First of all, why? Why am I discussing ebooks? Ebooks have become such as big part of library collections (and our attendant work) that ALA dedicated an entire chapter to it in their 2012 and 2013 state of America’s Libraries Report
This graph shows the total number of ebooks (called electronic monographs in the study) that have been added during the fiscal year to the catalogs of 2 and 4 year academic libraries. The dataset was a survey of @ 3,7000 post-secondary institutions.ACRL’s 2013 Environmental Scan also touches on ebooks in discussing open access, publishing, collections building, and resource sharing
95% of academic libraries carry ebooks
69% have seen an increase in demand
41% is the percentage increase in number of ebooks from 2011
In 2011, ALA developed a special committee called the “Digital Content Working Group”; one of their primary issues has been ebooks. Just this year, the working group released the Ebook Business Models Scorecard for Public Libraries. “The Scorecardexplains the meaning of licensing terms often seen in ebook contracts. It provides a Likert scale to assess ebook contract aspects with vendors or publishers. The Scorecardalso canbe used by librarians to “weigh” the variables most important for their library. By completing the Scorecardthe library can identify what contract variables are essential, which can be used to craft a model contract for the library. “
Here are the terms outlined in the scorecard1 = no ebook content is offered; 3 = 1 copy/1 circ; 5 = all print content is offered as ebook content, with less restrictive terms5 = all content is available for sale1 = can’t; 3 = with publisher approval; 5 = can transfer to any library-designated platform4. This seems standard, no?5. 5= content is offered in fully implemented DAISY oe epub3 format. DAISY is an XML-based e-book format created by the DAISY international consortium of libraries for people with print disabilities6. 1 = no support; 5 = all ebook content is *easily* integrated into the library’s catalog
7. 1 = no alternatives to single user; 5 = many alternatives1 = no content offered; 3 = fixed number of loans; 4 = numer of loans sunset after a number of years or when the title is no longer offered for sale; 5 = favorable terms such as lease to purchase or the ability to sell items that don’t circulate1 = ebook pricing exceeds 3 times hardcover list; 5 = ebook content available at standard library discount (% 45%) from harcover list if a publisher is delaying ebook content, it should be discounted this is about publishers adding “friction” to an ebook sale. The scorecard suggests that if a vendor offers premium access, it should be no more than twice the hardcover list OR perhaps the library can negotiate check-out only withing the geographic boundaries of the library district1 = only in library; 5 = remote acess to registered users 5 = all content is available for consortial borrowing ALA has included a bit of negotiating advice: “Library readers are also heavy book buyers, and publishers value the role libraries play in connecting readers with authors. Libraries might offer to provide access to a publisher’s entire catalog (including books not yet purchased) as a way of connecting readers with additional offerings. This would also enhance integration. (In addition, by refusing to load titles excluded from library sales, libraries may gain leverage in reducing or eliminating embargoes.)”
These terms are interesting because they advocate that libraries take a more active role when acquiring content and working with publishers to develop pricing models that work for both the library and publisher.14. On a 5 point scale rank the publisher’s terms in which 1 indicates only purchased content is available for discovery through the library and 5 indicates all ebook content offered to the public is made available for discovery through the library including content not yet purchased by the library. By adding a “buy it” link in the library catalog, libraries can generate additional sales for the publisher. In return, libraries may negotiate for a share of the revenues generated through this channel, either as a direct payment or as a discount on future purchases.15. On a 5 point scale rank the publisher’s terms in which 1 indicates no offer of a buy-it link and 5 indicates all ebook content offered may have a buy-it link and revenues generated through the library link is shared with the library.Readers advisory: Librarians stimulate interest in books through their recommendations. By extending this service to ebooks, libraries will again connect readers with authors and books they might otherwise miss. Libraries may also enhance publisher offerings through reader and staff reviews incorporated into the catalog, and/or local recommendation engines
Why isn’t ALA’s scorecard also promoted for academic library use? Members of the Digital Working Group that created the scorecard span all types of libraries; there are quite a few academic librarians on the roster.
When I read the ALA scorecard, I wondered how it might be useful, as the scorecard read, in “identifying what variables are essential”. Perhaps by creating evaluative terms for ebooks, we can begin charting a course for how we want to shape our academic ebook collections and perhaps even services, in the future. Following are some examples of organizations and libraries who are already doing this.
