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November 05, 2010

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Dear Peter,

We read your blog LawLibrary Blog and we really like your blog (We definitely agree that there should be an Ebook corner in the library). We are currently developing a legal database, known as Jade (Judgments and Decisions Enhanced), which is part of our OpenLaw initiative, that seeks to provide free high-quality case law database services to legal practitioners all over Australia. We would love to get your feedback on our site. David Whelan, who blogs for Finding Legal Information in Canada says that we are the “site that gets it right” and this article can be found at http://fli.canadalawbook.ca/2010/05/21/free-australian-case-law-site-gets-it-right/

Some of our great features include:

1. Bookmarking - Through Jade you can mark and annotate useful cases and chose to be notified by email when new decisions relevant to your practice or interest arrive in Jade.

2. CaseTrace - Our most recent development is CaseTrace, which allows you to see paragraph-level, snapshot displays of cases that cite the case you are viewing. This allows you to keep track of the most recent developments in important legal principles, in a highly intuitive and simple display.

If you would like to know more about our other features please have a look at our blog: http://jadeful.wordpress.com/. We think that Jade is a really great website and we hope you like it too.
Kind Regards,

Si Qi Wen
JADE Support
+61 2 8815 9081 JADE Support
jade@barnet.com.au
www.jade.barnet.com.au (JADE Website)

Thanks, Brian. I don't mean exclusively this model. I like it when libraries loan ebook readers. I do also like the corner idea, as patrons can try a variety of devices, formats.

I don't know if I entirely agree with this - any ebook model that doesn't include a method for libraries to lend ebooks that patrons can read on their own terms is probably not good for libraries or library patrons.

I think libraries should be a complete resource in and of themselves, with patrons getting materials from us that they can use in a way that fits their needs. The problem I have with the ebook corner idea is that it kind of turns libraries into just a showroom or infomercial, primarily designed to drive sales for ebook publishers and sellers rather than provide access to information.

I do see the value in letting people try out devices before they buy, but libraries aren't about devices (be it an ereader, printed book, DVD, whatever) - we're about the information those devices contain (as an analogy, we don't loan out Blu-ray players to let patrons test them to see if it's worth buying).

So while ebooks are still new to everyone and the market hasn't exactly settled yet, I think libraries need to keep pushing for a model that includes us as libraries, serving patrons' needs.

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