Letters: Aid with too many strings

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Sir: I sympathise with the frustration experienced by Mike Ainscough (letter, 16 April) in trying to gain online access to the holdings of the British Library, but can assure him that his frustration will be short- lived.

On 20 May, in response to our users' needs and wishes, the British Library will launch OPAC 97, which will provide free access via the World Wide Web to the main reading room catalogues. Anyone with Internet access and a Web browser will have access to OPAC 97 without the need for any additional software or system.

A digitisation programme comparable to that of the Library of Congress would need funding comparable to that given to our American colleagues. Sadly, such resources seem unlikely to be forthcoming from this or any other government in the near future.


Chief Executive

The British Library

London NW1