Key COLLECTION BUILDING themes: (from infographic)
- More books for increasing student numbers
- Improve the quality/breadth of research collections
- Quickly build collections for new expanded courses
References to support themes
From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
‘The current picture is one of publishers and others engaging in various paths to adoption of etextbooks, choosing among a variety of standards and formats now available. This has resulted in a complicated market and a series of difficult decisions for institutions wanting to adopt and embed the use of ebooks as a support for teaching and learning.’
‘In an academic culture that has used printed paper books for hundreds of years, the move towards the adoption of ebooks is a cultural challenge.’ … ‘the adoption of ebooks is about providing an alternative: ebooks can be effectively used alongside rather than instead of printed books. … At this time, we do not know for sure how ebooks (and other electronic content) are being used and applying models based on the culture of printed books may not be the best way forward, or even a valid way forward.’
‘Very occasionally publishers will withdraw an ebook. Unlike a paper book where purchasers retain their copies of the book, when a publisher withdraws an ebook it is removed completely from the system and becomes inaccessible.’
‘This may cause difficulties for institutions that have invested in ebook platforms and ebook readers. Publishers and aggregators may decide to shut down platforms or authentication services, making ebook collections inaccessible.
On a similar note, the sustainability of ebooks has to be considered by institutions, both in the short term and the long term. Publishers or aggregators may close down; as a result, access may be denied or have to be renegotiated in order to retain access to the ebook collection. Unlike a printed collection, once denied access, an ebook collection is gone; this radical change would require far-reaching adjustments to curriculum delivery or reading lists so as not to affect learners adversely. In cases such as this, institutions may need to replace ebook collections with printed versions or to invest in a different ebook collection.’
More books for increasing student numbers
Ebooks are well used—increasing demand from academics as well, especially in order to help them cater for modules with large student numbers. Statistics compiled for the annual Sconul return.
large numbers of students may require access to chapters or sections of books at the same time, for example, when they are preparing for a seminar. The library could never buy sufficient numbers of paper copies to satisfy this demand, and as the usage period is intense but relatively brief, it would be nigh on impossible to optimise the loan periods of print copies to match demand.
Improve the quality/breadth of research collections
Ebooks, notably through research collections like EEBO and ECCO, State Papers Online and Past Masters, are an efficient way to supplement the existing print collection to provide the depth required for a serious research library. These packages have enabled critical mass for research collections to be achieved quickly.
Final year undergraduates are amongst the heaviest users of the PDA e-book services. The library suspects that this is linked to their dissertation studies. It may also be coincidental that the emergence of PDA has coincided with a marked decline in Inter-library loan requests for monographs, but they consider it highly likely that final year students are using PDA instead of ILL. Students also comment that the ebook collections purchases are really helpful.