Historically, JISC stood for Joint Information Systems Committee but is now know simply as JISC. “This is a project to develop a Digital Infrastructure Directions guidance for institutions on meeting the challenge of ebooks. It is a collaboration between JISC Innovation, JISC Collections, JISC Digital Media.”One of the outcomes of this project was a report, Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education.Paret of the introduction reads:However great this potential of ebooks may be long term, institutions need to acknowledge and work on cultural and technical challenges as a matter of priority nowThis report aims to help academic librarians, managers and members of faculty recognise andrespond to near-term challenges effectively. Its ultimate objective is to build a more widelyshared, well informed understanding of ebook fundamentals, so that project teams andinterdisciplinary groups as well as individual leading-edge innovators can proceed in areasonably coordinated way to achieve the potential of ebooks in academic contexts.
Preview graphic from forthcoming JISC report: the Challenges of ebooks in Academic Institutions.JISC will be releasing a report about the Challenges of ebooks in Academic Institutions in 2013; I don’t think the report has been released yet but they have an infographic outlining the main issues. Here’s a part of it.Perhaps one way to think about licensing terms is to think about challenges that you want to specifically address. Licensing is not just a matter of getting better pricing; licensing now directly affects workflow and technology. Should you negotiate for fuller records? Will you have to subscribe to an additional metadata service like Serials Solutions ebook records to supplement your ebook collection? Why aren’t the records that your vendor or publisher supplying adequate?
In Feb 2013, UC Libraries distributed a two-page “E-book Value Statement” to their libraries.The statement continues:The following statements of principle apply these values to the e-book marketplace and reflect our priorities. The UC Libraries are prepared to work with publishers, aggregators, and others within the academic community to develop appropriate standards and best practices that implement these principles. 1. Content supporting research and instruction2. Fair use and scholarly communication3. Positive user experience4. Product platforms5. Sustainable and fair business models
The UNC University Library has a 17-page “E-Books Platforms Recommendations& E-Books Collections Strategy”This is a more prescriptive mode: do this, don’t do this.It starts off:Because e-books are often available from more than one source, librarians need to be aware of which options generally would result in greater value and utility to the library and its patrons
Some ebook policies are quite simple: Top example is from Sarah LawrenceBottom example is from Weslyan University in Connecticut
http://www.bu.edu/library/research/collections/collection-development/cderes/NorthEast Research Libraries consortium (NERL)—now a part of another consortia, the Center for Research LibrariesSpecific Provisions of concern to Boston UniversityMutual indemnification between both parties to the agreement.Venue to be Massachusetts (as recommended by the University Counsel).Archival provisions to guarantee access to material following expiration of agreement (where possible).Access to all campuses of the University (unless cost is an issue).Access to off-campus faculty, students and staff.Access to students, faculty, staff and walk-in users, e.g., alumni.Off-campus access to alumni provided (if vendor policy, technical limitations, and cost permit).Permission for use in course packs and reserves.Permission for use for Interlibrary Loan with a preference for electronic transmission.Avoidance of auto-renewals unless a multi-year agreement with specified payment schedules or price caps. Auto renewals must require sufficient advance notification of renewal by licensor.
http://library.vassar.edu/about/collections/policy.htmlVassar has a values statement in their collection development policy.
Researching the topic of collection development specifically for ebooks, I began to feel like I was stumbling through trees, forgetting the forest. How is collection development of ebooks so different than collection development of ejournals? Well, more dollars are now being spent on items that we might not really own. Collection developlment is now increasingly about digital stewardship.
When I read through some of the collection development policies I found on the open web, I found quite a few that have not been updated in the past three, four, five years. A few policies mentioned maintenance for print items—what about maintenance for e-items? Are ebooks that are hosted by a third party considered capital purchases? Perhaps ebooks should be considered continuing commitments? This particular policy was updated in 2012 but BCR (a consortia that used to cover most of the central mountain states) closed at the end of 2010; EBSCO purchased NetLibrary in 2010. Maybe it’s time to revisit collection development policies in light of new formats--not just ebooks but streaming video, long-form journalism, e-only short-fiction, information or services delivered as an app—like Browzine.
Haven’t we been through this before in the late 90s when we started the massive switch from print to e-journals? I had a momentary crisis of confidence in the usefullness of my research but I soldiered on by posting an inquiry asking for ebook collection development criteria to a national listserv and to a few librarian acquaintances. My premiminary research shows that most libraries do not have ebook collection development criteria but many are in discussions. One place to start would be your current collection development policy; does it include any language about ebooks? Should it? Are we just waiting for a tipping point when our users will be as familiar with ebooks as they are with ejournals (or, we assume that they are indeed familiar with how to use ejournals) to make a Big Change in what we do or do we develop policies in smaller steps as we go along, iteratively?
Are we already at the the point of the “Big Deal” for ebook collections? Maybe we have strategies we’re learned from acquring e-journals that we can adopt for ebooks.
