Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Courses - Developing and managing ebook collections

This was a useful update on the state of ebooks in the UK and confirmed my suspicion that many things that would encourage their takeup are still not happening

  • no single comprehensive resource exists for ebook identification and selection

  • no standard business model or licensing agreement exists

  • each provider uses a different interface and software

  • ebook availability varies greatly between subject areas

  • more research needs to be done, especially qualitative analysis (currently being undertaken by JISC)

  • a large number of issues relating to the electronic delivery of information in general, not just ebooks, have not yet been fully resolved (copyright, archiving, security, authentication etc)

    During the day we had the chance to get hands on practice with several different systems. I thought it was interesting that one of the childrens ebook services had involved children in the design of the interface, and the result was both intuitive and enjoyable to use. (You can search for short books with blue covers about imaginary characters!) Not something that can honestly be said of many electronic resources, sadly.

    We also had the chance to compare our own experience with librarians from other institutions. It was encouraging to find that we are already doing some things that others are considering or are in the process of putting in place.

  • we have fully integrated catalogue records for our ebooks

  • we have a collection development policy that includes ebooks

  • we are using a variety of means to promote the use of ebooks (including blogging!)

    There are some areas we could investigate further, such as whether we could provide access to ebooks (and other eresources) for library visitors other than staff and students of the University.

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