An online library is an internet resource that complies and catalogues information on printed works as well as digital works. Some online libraries may have eBooks and e-texts accessible with the site, increasing convenience to the researcher. Most academic institutions will have online libraries as resources to students to help them navigate their usual labyrinthine physical libraries catalogued by the Library of Congress classification system. Some free however, online libraries do exist, so long as the works in question have entered the public domain or have expressed consent to distribute content on behalf of the author or publisher.
What are some free public online library resources?
Most major public libraries maintain online catalogues and information related to their physical library locations. Depending on the size and scope of the organization, the website may also include information on special events and access to historical databases related to the municipalities’ history. Although these resources are usually free for library cardholders, some of the larger library systems, such as the New York Public Library will allow access to the general public. The University of Pennsylvania aggregated free eBooks from around the internet and has created a reference database that allows readers to view and find those eBooks.
What are some free online libraries?
Perhaps the greatest online library in terms of scope and organization is the Open Library at openlibrary.org. Open library is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is an initiative of archive.org as well as public funding from the California State Library and private funding from the Kahle/Austin Foundation. As this website is open source, users may edit and submit content, making the library a collective project. The Open Library hosts 1,000,000 free eBook titles that may be read at any time as well as a lending library where only one eBook is available and it must be returned in two weeks so that another reader may enjoy it. Users may also create and share reading lists or explore specific subjects as the books have been categorized for easy reference. Lastly, open library seeks to create the world’s largest catalogue, with every book ever published represented by a page on its website.
The Internet Public Library is a collection of library science professionals that have formed a consortium with the intention of providing easier access to library resources and educational projects. For instance, the iPL has created a “Presidents of the United States” collection to assemble biographical information, notable events and trivia on each US president as well as their cabinet. There are also research and writing guides for visitors as well as a database of newspapers and resources categorized by subject as aids to students and researchers.