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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2002

Libraries offer online databases

By Kapono Dowson
Advertiser Staff Writer

For the first time in Hawai'i, the public will have access to 20 of the largest full-text reference databases available on the Web.

At home, in public libraries, or on school campuses, computer users of all ages can access full-text materials from thousands of magazines, journals, newspapers, reference books, biographies, encyclopedias and other publications, state library officials announced this week.

"Our patrons in Hana or Na'alehu can access material as easily as our patrons in Honolulu," said Lynn Masumoto, state public libraries director. "The goal is to have libraries without walls."

The Hawai'i Library Consortium, whose members include the Hawai'i State Public Library system, the University of Hawai'i system, the Department of Education, and some private schools and colleges, participated in the statewide purchase of 20 databases.

After almost two years of study, the consortium decided in April to hire EBSCO to provide the data at a cost of $350,000 for one year. The state library system paid 51 percent, the University of Hawai'i paid 25 percent, and the other members paid the rest, Masumoto said.

EBSCO Publishing, EBSCO Subscription Services and EBSCO Book Services form the EBSCO Information Services group. EBSCO maintains relationships with 60,000 publishers and manages a database of more than 282,000 serial titles, library officials said.

"In times of budget cuts, many of the libraries can no longer afford hard copies of magazine or journal subscriptions. They've had to let them go. There is no way you could have the full range of periodicals we have without the databases," Masumoto said. Because consortium members share in the cost, there is great savings for those involved, she said.

The Hawai'i State Library System has used EBSCO as its vendor for hard copy subscriptions for years and has been satisfied with its service, Masumoto said.

The 20 databases cover virtually every subject area for children, young adults, adults, college researchers and others, library officials said.

People can use the system on computers with Internet access at the public libraries, as well as those at public schools and the university. The system is not yet accessible on the Public Access Catalog terminals at public libraries.

Home users must have a valid library card number, and access to the Web. At the table of contents, scroll down to serials, click on "Electronic Databases" and click again on "EBSCOHOST" in the aqua column on the right.

Parents concerned about their children's use of the databases can subscribe to the state library's Parents Authorized Cyberspace (PACE) program, which restricts access, Masumoto said.