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Duke University Press has just announced a new online access site for its books and ebooks, http://read.dukeupress.edu/. “Offering more than 1,600 titles and powered by the Folio eBooks solution, the site is the new home for the e-Duke Books Scholarly Collection, available to libraries for purchase,” according to the Duke U.P. announcement, but it also offers considerably more. “The new site is open to all users and dramatically enhances the discoverability of Duke University Press’s content,” the statement continues. ” It provides free access to the introductory chapters of every book in the collection and allows integrated searching and linking across book and journal content.” And additionally, “all Duke University Press books on this site are fully indexed and discoverable in the major search engines. Any visitor can explore our books, and patrons of purchasing libraries can read any book in their library’s holdings. ”

Obviously, this whole exercise is geared to the academic community rather than general readers, although it’s hard for a reader like me to avoid dipping into delights like Chinese Poetry: An Anthology of Major Modes and Genres, edited by Wai-lim Yip. The online reading interface seems well laid out and user-friendly, although also geared to require a login as soon as the open-access introductory chapter is passed. The new access site was put together by Stanford University’s HighWire Press on its Folio eBooks solution, which is apparently becoming one reference platform for online academic publishing.

“HighWire designed the Folio eBooks product to make it easy to find connections between scholarly content, regardless of whether the relevant information is published in journal articles or in book chapters,” said Tara Robenalt, HighWire’s director of product management, in the Duke U.P.  announcement.

For anyone wanting to take a look at how well this solution works for academic and general reading needs, or simply looking to browse the collection, the site is open for access, and even for cover-to-cover reading – if you have the right library card.

 
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