Key WORKFLOW themes: (from infographic)
- Print and ebook workflow not compatible
- Constant change demands flexibility in practice and outlook
- Metadata moving away from institutional control
References to support themes
From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
There is a strategic role for libraries in the curation and cataloguing of ebooks into existing collections, to ensure that students can easily find and read ebooks using current systems and processes. Libraries also have a role in supporting students and staff in the use of ebooks and ebook platforms.
From the University of Chester ebook curation case study
Individual title purchases of ebooks are treated in the same way as physical book purchases with an additional process which alerts when the ebook is available, it is then added to the catalogue in the standard way. There are no real changes for staff reported except that the acquisitions process is simpler than for individual physical book purchasing. Where large collections are purchased specific funding monies are used. Access is enabled almost immediately then the library loads the titles onto their catalogue, this involves another member of staff who can set up a bulk upload of the records into the catalogue. Every two weeks records are loaded from catalogue on to Summon [the library’s search/discovery tool], this is an automated process.
Print and ebook workflow not compatible
From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study
Print processing is very streamlined-much of the activity has been outsourced. For example Hertfordshire use the Dawsons Fastraq service, which was developed jointly in the early 1990s by Dawsons and Hertfordshire. It has been challenging to establish new streamlined workflows for PDA. 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.
The workflow for weeding the printed book collections has changed with the advent of more and more ebooks. As new additions of print books arrived and were shelved the staff would automatically ‘bump’ old editions off the shelf. Ebooks are not shelved so as a new e-edition is added a workflow has had to be put in place to check for a remove old print editions.
There are tensions between the way we buy ebooks in order to get the most streamlined workflow compared to doing the utmost for the end users.
Title based purchases: The library uses the same suppliers -Dawson (Era) and MyiLibrary and orders are processed through the library management system in the same way as print. This means the same (streamlined) workflows including EDI (E-orders and invoices etc) as print.
Publishers are trying to encourage the library to deal directly with them. One of the advantages would be the titles were not subject to the DRM restrictions of the ebook aggregator platforms. As a consequence end users could have improved features in terms of downloading and printing. However in curation terms this would be expensive as publishers haven’t built in the same library workflow friendly process: the library would have to expend more staff resources to manage the process. It’s about trade-offs.
From a curatorial point of view the library is hoping that the move to Alma (ExLibris’s new library services platform) will make things much easier—notably in terms of workflows for econtent including ebooks. This may need some staff restructuring to take best advantage of new system approaches.
Ebook purchases are now well embedded in acquisitions workflow, and the main differences are with PDA, where there is more monitoring and approval of expenditure. New products are trialled throughout the academic year, and liaison staff work closely with colleagues in technical services and digital library services to ensure that any new collections being considered for purchase are compatible with library systems.
Constant change demands flexibility in practice and outlook
There is a variety of ebook models and these are still evolving. Each ebook platform provider has a different offering in terms of how it licences the content and the features that are available to users. This means the library needs to remain flexible and open minded to changes, including cataloguing, discovery and delivery arrangements and using third party services where appropriate to ensure added value from internal small scale and valuable staff expertise. Hertfordshire has used external classification and cataloguing records services where possible for over 15 years to focus the activities of its small internal team on adding value to the discovery and delivery of information sources as quickly and easily as possible for the user.
Publishers and aggregators change the business models they offer via the ebook platforms. This is a consequence, in part, of the early/still developing state of the market but it can be frustrating in terms of curation/management.
The dust has not yet settled on ebooks—things are still very dynamic. Features and business models are still evolving quite quickly. This means libraries have to be flexible and adaptable in their approaches.
The shift to e has inevitably required staff to enhance their IT skills, but experience gained from managing e-journals has greatly assisted the embedding of ebooks. The declining work involved in maintaining print collections has allowed the focus to be shifted into e-collection maintenance.
Metadata moving away from institutional control
Marc records for collections are loaded into the library catalogue where the records are provided at no extra cost as part of the package. Where collections charge extra for MARC records, these Marc records may not be taken and loaded into the catalogue, but access provided through subject ‘toolkits’ on StudyNet with just a collection level record on Voyager as an asset record. .