The HEC - National Digital Library Program Explores Provision of E-Books (January 31, 2006)

One of the main objectives of the Higher Education Commission is to support and strengthen the research activity of researchers in Pakistan. This is a challenging task, as the demand for resources is highly diverse and there are many alternative technologies emerging to replace traditional business practices.

The Higher Education Commission has recently explored the opportunity of facilitating the provision of free online books in addition to the 20,000 journals that have been made available through the Digital Library Program. The E-books support program will allow researchers to access most of the popular books electronically over a varied range of subject areas.

Over twenty leading Digital Libraries of the World have been identified for free access. The most important of libraries include Project Gutenberg, containing a collection of over 5,000 classic literary books; National Academy Press, containing over 2,500 books in science, engineering, and health texts free online; and the Oxford Text Archive, containing more than 2,500 high-quality books for research and teaching. Also included are top medical dictionaries and encyclopedias such as Medical Encyclopedia and Medical Dictionary Online.

Access is free for all users who wish to download and use these books. A complete listing of books currently available under this Program may be viewed by visiting the Digital Library Website at HEC - National Digital Library. A number of foreign Institutional repositories have also been identified that promote usage of their online resources, and these included for reference.

In the near future, The Digital Library Program seeks to acquire more electronic books that cater to the specific needs of the public and private institutions participating in the Program. It is anticipated that researchers will greatly benefit from this new-fangled service and appreciate the material made accessible online.