Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ebrary: search and PDF enhancer


Ebrary takes PDF versions of publications -- typically supplied by publishers -- rips them apart and reconstructs them so they can be entered into a searchable database. A downloadable piece of software called the ebrary Reader embeds itself into Web browsers and allows users to view the documents, aided by a bevy of features not available in standard PDF readers.

Clicking on a word within an ebrary document, for example, triggers a pop-up menu that allows you to highlight text, look up the word in a dictionary, or search for it within the document, the ebrary database or the entire Web.

Ebrary's been around for nearly six years, but the company has grown tremendously in the past year or so. Its collection now totals 50,000 to 60,000 titles, from books and reports to journals and sheet music.

The 30-person company is privately held and is partially funded by three major publishers, Random House Ventures, Pearson and McGraw-Hill.