Questia President and CEO Troy Williams has announced that the company’s online library–reportedly one of the largest online academic libraries in the world–is now being made available to high school students and educators. With a solid, four-year presence in higher education, the Houston-based company has a growing collection of 50,000 full-text books; 400,000 journal, magazine, and newspaper articles; and a suite of research tools. Its software works as an online companion, allowing students to do their research and build their footnotes and bibliographies on the fly. To promote its expansion into K-12 education, Williams said his company is allowing one librarian at every secondary school in America to receive a free, one-year subscription to Questia’s library of digital resources, which are pre-selected by a team of professional librarians. The total donation, reportedly worth $3.7 million, will provide secondary-school librarians and library media specialists with an opportunity to see how the technology can benefit students by expanding their existing library collections. “We are giving credible content from real sources,” said Williams. “With so much on the internet, it’s important to students to know they are using legitimate research materials.” Questia’s fully searchable library is XML-based and allows students to read only one page at a time, and there is a cap on the number of pages that can be sent to a printer–a key reason more publishers make their books available to Questia. The cost to districts is roughly $20 per student per year but can drop to under $10 per student based on a district’s size. A pilot version of Questia’s secondary-school program was tested in 44 schools in Texas, and Williams said 93 percent renewed their licenses.

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