Gale Introduces Virtual Reference Database; Announces Distribution Agreement with Product News Network

Sep 12, 2003

Gale has announced a new program that integrates e-reference books in a database interface. To be released in October 2003, Gale Virtual Reference Library is designed to allow libraries to select from an initial collection of more than 50 reference sources--encyclopedias, almanacs, and series--to create a customized, integrated online information service.

Each library customizes Gale Virtual Reference Library to fit its needs, selecting from titles to serve children's, academic's, and general audience needs. Gale manages the library's collection, showing patrons only the titles it has purchased, which can be linked from the library's OPAC through MARC records.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is accessed from a common menu that integrates the library's Gale databases, eBooks, resource centers, periodical databases, and electronic journals from Ingenta. Users can search a single eBook or search across the entire collection. Hyperlinks are used throughout, allowing users to travel to related content within the collection, from the table of contents and indexes to appropriate text, as well as to relevant external Web sites.

While the titles have a variety of typical eBook navigation features, such as tables of content and hyper-linked indexes, search functionality is more typical of databases, with basic and advanced options that allow users to broaden or narrow their searches. Results screens look much like an InfoTrac search, with opportunities to mark, download, email or view relevant articles and essays. HTML formatting is used for navigation and results displays, but users can click on a PDF link to see the page in a traditional page layout.

To introduce the Gale Virtual Reference Library, Gale is offering free access fees for the first year if librarians sign up for this new product by October 31, 2003. The special offer is good on a single eBook or a collection. Additional savings are available if the print and eBook formats of the same title are purchased. For archiving purposes, a copy of each eBook will be delivered at the time of purchase. Libraries have the option of selecting either an FTP delivery or a CD.

Gale has also announced a content distribution agreement with Product News Network (PNN), a service of Thomas Publishing Company LLC. Through Gale's online services, customers will have the ability to access PNN's content, including more than 1,000 new monthly product news items and over 200,000 archived articles from North American manufacturers. In addition, users are able to locate new and archived product announcements by conducting product-heading, keyword, and company-name searches on each Web site or subscription system.

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