Friday, June 10, 2011

JISC Historic Books: new home for EEBO, ECCO and more

JISC purchased EEBO (Early English Books Online) and ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) many years ago, but each year we have to pay a fee to ProQuest and Gale Cengage Learning to access these collections on their platforms.

JISC Collections has now developed its own platform - JISC Historic Books - to provide access to EEBO, ECCO and the new British Library 19th Century books collection.

We will have to pay an annual fee to be able to access JISC Historic Books. The fee is less than we currently pay for access to the existing EEBO and ECCO platforms, but we cannot afford to pay for both this new platform and the existing ones. It is therefore likely that we will stop being able to access EEBO (from 1st Jan 2012) and ECCO (from 1st Aug 2011) on their existing platforms, and that we will access them from JISC Historic Books instead.

Saving money is not the sole reason for choosing the JISC Historical Books platform. It will also give us two additional, important benefits:

  • Access to British Library 19th Century books collection. This is the collection of 65,000 first editions from the British Library that Microsoft digitised when it was building a rival to Google Books. The collection has not been available online until now, and we will not be able to access it if we just remain with the existing EEBO and ECCO platforms. (The BL have just launched an iPad app for this collection, but the free app only contains 1,000 books, and the full app with all the books will require individuals to pay a subscription - and own an iPad of course!).
     
  • MARC records for all the books on the platform, a few months - or maybe several! - after launch. We did not purchase the MARC records for EEBO from ProQuest, or for ECCO from Gale Cengage Learning, but JISC Collections is working to build sets of free MARC records for its new platform. We will be able to load these into our catalogue (and thus into DISCOVER), so this should greatly boost visibility and use of these titles.
Trial access to the beta version of JISC Historical Books will be available again as soon as JISC Collections implement access control.

JISC Collections has carried out usability testing on this platform, and a number of enhancements are scheduled before it goes live in August, notably a much better advanced search screen. If you are interested in joining a national user group to provide feedback to JISC Collections about the development of this platform, please contact your liaison librarian.

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