OverDrive, an e-publishing technology and services provider, has announced an agreement with Fathom. com, a university-sponsored online learning venture, that will allow visitors to Fathom's site to download articles, lectures and interviews as e-books in Microsoft Reader Format.

Fathom.com is a cooperative venture among 12 universities (Columbia University, London School of Economics and the University of Chicago among them) offering professional-development seminars and lifelong learning courses on a variety of subjects via the Internet. The site also allows students and visitors to purchase books for its courses through Amazon.com and Blackwells.com.

The new agreement makes use of OverDrive's ReadersWorks Connect, an application and service that allows the reader to convert Web page content instantly into e-text that is downloadable to a Pocket PC device, laptop or desktop computer using the MS Reader format. Fathom. com's hundreds of reference entries can be clicked and converted instantly into an e-book, said OverDrive spokesperson Dawn Clark. And Fathom visitors who have signed up for courses will be able to download lecture materials in the form of MS Reader e-books.

Steve Potash, CEO of OverDrive, said the technology was developed with Fathom, and he described it as "revolutionary. With no additional software, we are dynamically converting Fathom's HTML files into MS Reader e-books. Any Web site can offer users the benefits of reading offline."