Maryland Digital Library

Library Set to Launch in July
MARYLAND - JULY 6, 2000 The Maryland Digital Library Program (MDL) became a reality today as faculty, staff, and students at some 56 participating Maryland public and independent two and four year colleges and universities can access 400 electronic books and 2,945 electronic journals through a Web-based gateway called MdUSA (Maryland University and College Statewide Access to Electronic Databases).

The state-funded MDL has initially received $900,000 to provide Web-based access to 10 core electronic resources selected by a committee of librarians from each segment of higher education.

The MDL electronic resources, currently funded through June 30, 2001, encompass not only the 400 e-books and 2,945 journals, but reference works such as the new Oxford English Dictionary, the new online version of the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science, and History Universe: Access to African American Studies. The electronic journal content available via MDL includes the Project Muse titles consisting of all of the journals issued by the Johns Hopkins University Press in electronic form.

College and university librarians are currently seeking ongoing state support beginning in FY2002 at $3 million to continue and expand the program beyond the initial start-up year, both in terms of the number of databases and types of services.

Initially, state support for MDL has come from a combination of funds from the Information Technology Board and funds proposed by the Governor in his budget for FY2001. Governor Parris Glendening, commenting on the significance of MDL to the state said, "Maryland is a leader in Internet-based commerce, and Maryland students must be prepared for the information-based economy that is unfolding in this new century. Establishing the Maryland Digital Library program is an essential step to ensure that our state and our students continue to be in the forefront of the changing economy. Making high level electronic information available throughout the Maryland Higher Education community promotes teaching, learning, innovation and invention by both students and faculty." The state's support for the first year of the MDL Program acknowledges that funding of this type of initiative in states across the nation as well as in neighboring states has become a reality in the new Internet economy.

The MDL program also complements the state's support for SAILOR, a project of Maryland Public Libraries featuring Maryland information and a statewide network providing access to the Internet for libraries, government agencies, schools and the citizens of Maryland.

Through MDL the state also is putting in place essential information and library services which support E-Education any time, any where, and by anyone-- an extremely important concept for colleges and universities engaged in distance education, for employers whose employees seek additional education, and for employees seeking to pursue academic programs via distance learning at work and/or at home. Depending upon state funding, future developments in the MDL Program beyond access to licensed electronic resources include: better user access to material from any of the library collections of MDL participants via a Maryland Premier Academic Catalog (MdPAC), a Web based union catalog spanning the collections of academic libraries in the state and access to highly quality Web based content and information resources.

For further information, please contact Betty Day (301-405-9072) or go to the website /.