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Public Information and Communication

January 22, 1999

Jeannette Powell
402-471-7740, 800-307-2665

Electronic Information Available in Nebraska Libraries Statewide

The Nebraska Library Commission recently announced that libraries across Nebraska now offer the electronic information access that their customers need. State funding approved by the 1998 legislature and governor in the amount of $400,000 was added to the Library Commission's budget for fiscal year 1998-99. These state funds were used to contract for online databases, including full-text articles from hundreds of journals and periodicals, for local public libraries, school media centers, and college libraries across the state. The new state funds provide unlimited public access for all Nebraska libraries to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) FirstSearch reference service at no charge to any Nebraska libraries for this service.

The response is overwhelmingly positive. Librarians and library users are finding a wealth of information online. Recognizing that it is no longer necessary for libraries to own materials in order to provide access to information, libraries are able to provide information services that many would not be able to afford on their own. Libraries are able to add rich databases to their core of information services, customizing their offerings to their library customers.

The wealth of information available online can best be seen in these everyday examples: A reporter was able to do quick background research prior to interviewing an individual, accessing information about a speech the individual had given at a recent conference. A public librarian helped a local business person find and interlibrary loan a directory of prospective customers, resulting in new sales and helping to build the local economy. A local librarian helped a local service organization successfully compete for grant funding by connecting them with census information made available by government agencies. A school librarian opened up a whole new world to a high school student by showing her how to quickly access education journal articles and reports to help with a research paper.

To date, 624 Nebraska libraries are offering this customer service, including public libraries, school libraries (K-12), special libraries, academic libraries, and regional Library Systems. More than 900,000 Nebraskans have access to these information resources to help solve problems and make decisions in their everyday lives.

Information is available from these resources: WorldCat (online catalog of materials in libraries worldwide); NetFirst (bibliographic citations describing Internet-accessible resources); FastDoc (index of journal articles); MEDLINE (abstracted articles from medical journals); GPO Monthly Catalog (index to U.S. Government documents); ERIC (guide to educational journal articles and reports); World Almanac (database of The World Almanac); ArticleFirst and ContentsFirst (index of journal articles and tables of contents); PapersFirst and ProceedingsFirst (index of papers and proceedings of conferences); OCLC Union List (listing of periodicals in libraries); OCLC Electronic Collections Online (index and abstracts for journals on a variety of subjects); H.W. Wilson Select (full text of over 470 journals); and New York Times (all articles published within 90 days available as full-text documents; abstract and index of NY Times from January 1994 to the present).


The list of libraries offering this service.

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Home Page. Point your World Wide Web browser to

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.