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Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
will be possible via the encrypted online browser, and they are downloadable and read-
able via Adobe Acrobat Reader, and encrypted through Adobe Content Server.While Adobe's
encryption has been chosen to protect the content of the book in the downloaded dis-
tribution model, the rules of distribution are being kept separate from Adobe's propri-
etary rules in order to facilitate EBL's non-linear lending model.
The eBooks team realises that ebook technology is still in its infancy.They have
adopted an information architecture which they believe will allow EBL to accommodate
the changing technologies without having to be continually reinvented. For example, it
should be possible to change particular rules easily in response to the changing needs of
publishers and libraries and the changing technologies available. EBL should accommodate
ebooks in different formats, which use different ebook reader technologies or different
encryption measures. In its role as content aggregator and distributor, a real challenge for
EBL lies in finding a middle ground between the content providers (the publishers) and
the content users (the libraries). Defining the lending model has been an iterative process
of input and feedback between the libraries and publishers.The lending model was about
ninety-five per cent complete in December 2003, although a few additional changes will
be made to incorporate different types of content (e.g. textbook, monograph, and refer-
ence books). Many librarians have felt that the DRM specifications imposed by existing
ebook lending platforms are too restrictive, raising questions such as `Why should an
electronic book ever be unavailable?' and `Why should copy and paste or read aloud
functionality be disabled?'To date, most library systems impose the linear lending model
of print books. For the technology to be successful it must extend accessibility of ebooks
and do so in a way that is cost effective for libraries.The eBooks team believes that the
digital format has the possibility of enabling services which meet the needs of visually
impaired readers in ways that had not been possible in the past. Publishers have varying
levels of understanding of the implications of ebook functionality such as `read aloud',
and there is a fine balance to be struck between `read aloud' and audio books. eBooks'
contract with publishers enables them to provide `read aloud' functionality. A beta version
of EBL is due to be tested in March 2004 with participants including the Curtin
University of Technology
(Australia), CERN (Switzerland), and North Carolina
State University
and Yale
(both USA).
What eBooks has done with
publishers could equally well be
done with groups of heritage
institutions and provide them
with access to a distribution plat-
form to ensure that their content
was made accessible to a broader
range of institutional and indi-
vidual users in ways that ensure
appropriate income streams were
developed and their rights of
ownership protected.
228 `Non-Linear LendingTM limits the total number of lending days per year per title but enables multiple
concurrent access.' From "EBL Overview", eBooks Corporation, November 2003.
The eBook Library interface and document server
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