Visit Your Library Anytime, Anywhere

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 10/25/01
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"Never lend books, for no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me." - Anatole France

Fortunately libraries, public and private, have found a way of avoiding the problem above. I must confess to being a bibliophile. I love the look and feel of books and enjoy browsing the shelves of libraries and bookstores. I even like reading them. Search engines are truly marvelous but you'll hardly ever have the experience on the Web of finding a splendid volume on the adjacent bookshelf that you weren't looking for but just caught your eye. The virtual library is not here yet. And online books, limited in number, are difficult to read on a monitor; printing them with your ink-jet printer is not cost-effective. However, online library resources can enhance your access to all sorts of library materials. Library Web sites often provide searchable catalogs, allow you to reserve and renew materials online, find materials at other libraries, and have extensive electronic resources (databases, e-journals, and reference works) that are very useful for research purposes. Although free online books are presently limited to only tens of thousands of titles and generally only to titles for which the copyright has expired, this service can be very useful at times. If you should ever find yourself needing a classic work and the library is closed, don't despair. With a telephone modem, you can download the text of a 300 page book in less than five minutes. You can then search the complete digitized text for that particular phrase you were looking for.

The Minuteman Library Network (MLN)
The Minuteman Library Network is one of the state's largest library networks and is made up of 41 libraries (35 public and 6 academic) in Middlesex and Norfolk counties. Minuteman covers most of the Metrowest Region, and gives 655,000 library patrons access to over 1,120,000 titles, and over 5,850,000 items, including books, magazines, videos, DVDs and audiobooks. Borrowers may use any library in the network with a single card. Minuteman's total circulation for the last fiscal year was 12.2 million items. You can access the network catalog through this Web site and determine the availability of a particular item, view over 2200 general links, arranged by subject, view over 600 teen oriented links and over 900 links for kids, parents, and teachers, access databases and online books, and renew and request materials. A Virtual Catalog searches through many individual Massachusetts library catalogs for materials and then informs you who owns it and whether it is on the shelf. In coming months, the Virtual Catalog will allow you to request a copy from your own computer at home or the office.

Massachusetts Library Catalogs
Links to over 50 library Web sites in Massachusetts.

Winchester Library Web Site
Information and services, What's New, hours of operation, and a virtual reference room providing links to Web resources.

The Internet Public Library
The Internet Public Library (IPL) is a public service organization at the University of Michigan School of Information. The library maintains a collection of online ready reference works, responds to reference questions, creates web resources, and evaluates and categorizes resources on the Internet.

The Library of Congress
The Library preserves a collection of nearly 121 million items, more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. The services and resources of the Library of Congress are available to institutions, businesses, and individuals through this site.

The Boston Public Library
Electronic resources (e-books and databases), 24/7 live reference service, online catalogs, and much more. A great research resource.

The New York Public Library
Access CATNYP (Catalog of the New York Public Library) - includes over 3 million records for titles cataloged since 1972 and more than 2 million records for roman alphabet books and periodicals cataloged prior to 1972; Digital Library Collection - provides digital versions of books, manuscripts, photographs, engravings, and other items.

Harvard University Libraries
Hollis Catalog - Harvard's online library Catalog includes descriptions of over 8.5 million books, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, slides, photographs, and other materials housed in the libraries' collections; electronic resources - an extensive collection of online journals, full-text and citation databases, dictionaries and books (some items are restricted to members of the Harvard community only); links to Harvard's many libraries.

Berkeley Digital Library - Library Servers
Links to the Web sites of libraries all over the world.

The On-Line Books Page
Over 14,000 free titles available over the internet. Library closed and you need to peruse a copy of Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities"? Go to this site. The complete text is available online.

Project Gutenberg
Free online books. "You won't find the latest bestsellers or modern computer books here. You will find the classic books from the start of this century and previous centuries, from authors like Shakespeare, Poe, Dante, as well as well-loved favorites like the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Tarzan and Mars books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alice's adventures in Wonderland as told by Lewis Carroll, and thousands of others.

This internet archive is building a digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, it provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at either the Packer tennis courts or at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist.