For immediate release

Blackboard and Berkeley Electronic Press Announce ResearchNow Content Blackboard Building Block

New Integration Tool Will Bring 85,000 Papers to Online Learning Communities

Washington, DC, and Berkeley, CA, February 28, 2006 – Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) and The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) today announced the launch of the ResearchNow Blackboard Building Block™, a new tool that integrates with the Blackboard Learning System™, enabling online access to tens of thousands of scholarly materials. The ResearchNow Content Building Block makes it possible for educators to search directly in Blackboard for access to more than 85,000 journal articles, working papers, institutional repository materials, theses and dissertations hosted within ResearchNow, The Berkeley Electronic Press's innovative database of scholarly information. Relevant resources may be easily selected and incorporated into the Blackboard Academic Suite™.

ResearchNow is a collection of academic materials drawing from several primary sources: the roster of peer-reviewed, Berkeley Electronic Press journals (27 and counting), bepress-hosted subject matter repositories such as the bepress Legal Repository and COBRA: The Collection of Biostatistics Research Archive, and all working papers, preprints and other "grey literature" content from institutional repositories hosted by bepress that have opted for inclusion. More than 50 schools – including the University of California system, Boston College, Cornell, and the University of Nebraska, as well as major universities in Europe and Australia – use the bepress platform for their institutional repositories. The bepress repository platform has been co-marketed with ProQuest Information & Learning since 2004 as Digital Commons. Collectively, ResearchNow materials have been downloaded more than 3 million times in the past year.

Blackboard provides educational technology solutions used by more than 2,200 academic institutions and corporate and government agencies in the United States and abroad, enabling millions of people to access educational materials and resources at any time and from any location.

Blackboard Building Blocks are third party applications that enable academic institutions to extend and customize their Blackboard® application. The ResearchNow Content Building Block is available for free download from the Blackboard Building Blocks Catalog (, and is free to use.

The Berkeley Electronic Press, as a member of the Blackboard Developer Network(SM), has developed a Building Block to expose ResearchNow content to Blackboard's worldwide community of 12 million learners and educators. Instructors using the Blackboard Learning System can easily search ResearchNow directly from within their Blackboard online course. A "browse by subject" option also allows for quick searching in academic areas ranging from aerospace engineering to urban planning. From the search results, instructors can select specific materials and embed links to them within their Blackboard course web site.

"The ResearchNow Content Building Block is a powerful example of how the open Blackboard Building Blocks architecture enables a Networked Learning Environment." said Matthew Pittinsky, Chairman of Blackboard. "The ResearchNow Content Building Block allows instructors to search the ResearchNow network of high-quality scholarship and easily incorporate these materials into their online classes."

"We are pleased to connect thousands of articles, working papers, and other scholarly literature with millions of instructors and students via the Blackboard Learning System," said Greg Tananbaum, President of The Berkeley Electronic Press. "The ResearchNow Building Block will bring innovative and topical content to the virtual classroom. This Blackboard collaboration brings first-of-its-kind visibility to both our peer-reviewed journal imprint and our rapidly growing Digital Commons institutional repository platform."

About Blackboard

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology. With two product suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite™ and the Blackboard Commerce Suite ™, Blackboard is used by millions of people at academic institutions around the globe, including colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other education providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

For additional information on Blackboard, please see:

About bepress

Founded by professors in 1999, bepress exists to serve academia. We deliver scholarly communications and publishing services for academic institutions, empowering their communities to showcase and share their works for maximum impact. Through our services bepress seeks to link communities of scholars, listen to their needs, and provide solutions to support emerging academic missions and goals.

Bepress is the provider of Digital Commons, the leading hosted institutional repository software platform. Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web in a beautiful, highly visible showcase. Digital Commons offers the features of a traditional IR as well as professional-grade publishing software, management tools, and individual faculty and researcher pages to promote and disseminate scholarship and serve academia.

With Digital Commons, universities can collect, preserve, and make visible all of their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, master's theses, conference proceedings, presentations, creative works, and a wide variety of other content types.