By Justine Cotton, liaison librarian
On Christmas Day in 2009, Amazon sold more digital books than print for the first time in its history . From the growth of available content to the technology that powers them, e-books are gaining popularity among readers and will have a tremendous impact on academic research.
The Brock Library is pleased to introduce faculty, staff and students to the exciting new Scholars Portal E-Books platform. This new interface integrates content from commercial publishers with e-books in the public domain, making it one of the largest e-book platforms in existence. It provides access to a growing number of titles (currently over 40,000) from commercial publishers, including material from esteemed publishing houses such as Oxford, Cambridge, Springer, and Elsevier. In addition, 200,000 open access titles from the Internet Archive Project (including a number of books from Brock’s Special Collections and Archives) may be browsed, searched, and read online.
The Scholars Portal E-Books platform offers a number of innovations, including sophisticated navigation tools with links to related books and journal articles, the ability to print and download book sections, to browse by subject, and to download citations. Faculty who wish to use e-books in their courses may embed them in Sakai using the permalink feature.
The E-Books Platform is being developed as an expansion of Scholars Portal by the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), with funding support from the provincial government, to strengthen the research infrastructure for faculty and students in Ontario universities. It takes great strides towards enhancing the ‘discoverability’ and the functionality of electronic books and will continue to add new capabilities and expanded content. With services such as E-Journals, <odesi>, E-Books, RACER Interlibrary Loan, Refworks, and the Geospatial Portal (currently under development), Scholars Portal provides the backbone for the Ontario digital library infrastructure.
 Ante, S.E. (2010). Trying to avert a digital horror story. BusinessWeek, (4162), 50-52.