AccessMyLibrary

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AccessMyLibrary.com (AML) is a web based federated search product produced by Gale, which prefers to market the product as a "search engine", although it is more similar in technology and results to a portal or metasearch engine. It is marketed as providing community-wide access to Gale databases and encyclopedias licensed by public, school, or college libraries. Gale provides access to its plethora of databases via one portal interface which can be incorporated into a library's own OPAC, or remotely through a web mounted interface which uses library card holders to log-in to gain access.

Typically, the content is available directly from a library web page, or through AML pages found through search engines. The AML page shows participating libraries in the user's area and gives access when the user provides an email address and a postal code or the name of a participating local library.[1] Libraries may customize the menu of data sources which are available to its patrons, although this may not be explained to users.

The content available on AccessMyLibrary is also visible in major general-purpose search engines, and is similarly available to the user through patron identification. However, it does not provide access to records outside of Gale products, so only records from Gale sources that are already on the Internet will be found through AccessMyLibrary and other search engines, like Google, for example. Results that are available on the Internet may appear in a different format in AccessMyLibrary.

The site currently offers nearly 30 million articles from leading magazines like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Consumer Reports and daily newspapers at no cost to the reader.

Many librarians may consider this a valuable service, as it provides a convenient way of access control where control by internet address is not practical. Some may be put off by the description of this as a "free" service, since the library pays Gale directly for patron access.

Recently[when?], Gale announced that the library discovery and authentication service on AccessMyLibrary was made available on Encyclopedia.com. This service allows library patrons to access content from the Gale Virtual Reference Library purchased by their local public library directly on the Encyclopedia.com web site.

Gale just released[when?] a free AccessMyLibrary iPhone app that connects users to a library within 10 miles via global positioning. Once a library is selected, the application allows access to that library's specific Gale resources. The app can also be used to locate a library's address and contact information. The app is being marketed as a convenient way to promote Gale's library resources while building community within the area surrounding these participating libraries.

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