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electronic library

ProBE: mission fulfilled

Scientific magazines can be consulted at Capes's Periodicals Gateway

BRAZA pioneer in Brazil, the Electronic Library Program (ProBE), sponsored by FAPESP, wound up its activities last December. Starting this year, the public universities and part of the São Paulo teaching and research institutions that took part in the program have access to titles published by Elsevier Science, Academic Press and HighWire Press, amongst others – formerly available on ProBE – through the Periodicals Gateway, maintained by the Coordination of the Perfecting of Higher Level Personnel (Capes).”ProBE has fulfilled its task of implementing the use of electronic publications in academic circles”, says Rosali Fávero Krzyzanowski, ProBE’s operational coordinator.

The program was created in 1999, in the form of a consortium that gathered together FAPESP, the five public universities of São Paulo – the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), the São Paulo State University (Unesp), the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) -, besides the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (Bireme/PAHO/WHO). In its first year of its operation, another 36 institutions joined ProBE. Since its implantation, there was a provision that FAPESP would offer the hardware infrastructure – by means of the ANSP Network -, the software for managing the electronic library, and that it would fund the acquisition of electronic titles for a three-year term. At the end of this period, the institutions in the consortium would take on the costs and the management of the program.

At the end of 2000, Capes implemented a project with a format similar to ProBE’s, that was accessible to institutions with postgraduate study programs that met its requirements. São Paulo joined the program in 2002, but some institutions that used to take part in ProBE were not qualified.

In an attempt to allow these institutions to have access to the retrospective collections acquired by ProBE, FAPESP is studying the proposal put forward by USP, Unicamp and Unesp to transfer these collections to the group of libraries of the Council of Rectors of the State of São Paulo (Cruesp). “If it all works out, the scientific community of the consortium will have available the whole collection of titles published by Elsevier, since 1995; by the Academic Press, published from 1996 onwards; and the complete collection of the Web of Science, since 1945, amongst others”, Rosali explains.

Positive results
The program’s results attest to its success. ProBE ended last year with 2,248 titles available in the various areas of knowledge. Between 2000 and 2001, the number of users who downloaded complete texts leapt from 303,500 to 2.2 million. A survey carried out in 2001 revealed that 49% of the users used the electronic periodicals more than the printed publications, and almost half of those consulted (47%) used ProBE more than ten times in the quarter.