Evaluation criteria serve the practical purpose of keeping score of what ebook vendors are offering. Criteria is certainly handy when negotiating with vendors. Revisiting collection development policies in light of ebooks reminds us to revisit our policies when information or services in other formats arrive or user expectations change. Criteria can also be useful in charting a course for our overall collection development and starting a conversation about how our libraries might want to participate as more active buyers, and possibly creators, in the evolving publishing ecosystem.
Briggs Library is in the beginning stages of incorporating our current practices into a collection development policy for ebooks. Before we can plot out our chart for the future we need to know where we’ve been.
For years Briggs Library used ebooks that were somewhat old and static, fossils of a once vibrant collection called NetLibrary. After purchasing a few standalone titles such as Chicago Manual of Style and series like Green Society, Briggs Library decided in Dec. 2011 to jump into the modern waters of ebooks and subscribed to ebrary’s Academic Complete through Minitex. We also subscribe to Brill ebooks.
At Briggs faculty select their discipline general collection titles and then send their request on to the library. Our main book vendor is Baker & Taylor. We use B&T Link Online. It difficult to set up a PDA system for us because of budget restrictions and our faculty-driven selection system. Cost is important to us. Some patrons like ebooks, while others prefer print.
As Briggs Library continues the process of developing an ebook collection development policy (and periodically reevaluating our current ebook vendor) we will be asking ourselves some important questions. What are the advantages and disadvantages of purchase vs subscription models? Is price and content paramount or are there other issues? What about Purchase Driven Acquisition? How easy is it for users to download material and onto what platforms? Are ebooks accessible to individuals with disabilities? What about single and multi-user options? Can we easily reach someone to help troubleshoot technical questions?
Getting There requires planning. We need to know where we are and where we want to get to (or at least where we don’t want to end up). In short, we need a road map. And even though we have a destination, that destination keeps changing as technology and needs change.
An academic scorecard to help libraries like Briggs would be beneficial. So too would a megaphone that libraries could pool their concerns into a louder voice to get noticed by ebook vendors.
Ebooks in Academic Libraries: Keeping Score?
Ebooks in Academic Librariescreating a scorecard?Rita Baladad, MinitexPeter Bremer, University of MN Morris
Data-Planet by Conquest Systems, Inc. (2013). National Center for Education Statistics. Academic Library Statistics: United States: E-Books- Held at End of FY | Country: USA –[Data-file], Retrieved from http://www.data-planet.com, Viewed: April 12, 2013. Dataset-ID: 017-015-032.doi :10.6068/DP13DD65EABCD0How many ebooks?
95%Library Journal and School Library Journal 2012 Ebook Usage in Academic Librarieshttp://www.thedigitalshift.com/research/ebook-usage-reports/
69%Library Journal and School Library Journal 2012 Ebook Usage in Academic Librarieshttp://www.thedigitalshift.com/research/ebook-usage-reports/
41%Library Journal and School Library Journal 2012 Ebook Usage in Academic Librarieshttp://www.thedigitalshift.com/research/ebook-usage-reports/
1. Replicating the print model2. Inclusion of all titles3. Right to transfer content to a different libraryplatform4. Right to lend content indefinitely5. Accessibility for people with disabilities6. IntegrationGeneral Features and Attributes
7. Single user8. Limited number of loans9. Variable pricing10. Delayed sales with discounts11. Premium for immediate access to delayed titles12. In-library checkout13. Restrictions on consortia or interlibrary loansConstraints and Restrictions
14. Enhanced discovery15. Sales channelDigital Native Business Models andAdvantages to Publishers
Within academic libraries, “ebooks” is a fairly nebulousconcept . . . The term can also refer to reference books,electronic reference materials that may not evenresemble a book as we know it, academic journals,scholarly monographs, etextbooks, even long documentsavailable solely as Web pages.Library Journal and School Library Journal 2012 Ebook Usage in Academic Librarieshttp://www.thedigitalshift.com/research/ebook-usage-reports/
University of California LibrariesAs e-books evolve to provide essential content for use inteaching, learning, and research, the UC Libraries seekto develop the marketplace in ways that support ourcore values and the universitys mission. We believe it isour responsibility to help shape the scholarlypublishing landscape in ways that are responsive tothe needs of our primary users and that enable us to beeffective stewards of our libraries’ collections funds.
University of North Carolina1. General Considerations & Determinants of Value2. Select recommended publisher aggregators and individualpublishers3. Select other publishers as the next best e-book platform option4. Select general aggregators as the least desirable e-book platform,and, when necessary, do so in the following order5. Unacceptable e-book platforms for which the UNC UniversityLibrary does not have a license and has no plans to get one