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Publicly Accessible Libraries


Over the last several years, most university libraries have switched from a manual (card) catalog system to computerized library catalogs. The automated systems provide users with easily accessible and up-to-date information about the books available in these libraries. This has been further improved upon with the advent of local area networks, dialup modems, and wide area networks. Now many of us can check on our local library's holdings or that of a library halfway around the world!

Many, many institutions of higher learning have made their library catalogs available for searching by anyone on the Internet. They include Boston University, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL), and London University King's College. invisible.xbm

To include a listing of some of the existing sites would not only be far too long for this document, it would soon be out of date. Instead, several lists are being maintained and are available either by mail or via FTP. Also, the Internet Resource Guide (IRG) also describes a few libraries that are accessible---see section Internet Resource Guide for further information.

Art St. George and Ron Larsen are maintaining a list of Internet-accessible libraries and databases often referred to as "the St. George directory." It began with only library catalogs but has expanded to include sections on campus-wide information systems, and even bulletin board systems that are not on the Internet. The library catalog sections are divided into those that are free, those that charge, and international (i.e. non-U.S.) catalogs; they are arranged by state, province, or country within each section. There is also a section giving dialup information for some of the library catalogs. It's available for FTP (see section Anonymous FTP) on nic.cerf.net in the directory `cerfnet/cerfnet_info/library_catalog'. The file `internet-catalogs' has a date suffix; check for the most current date. The information is updated periodically. invisible.xbm

Billy Barron, Systems Manager at the University of North Texas, produces a directory as an aid to his user community. It complements the St. George guide by providing a standard format for all systems which lists the Internet address, login instructions, the system vendor, and logoff information. The arrangement is alphabetic by organization name. It's available for FTP on vaxb.acs.unt.edu in the subdirectory `library' as the file `libraries.txt'. invisible.xbm invisible.xbm

For announcements of new libraries being available and discussion on related topics, consult the Usenet newsgroup comp.internet.library (see section Usenet News to learn how to read news).

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