for hours

Bikwil honours libraries


In Issue 5's Web Line Tony Rogers examines how far we are away from instant computer access to all library catalogues.

The decades-old dream of access to the world’s library catalogues from home is now surely, but slowly, coming true

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Web Line — Tony Rogers


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 permit.

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.

Another useful 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 future.

Some relevant 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.

* Note:
Since this article was first published in 1998, Internets seems to have vanished from the Internet

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