(Go back to the main ebook curation page)


Key ACCESS themes: (from infographic)

  • 24/7
  • Various devices
  • For disabled users
  • Off campus

References to support themes


From University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study.

Students and staff study and work in an internet age with expectations of continuous connectivity and immediate online access to information. This has conditioned student expectations of book availability. Whilst the days of visiting the library to use or borrow a printed book have not disappeared, at the University of Hertfordshire the use of printed books continues to decline significantly year on year. Given the anywhere, anytime immediacy of availability of the ebook combined with multi-user simultaneous access and improved search facilities, this is unsurprising. The opportunity to use the sources you need when you need them as part of your studies or work is surely the goal libraries have always tried to deliver on. It is certainly one the University of Hertfordshire aspires to for an excellent quality of student experience.

From University of Chester ebook curation case study

Ebooks are addressing the main issue of accessibility. Purchasing ebooks is not about adding value through content – the decision to purchase ebooks was to improve access to the library collections for all students. Collections are accessible to all students who can access the Internet and available at all hours and every day. Students and staff are actually disappointed that some books are not available as ebooks.

From the University of York ebook curation case study

The key benefit of ebooks is an improvement in terms of access, which includes discovery of the resources (MARC records for all titles are in the library catalogue) searchability within the resource content and availability 24/7 and to off-campus users.

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
November 2012.
[page 10]

‘Remote access is becoming more important to learners: they want to be able to access resources at a time and place to suit them, often on a device of their choosing.’

[page 24]

‘With the increase in non-conventional learners in HE, there are now many students who have neither the time nor the resources to visit the library building on a regular basis. They will not make relationships with the staff and will be unable to seek face-to-face help. They will be reliant on the support and access found in library portals and Web pages. Remote access is important to these students, they want to be able to access ebooks at a time and place to suit them on a device of their choosing. It is not just non-conventional learners who access resources remotely: a significant amount of access by all users occurred during evenings and weekends – outside the opening hours of many institutional libraries.’

[page 29] -Limitations on access

Depending on the platform in use, the collection, or the publisher concerned, limitations may have to be placed on how an ebook can be used. There may be a limit, for instance, on how many users can concurrently view an ebook on the platform: if one user “borrows” the ebook, then it may not be accessible to other users. If a user transfers the book to a mobile device, then it may then become inaccessible by others.


 From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

While 24/7 opening during term time provides enhanced access to print collections, e-access provides 24/7/365 and ensures that many users can access the same resources at the same time.

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

It is essential to ensure that out-of-hours staff feel comfortable and confident responding to queries about e-resources as users don’t appreciate having to wait for help until the day staff are back.

Various devices

From the University of York ebook curation case study

There are accessibility issues of platforms; for example, PDFs can’t be read by screen reader software when they are within the ‘online wrapper’ of an aggregator platform.

Most content is still PDF so lacks some flexibility -especially regarding mobile/tablets device

There is not a satisfactory way of the library curating Amazon Kindle titles. At the moment this is not a huge issue as most kindle titles are not mainstream academic fare. However users tend to expect that ebook titles should be available on their preferred device.

Disabled users

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education,
November 2012.
[page 22]
‘Managers within institutions should be aware of the need to consider the position of staff and students with disabilities. “Accessibility is important for all partners. For the JISC partners it influences an institution’s exposure under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)” (JISC TechDis, 2010a, p.1) . Early adopters are already discovering that ebooks can be a source of added support for students with print impairments.’

‘It is important therefore to ensure that institutional procurement policies and planning in respect of ebooks and ebook platforms take proper account of the requirements of readers with print impairments. Consideration should be given to the capabilities of different systems and how well those systems can serve the needs of visually impaired readers. For example, in the matter of magnification (a key functionality for many) some e-readers support magnification greater than font size 30, whereas others fail to meet this basic requirement of some learners with print impairments.’

[page 23]

‘As noted by JISC TechDis (2010b), guidance on accessibility is available to institutions working on the adoption and usage of ebooks in education. Agencies involved in this area have published useful documentation to assist library and other departmental policy makers with key decisions.’

Off-campus access

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study
Whilst the University’s LRCs have been open 24/7 since 1997, patterns of study on some courses mean that students are not necessarily on campus everyday or even every week. Students on education and health-related courses for example have frequent embedded placements in hospitals and schools within their courses.

From the University of York ebook curation case study

The library also manages aggregator packages/collections -e.g. from Ebrary—some subscription subject collections e.g. education, social science. They are one of the ways, adopted especially in the early days of ebooks, of building up content to meet the needs of (remote) off campus students in particular. Such students can’t easily access the campus based print collections.

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

It was initially thought that the growth of the e-library would lead to a reduction in the number of users visiting the physical library. Yet whilst usage of e-resources increases significantly year on year, so does footfall in the physical library.

 From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

New licencing arrangements to make it easier to accommodate students working or based overseas, especially when these are relatively small scale activities, would be much appreciated