Ebrary, one of the first online research companies, has announced that it is expanding its business beyond the ebrary.com online library to make its books, journals and periodicals available through Internet portals, marketing channel partners, search engines and other Web sites. At the same time, the company unveiled its ebrarian program for channel partners, enabling them to market and securely distribute their works to wide communities of Internet users. The company's business model allows users to browse ebrary's texts for free, paying only for printing or downloading the information they need.

"Our business goes well beyond just providing a destination site," ebrary CEO Christopher Warnock told PW. "Our strategy will benefit both our publishing and channel partners, and anyone who needs to conduct research on the Internet."

The ebrarian program is built on four points to help publishers become more efficient in serving customers, increase title usage and revenues and allow usage tracking. First, the ebrarian InfoTools provide users with easy-to-find definitions, translations, biographical information and maps, as well as following links to additional materials available on the Web.

Second, ebrary increases partners' site "stickiness," the rate at which readers stay at a site after linking to it, by allowing partners to integrate information in ebrary's collection with any content the partner wishes to make available to its customers.

Third, the ebrarian program provides real-time activity reports on micro-transactions, document viewing, usage and purchases, providing partners with data about which titles are used most often, while protecting user privacy.

Finally, ebrary's open-access model enables search engines and Web sites with search capabilities to freely index the company's content, and provide links directly to ebrary's collections, increasing site traffic for the portal, the publisher and ebrary.

By charging only for copying or printing information, Warnock said, ebrary ensures copyright protection, while recapturing for publishers and their marketing channel partners revenues that would have been lost to photocopying services. According to Warnock, the free viewing also encourages the sale of print and electronic documents by allowing consumers to "browse before buying."

According to company officials, the price to license ebrarian will vary according to organizations' individual requirements, including customization and hosting services.