What Law Librarians Should Know
Lyonette Louis-Jacques, firstname.lastname@example.org
D’Angelo Law Library, University of Chicago Law School
I-4, Turning the Page: e-Book Readers in Law Libraries
American Association of Law Libraries, Denver, Colorado, July 13, 2010
• Features of e-books readers – what law
librarians should know
• Results of survey of law library directors on e-
• Results of survey of law librarians and
computing professionals generally on e-
• Future of e-readers in law libraries?
Comparing E-Book Readers:
Kindle, iPad, nook, Sony Reader
– small, thin, lightweight, PDF
– The Kindle:
Comparing E-Book Readers:
Kindle, iPad, nook, Sony Reader
• Differences, general:
– prices range from $149-$499
– e-ink v. backlit display
– Touchscreen, tap, slide v. click, hit key
– storage capacity
– e-bookstore offerings, ebooks via public libraries?
– battery life, text-to-speech, 3G free wireless, web
browser, keyboard, color display, rotation, weight,
size, durability, etc.
• Debbie Ginsberg, Kathryn Broad (Cool Tools
“[W]e use our iPads for to keep up with news
and blogs, sketch out ideas and diagrams,
read all kinds of ebooks and texts, take and
share notes, and even do a little research.”
WestlawNext Loves the iPad
• *Greg Lambert, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, June
3, 2010 (maybe LexisNexis, Bloomberg too?):
“Ready or not... the folks at WestlawNext
seem to think that the iPad and other touch-
based, tablet-style computers are here to
stay and will be making a significant impact
in online usage in the next 18-24 months…”
See also, WestLawNext Mobile.
E-Book Readers, Mobiles Apps:
iPhone, Android, Blackberry
• Vicki Steiner, Mobile Applications for Law
Students and Lawyers
• Hadi Amjadi, Kris Niedringhaus, Android Apps
for Law Librarians (PDF)
• Melissa Serfass, Kama Sue Siegel, iPhone Apps
for Law Librarians…
• Blackberry Apps for Lawyers
• UN app for the iPhone (Charter, UDHR, etc.)
E-Book Readers, Survey I
• Law Library Directors email list (lawlibdir-
• 32 responses as of June 23, 2010
• Question #1: E-Readers Purchased?
• 14 Yes (I included 1 library that planned to
purchase e-readers here), 18 No
2. Which E-Book Readers?
• 12 out of 14 responding libraries own Kindles,
23 Kindles total, with 1 library owning 8; most
(8 libraries) own 1 Kindle; 4 specified owning
the Kindle DX; 2 own 0;
• 7 out of 14 libraries own iPads, 9 iPads total
• 4 out of 14 own Sony Reader, 4 Sonys total
• 1 out of 14 own the nook, 1 nook total
• 3 libraries own the top 3 e-book readers:
Kindle, iPad, Sony Reader
• 1 library owns all the top 4 (curiosity, value in
trying new technology)
• No responding library owns any other type of
• Most law libraries are not buying e-readers.
• Big gaps in brand ownership - the Kindle is the
most popular; the Nook the least.
E-Book Readers, Survey II
• eReaders in Law Libraries (SurveyMonkey, July
• AALL Computing Services SIS (cssis-l)
• Law Librarians email list (law-lib)
• International Law Librarians list (int-law)
• Law IT/technology/computing pros (teknoids)
1. Has your library purchased e-book readers?
• 77 out of 84 (about 90%) respondents have
not purchased e-readers for patron use.
• 7 or less than 10% have purchased 14 e-
readers for patron use:
9 Kindles (1 DX)
3 Sony Readers
0 nooks, eDGe, Que, iLiad, other
• Libraries that haven’t purchased cite:
– lack of patron requests
– possible licensing and copyright issues.
– waiting and seeing how the market develops – for
example, for public law libraries?
• Some libraries that have purchased are still reviewing
them – e.g. use the Kindle DX for document delivery?
• Libraries that have offered e-readers for patron used
indicate varying responses – patron express little
interest or love them.
2. Which e-readers do your patrons use?
• Kindles – 58 (10 DX)
• iPads – 28
• Nooks – 11
• Sony Readers – 10
• eDGe – 1
• iLiad – 1
3. Personal e-reader purchases?
• 42 responses
• 14 have no e-readers
• 22 have some Kindle iteration and/or app.
• 7 have the iPad and/or app
• 15 have more than one e-reader and/or app
• 3 Nooks
• No Sony readers
List of personal e-readers used
Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX
Kindle for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android
Kindle for PC, Mac, netbook
Stanza, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Overdrive, Zinio
magazine reader for iPhone
Aldiko and Fbreaker for Android
Ubook for Windows Mobile
iBooks and Good Reader for iPad
Why So Many? Some Guesses
• Weight differences
• Lighting / eye strain
• Wrist, shoulder pain / ergonomics
• Early adopters
• “I love my Kindle”, but
• Trying out new technology
4. Factors in Selecting E-Readers
• Very/most important:
– Ebookstore offerings
– Timing / wait and see
– Users’ preferences
Important: Size, Weight, E-Ink
Not important: Color
Other Factors Listed in Comments
• License restrictions and costs to upgrade
• Patron useability and lose-ability
• Proper pagination of the works
• Instructions in my language
• What law books are available for this device?
5.Primary Concerns with E-Readers?
• Too many to decide; no standard
• Not enough available legal, scholarly content
• DRM, usage and licensing restrictions
• Cost (and security, potential theft)
• Not sure patrons will use, need
• Functionality (cut-and-paste, pagination, note-
taking, not for serious reading, can’t jump
around, have multiple texts open, etc.)
• “Still have to shakedown the main e-reader devices. Too many
contenders and cost too much right now.”
• “Not convenient for serious reading done in non-linear
fashion, where one jumps around a lot between endnotes and
text and different sections.”
• “I think it's a transitional device. I think the iPad is the start of
the convergence that we'll see with the various hardware
apps. Students will be happier to have just one device that
they can use as a smart phone, e-book reader and word
6. Benefits of E-Readers?
• “…[T]hey can hold a lot of books and journal articles
in a small, lightweight package.“
• may reduce costs for students
• save library money, space
• earth-friendly, small footprint
• portability is the future; value in keeping up
• convenience, ease of use appeal to millennials
• alternate delivery of content
• “Compact and can hold many, many books in a single device. If we could
have a device for each practice group with the primary materials for each
including the main secondary treatises, it would be great to be able to
check those out to an attorney or even, depending on price, give each new
attorney one as a "desk copy" to keep in their office and to take with them
wherever they need.”
• “I think there is something to be said for not being left out when new
technology is introduced. Even if the use can't be immediately
determined. I think there is value in "keeping up" and learning new
• “I am unaware of any benefits of e-reading in connection with law at this
7. Any additional comments?
• “Our patrons' needs are going to be different from a law
school library, so how and when we consider incorporating a
tool like this will be different, too.”
• “Want the entire West Reporter system available on ereader.
Searchable and with digest & "good law" indicators.”
• “I recently saw an article that dedicated readers could soon
be an evolutionary deadend. Smart phone and IPad apps for
multipurpose gadgets will win out.”
Future of E-Readers in Law Libraries?
• E-readers are not widely adopted in law libraries now.
• Competing e-reader technologies, high costs, availability of
law content may continue to be major barriers to purchase.
• Four e-readers have some foothold in law libraries – Kindle,
iPad, Sony, Nook, but, are the days of these e-readers
numbered? Multi-function devices might win out.
• Law librarian/computing pro early adopters are playing a role,
trying out and reviewing the various e-readers.
• The future is mobile, and so must legal information/content
for e-readers be. Portability is the key.