HEC to provide 40,000 e-books through digital library

ISLAMABAD, June 14(Dawn): The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to provide 40,000 online books in addition to 23,000 journals that have been made available through the digital library programme.

The e-books support programme will allow researchers to access most of the important text and reference books electronically in a variety of subject areas.

The HEC has acquired 40,000 electronic books of world's leading publishers that cater to the specific needs of the public and private Universities and R&D organizations, participating in the programme.

According to a pres release issued by the HEC, the main objective of the whole effort is to support and strengthen the learning activities of students in Pakistan. The students, faculty and staff will have access to e-books and all of the powerful research technologies offered through this platform.

Over 220 leading international publishers have been identified for the access including Oxford University Press, Taylor and Francis, Blackwell Synergy, BMJ publishing Group, Cambridge University Press, Emerald, John Wiley & Sins, The McGraw Hill Book Companies, MIT Press, Springer Publishing Company, Stanford University Press and Sybex Inc, United Nations University Press etc. containing a collection of over 40,000 e-books in varied disciplines, such as Business and Management, Information Technology, Engineering, Health and Biomedical, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, etc.

It is anticipated that students at undergraduate and graduate levels will greatly benefit from this powerful new service which will provide a tremendous source of important information to the student community.

Pakistan will thus become one of the first few countries in the world in which the entire student community in the universities will be given free access to a huge reservoir of knowledge. This represents an important and a historic step by HEC to improve the quality of education in our universities, and reduce the cost burden of higher education on students.

The salient features of the service include automatic save links to highlights, bookmarks and notes and storing them in personal bookshelves. The bookshelves can be shared by patrons, teaching staff, and administrators and items can be deleted at any time. Moreover, infoTools instantly links patrons from the full-text to other content within Ebrary databases, online resources within the subscribing library (federated search engines, ILS, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and third party databases), information on the web such as definitions, translations, maps, web search engines, and bibliographical information. InfoTools also allows patrons to highlight, annotate bookmark, print, copy and paste text from any document into any text application, complete with customisable bibliographical citations. The browsing options include navigating pages in the book with the requested search terms or flip through pages using the arrow buttons, unlimited users and browsing through a particular subject area. The service has user-friendly searching options. It includes searching everything in a book by entering text in one field, refining search results using the search results page, searching for words and phrases that are close to each otter and exploring from within a book, resources in the library, and on the Web. The advance search options include Text, Author, Title, Subject, ISBN, Abstract, Years of Publication and Keyword.

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