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E-Book Award of Possible Interest

Of possible interest.   Ann Okerson

February 14, 2000

For further information contact:
Ann Okerson, Associate University Librarian
Yale University

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Makes Award to NERL's BYTES Project

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has granted $42,000 to the Yale University
Library to fund a one-year pilot project that will be conducted by eight
of the eighteen members of NERL (the NorthEast Research Libraries
consortium).  The project is called BYTES, Books You Teach Every Semester,
and grows out of the NERL libraries' desire to exploit and influence
effectively the rapidly developing electronic book marketplace, which
began clearly to emerge in 1999.  The participating institutions include:
Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard
University, New York University, Syracuse University, University of
Connecticut, and Yale University.

Through pooling and analyzing bibliographic information about the reserves
collections of the participating university libraries over the course of
an academic year, in two areas widely taught to undergraduates -- history
and literature in the English language -- the investigators will attempt
to answer a series of fundamental, policy-shaping questions related to the
potential digitization of books and other reading materials that support
study and teaching in these areas.  These questions include:

What similarities and differences obtain between the reading materials
used to support basic courses at these schools?  Do these readings
represent a core group of materials that might be most usefully digitized
by the publishers?  Is there any clear sense of what types of books might
be most usefully digitized by the publishers and vendors making
investments the electronic-books arena?  Under what circumstances would
teachers and students using commonly taught works be interested in digital
collections?  How can institutions that are an important marketplace for
such materials influence the information provider community to convert and
render useful the materials that universities find of greatest utility and
value?  What is the relationship between academic institutions,
particularly the libraries that deliver much of the information supplied
to readers, and the e-book publishers or third party vendors that are so
rapidly springing up?

A report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will be delivered at the
conclusion of the pilot project, and results will be widely distributed to
the academic library community.