ATLANTA, GEORGIA – March 3, 2021 – LYRASIS and Columbia University Libraries announce a new partnership to bring SimplyE, an open source eBook management platform, to Columbia University Library users. This partnership will increase access to materials available from Columbia University Libraries with an improved and more consistent reading experience and will foster discoverability and use of eBooks for all students and faculty at Columbia and beyond.  The first phase of the partnership includes approximately 20,000 eBooks prepared for discovery through CLIO (Columbia’s local Blacklight-based catalog) and delivered through the SimplyE mobile app, hosted by LYRASIS. The eBooks are now available to mobile devices used by faculty, students, and staff for full book download.

The goals of the project are to deliver an improved and consistent experience for reading eBooks. This can be broken down into the following three goals of searching for, downloading, and reading eBooks. 

Improve ways to make eBooks discoverable via CLIO Unified Discovery;Simplify fulfillment and delivery of eBooks; Enhance the reading experience on mobile devices.
LYRASIS took on key engineering tasks to make this possible by enhancing the SimplyE platform with Shibboleth / SAML based authentication and secure access controlled content delivery for self-hosted collections. This work was done with collaboration and support from Paul Swanson at Minitex and other technical staff at Columbia, New York University, and University of Minnesota. Through InCommon Federation, LYRASIS is able to simplify implementation and support of this key integration, and enable hundreds of academic libraries to leverage on-campus.

James English, Product Strategist and Project Lead at LYRASIS, says of the partnership, “LYRASIS is recognized in the academic library community as an innovator in content licensing, open source programs, and technologies. We are the logical partner for Columbia in its endeavor to improve the reading experience using open source technologies and global standards. Our experience in the industry and in particular with the Library Simplified (SimplyE) platform allows us to be a true innovation partner to university libraries, academic publishers, and content delivery platform providers adjusting to the challenges of today.”
Robert Cartolano, Associate VP of Technology and Preservation at Columbia, states, “Columbia Libraries is excited to be working with LYRASIS and other partners to imagine a better academic eBook reading experience. SimplyE for Columbia improves both the discovery and use of eBooks and advances our ability to acquire and deliver eBooks in an open eBook ecosystem.”

“The partnership between LYRASIS and Columbia Libraries has been transformative for this effort,” says Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS. “By working together we’ve been able to meld an innovative platform with the best of field content and research to create a tool that will change the way students and faculty use eBooks and their libraries. We are thrilled to have the chance to bring this to the Columbia University community and we are excited to continue building on this partnership.” While not part of the initial Columbia University effort, LYRASIS has additionally integrated Readium’s Licensed Content Protection (LCP) DRM in to the SimplyE Platform, opening more license model options for self-hosted content by libraries and university presses, and integration with content aggregators looking to move beyond Adobe ACS services. These efforts include enabling the SimplyE Platform hosted by LYRASIS to be used with the next release of the Thorium Desktop Reader. Thorium is a cross platform desktop eBook reader built for accessibility and cross platform use on Windows, Mac, and Linux pc’s. It is one of a number of Open Technologies and applications developed by the Readium Foundation members and maintained by the European Digital Reading Lab (EDRL) the European Headquarters of Readium.