Curation_challenges_technology

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Curation-challenges-technology

Key TECHNOLOGY themes: (from infographic)

  • Barriers to single sign on
  • Formats developing and changing
  • Variety of devices
  • Which ebook platform to choose
  • Library management systems poor a handing ebooks

References to support themes

General

From the University of Chester ebook curation case study
The library’s top level users are totally comfortable with the technology and will adapt to different ways of accessing ebooks. It is harder for other students and staff who are less comfortable with technology and will struggle to access books across a range of different platforms. The library considers that the divergence [of ebook platforms] is a problem for library to work out not the user. “Our users do not care who provides the book they want the information and it is for the library to manage that.”

Barriers to single sign on

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study

Studynet [Virtual Learning Environment]provides ‘single sign on’ to electronic resources by embedding Athens with the student login to their personal portal on StudyNet. Athens authentication is independent of browser or device, and access by mobile devices is dependent on the ebook or ejournal platform.

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

The multiplicity of interfaces and platforms for e-content can be very off-putting to library users, and liaison librarians spend a lot of time helping users become proficient in exploiting an ever-expanding range of e-resources.

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education, November 2012.

[page 32]

Different platforms deploy different forms of authentication, and many platforms use more than one. Access processes need to be simple and, where possible, transparent: multiple logins should be avoided and, where possible, streamlined into a single login request (for example, via Single Sign-on (SSO) technologies). It is important to avoid the need for different authentication processes for off-campus versus on-campus usage of ebooks, as this difference can confuse and frustrate users: having learnt how to access a collection on campus in one particular way, many users may not understand why a different process is required off campus.’

Formats developing and changing

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
November 2012.

[page 41]

The ebook landscape is an evolving model with rapid changes in technologies and formats in recent years; however, it is still early days compared to other media such as music and films.

The surge in interest in ebooks and ebook readers may have caught many Higher and Further Education institutions by surprise. They may not yet be in position to exploit to the full the potential that the format can bring to education.

Variety of devices

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study
Summary
At the moment some of the key curation challenges are:

  • challenge of mobile devices-providing access to content that works well on a mobile device

 From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

Preferred platforms: The library would welcome research into the devices used by students to access ebooks. Tablets appear to be the dominant device, but what are students using? Where and what are they downloading, and how are they using it? Are there functions they would like to see which are not currently available? Which publisher/vendor products best meet their needs?

Which ebook platform to choose

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study
Summary
At the moment some of the key curation challenges are:

  • The ebook platforms themselves are still evolving rapidly so it hard to keep track/pace

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

More harmonisation and standardisation of in platforms – end users don’t really distinguish between books and journals. E-journal platforms have had more time to develop, and are generally more sophisticated and more intuitive than e-book platforms. Where publishers offer both e-journals and ebooks they should ideally be all offered via the e-journal platform.

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
November 2012.
[page 18-19]

‘Within education, the main delivery mechanisms for ebooks for students and staff are proprietary, dedicated platforms. These academic ebook delivery platforms provide the means by which users can browse and search for ebooks, and they also are used for displaying and allowing users to flick through the pages of an ebook. These platforms are either Web-based or accessed via specific applications installed on computers.

Problems may arise with some Web-based platforms that depend on using a specific Web browser (for example, Internet Explorer) and users for some reason do not have access to the required Web browser. Web-based platforms (and some other ebook applications) also often require Internet access in order to perform most functions including ebook reading, so they are unable to provide off-line access to ebooks.

These delivery platforms are supplied in the main by aggregators who collate collections from publishers and use the platforms to deliver ebooks directly to users. One criticism of many of these different platforms is that they can be unnecessarily complex and difficult to use. When encountering complex and diverse interfaces, learners often resort to using search engines such as Google and so remain unaware of the ebooks that their institution holds within its collection that Google does not reach. When faced with complex and complicated access methods and gateways, learners not only fail to comprehend the technology employed, but they also fail to see the need to understand it or why they should want to. Currently many platforms are, according to users, unintuitive and difficult to use. There are many reasons for this, but for many learners a key reason is that they do not use these platforms on a regular basis and do not have the time or the patience to learn how to use the platform in order to gain access to resources.’

[page 32]

Technical issues in adopting ebooks depend on the platform and types of ebooks in use. The main technical issue that institutions face revolves around authentication and compatibility.

Library management systems poor a handing ebooks

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study

The current generation of library management systems are not geared to PDA. The concept of delegating acquisitions to users i.e. the library doesn’t know what is being purchased till it is bought (from the ebook platform provider) is not a workflow amenable to LMS workflow. As PDA is so fundamental now any replacement for the LMS would be required to have capabilities for the management of PDA.

From the University of York ebook curation case study

For end users the ‘catalogue is now essentially represented by the Discovery Service (Primo). This means the Knowledge base is becoming more important. There are problems in how KBs manage ebooks– in large part because of the inconsistency/multiplicity of ebook identifiers.

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

experience suggested that where title level bibliographic records were available in the catalogue, usage of ebooks was much better. This is exemplified by the difference in usage of major collections like EEBO and ECCO, where usage soared once bibliographic data was loaded. Now it would be unthinkable to acquire ebook content without bibliographic data. The implementation ofour discovery layer, PRIMO, this academic year, has already seen a significant increase in usage of all our e-resources as they are being exposed much more thoroughly than they were via the standard catalogue interface.