Occam’s reader allows libraries to loan e-books to one another via an easy to use, web-based reader.

Academic libraries have practiced inter-library loaning of printed publications for many years, allowing patrons a wider selection of materials to support research and scholarship. With the increased publication and collection of digital e-books, libraries are faced with the need for a system that allows for the lending of e-books. A collaborative project between the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Texas Tech University and the Greater Western Library Alliance addresses this need through the development of Occam’s Reader, a software program that enables inter-library loaning of e-books and provides an easy to use, web-based reader for users to view e-books online.

The UH Mānoa Library Occam’s Reader team from left to right: Arthur Shum, Naomi Chow, Erin Kim and Wing Leung.

The UH Mānoa Library team, made up of Erin Kim and Arthur Shum from the UH Library Systems Office, Wing Leung from the library’s Desktop Services department, with Naomi Chow from the library’s Interlibrary Services unit, helped to program the web-based viewer for the project.

“It provides a solution that allows libraries to continue to borrow books for their patrons through the digital age, regardless of the book’s format,” said Chow. “It also pushes libraries and publishers to work together to insure patrons have easy and efficient access to academic and research content, so that students and researchers can continue to learn as well as contribute to the world’s knowledge base.”

National recognition

The Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative recognized the Occam’s Reader project team with the Rethinking Resource Sharing 2015 Innovation Award for embodying the principles of the Rethinking Resource Sharing Manifesto in its collaborative development of a system to provide inter-library delivery and user access to electronic books within the Greater Western Library Alliance and, soon, within the broader resource sharing community.

The award comes with a $500 stipend and honors individuals and/or institutions for improving access to information through resource sharing in their library, consortium, state and/or country. The purpose of the award is to showcase innovation in resource sharing and to encourage other librarians and libraries to make changes in their resource sharing operations to improve information delivery to library users.

For more, visit the Occam’s Reader website.