A new digital service offered by Maine libraries will provide improved free online access to a growing collection of high quality subscription content. FILE PHOTO

YORK COUNTY — Maine libraries have launched a new portal aimed at providing improved free online access to a growing collection of high quality subscription content.

Known as the Digital Maine Library, the site allows any Maine resident to easily access thousands of magazines, newspapers, reference sources and learning materials from their home computers. The Digital Maine Library can be accessed online at www.library.digitalmaine.org.

“The Digital Maine Library is a replacement to the MARVEL virtual library of content that was launched close to 20 years ago,” said Maine State Librarian Jamie Ritter. “Over the years, the scope of the collection expanded to reflect the changing needs and expectations of library patrons and this service will make it much easier for resources and information to be accessed and searched.”

The Digital Maine Library incorporates feedback from librarians and patrons throughout Maine and allows users to easily browse digital content by audience, resource type, or subject. At its core is an enormous collection of educational materials and academic journals aimed at students, teachers, researchers of all ages, and the public.

For lifelong learners, there’s online training and career tools as well as resources to help with test preparation.

Newspaper content is among the most popular collections on the site, including a database of newspaper articles from five of Maine’s daily newspapers as well as access to subscription content from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other newspapers, and magazines from around the world.

Other popular collections include business and legal resources, language learning tools and the MyHeritage genealogy database. The portal can also be used to search subscription databases at Ancestry.com for anyone visiting the site from a computer at their local library.

One of the biggest changes with the new Digital Maine Library portal is how the subscription content is accessed online. Due to licensing restrictions, access to the content is available only to users within Maine. In the past, that meant that visitors to the site were required to register and login with information from their library cards.

The new portal leverages updated technology to provide users the option of geo-authenticating their location as within Maine and will eliminate the need for most visitors to create user accounts.

“We wanted to re-envision the traditional MARVEL! resources and the way people accessed them,” said Janet McKenney, Director of Library Development at the Maine State Library. “Our new website, logo, and Digital Maine Library brand offers us the opportunity to bring in new users across the state by breaking down barriers to access these resources as well as to offer new types of content, like an online language learning tool.”

The subscription content is paid for through funding provided by the Maine State Library, the University of Maine and Colby, Bates and Bowdoin colleges. The system is administered through the Maine InfoNet library consortium.

“Working together, Maine libraries are helping transform lives through access to quality sources for learning materials and information online,” said Maine InfoNet Director, James Jackson Sanborn. “Now, no matter where you are in Maine, you’re always at the library.”

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