AUG. 24, 2001
CONTACT: Pat Wright, 661/664-2138, pwright@csub.edu

CSUB introduces books on-line

California State University, Bakersfield is taking part in a pilot project that will bring books on-line, available to students anytime, anywhere computer access is available. The eBook Pilot Project, sponsored by the California State University, will make available to students and faculty at all 23 campuses a collection of books, mostly encyclopedias and reference books.

The purpose of the project, according to Rodney Hersberger, director of libraries at CSUB, is to learn more about how students and faculty use electronic literature, to find out how useful eBooks are at increasing access to information resources, and to develop a model for libraries to cooperate in developing a collection that all can share.

"This is the future," said Evan Reader, director of system-wide electronic information resources at the California State University. "It will reduce hours of research to minutes. People will be able to get vital research information from home."

According to Hersberger, "Electronic journals are becoming mainstream in academic circles." He cited the availability of full text and good indexing of periodicals and journals. "[CSUB has] a good collection of electronic journals, in fact, many more than in print." However, he admitted to some skepticism about the acceptability of electronic books. "I don't now how adaptable the format is to books."

That is one of the objectives of the pilot project - to find out how well electronic books are accepted and used. The CSU team will evaluate content and delivery of electronic books. They will also compare costs of print books with that of electronic books.

"Some people say they wouldn't read a book this way; others love it and want more," Reader said. "Once people get the hang of it, they are going to discover a virtual library makes a lot of sense."

For the pilot project, the CSU has acquired the rights to 1,625 full text electronic books in a wide range of subjects, mostly scholarly reference books.

For more information about the eBook Pilot Project, visit the website at www.calstate.edu/seir/eBook_Pilot_Proposal.shtml.

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