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Mobile Access To E-Books At Yale - Lisa Carlucci Thomas, 9/2009
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Mobile Access To E-Books At Yale - Lisa Carlucci Thomas, 9/2009

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What percentage of e-book collections at Yale University Library can be accessed via mobile devices? - Report of study conducted by Lisa Carlucci Thomas at Yale University Library, 2009. ...

What percentage of e-book collections at Yale University Library can be accessed via mobile devices? - Report of study conducted by Lisa Carlucci Thomas at Yale University Library, 2009.

Report delivered to Yale University Library & presented to YUL Committee on Digital General Resources (CoDGeR), September 2009.

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Mobile Access To E-Books At Yale - Lisa Carlucci Thomas, 9/2009 Mobile Access To E-Books At Yale - Lisa Carlucci Thomas, 9/2009 Document Transcript

  • Mobile Access to E-books at Yale Lisa Carlucci Thomas Digital Collections Librarian Electronic Collections Yale University Library September 2009 I. Introduction At the Yale University Library, e-books collections increased from approximately 475,000 titles in 2005 to over 1,000,000 titles in 2009. Concurrently, the demand for mobile access to information and e-books in particular has grown; fueled by technological developments and by the expanding number of digitized and born digital e-books readily available to consumers. This study explores the use of mobile devices to access the e-book collections of the Yale University Library; with the objective of identifying the percentage of e-book collections that can be accessed using such devices. The Yale University Library currently provides access to over one million e-books through subscription or purchase. E-book collections include content from ABC-Clio, ebrary, Elsevier, NetLibrary, Oxford University Press, Springer, and many more. With an increasing amount of library funds allocated to e-books, and ongoing advancements in the mobile technology and the e-book industries, it is important for us to be aware of how well mobile devices support access to library electronic collections. This study
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 2 examines access to of a subset of e-book collections of the Yale University Library using four mobile devices. II. Technology The term ‘mobile devices’ refers broadly to any portable digital apparatus used to facilitate reading e-books, from smart phones to pocket personal computers to handheld e-book readers. For the purpose of this study, four devices were selected from the spectrum of mobile readers on the market: the commercially popular Amazon Kindle 2 and Sony Reader PRS-500; the robustly featured iRex iLiad 2nd edition; and the multi-purpose Apple iPod Touch (with identical firmware to the iPhone). These devices, selected for this study in 2008, offer varying advantages depending on the needs of the user.  Amazon Kindle 2.0 The Amazon Kindle 2.0 is the e-reader device with the most widely popular following. Kindle has an eInk screen; and it offers direct purchase of e-book titles from the Amazon store, and wireless content delivery through Amazon’s proprietary Whispernet cellular network . Drawbacks of the Kindle are the requirement of a personal account for e-book purchases, clunky workarounds for downloading non-Amazon books into the required Amazon file format (AZW), and the lack of full web browser.  Sony Reader PRS-500
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 3 Like the Amazon Kindle 2.0, the Sony Reader PRS-500 is a dedicated e-reader equipped with an eInk screen, though slightly smaller than the Kindle 2.0. The Sony Reader requires a computer connection with specialized Sony e-book software to download content; there is no option for wireless functionality and no web browser.  iRex iLiad 2nd edition The iRex iLiad 2nd edition offers similar features to the Amazon Kindle 2.0 and Sony Reader PRS-500, with more advanced capability. The iLiad has an eInk touch screen, stylus annotation, and it supports many common formats. The iLiad is wi-fi compatible, but does not contain a fully functional browser. It is one of the most expensive of the dedicated e- book readers, and is not readily available in the US market and must be purchased online from iRex (and shipped to the US from the Netherlands).  Apple iPod Touch The Apple iPod Touch, and its firmware equivalent, the iPhone, are becoming increasingly common on campus. Its small size, wireless access to content, Safari mobile browser, and application store provide the convenience and opportunity to access e-books of multiple format types. This device connects seamlessly to the Yale wireless network, and offers VPN functionality. Of all mobile devices tested, the Apple iPod Touch is the only device with an LCD touch screen; it is also the smallest and most lightweight of the four devices. III. Methodology
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 4 Sample Once the devices were chosen, the first step was to select the sample to be tested. We used a locally created spreadsheet of e-book packages in the Yale University Library collection as the source document and considered several sorting options to determine the sample group: by publisher, by platform, by product size, or random selection. For this project, we decided to organize the spreadsheet by platform and select one e-book resource from each platform. The following 25 resources made up the sample group: 1. History Reference Online 2. Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts 3. Blackwell Reference Online 4. Books24x7 ITPro Collection 5. Cambridge Histories Online 6. Literature Online 7. Perseus Project 8. ebrary 9. ENGnetBASE: Engineering Handbooks Online 10. Eighteenth Century Collections Online 11. Gutenberg-e 12. ACLS Humanities E-Book 13. Knovel 14. Madame Curie Bioscience Database
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 5 15. Medieval Sources Online 16. NetLibrary (OCLC) 17. SourceOECD 18. Oxford Reference Online 19. Patrologiae Graecae 20. Past Masters 21. Safari Books Online 22. Early English Books Online, 1475-1700 23. Methods in Enzymology 24. Springer Protocols 25. World Bank e-Library Testing We tested each mobile device to see whether it could be used to access the e-book resources in the sample. Using the Amazon Kindle 2.0, Sony Reader, iRex iLiad, and Apple iPod Touch, we tested the following criteria:  Could you access e-book using device?  Could you use an additional method to access Yale licensed e-books on the device (for instance: bookmark, email, download, copy, or other)?  What was the format type?  Rate ability to access using following scale:
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 6 1. Able to access, but unreadable, unusable 2. Able to access, may be readable, difficult to view or navigate 3. Able to access, fairly readable, content viewable 4. Able to access, overall readable, sized to fit screen and can navigate without difficulty 5. Able to access, very readable, very easy to view content and navigate We tested “Could you access e-book using device?” by attempting to directly access Yale’s e- book resources with each device and its unique features. In the event that we could not directly access the e-book resources, we tested “Could you use an additional method to access Yale licensed e-books on the device?” by using a desktop computer to explore whether there was any means of providing mediated access to the Yale licensed e-book (e.g. bookmark, email, download, copy, or other), based on our knowledge of the technological functions of each individual device. Concurrent with this step, we took note of “What was the format type?” Finally, we “Rate[d] ability to access…” using the above scale grading. The tests were conducted and results recorded in an Excel workbook with the help of the Electronic Collections student assistant. III. Findings Through testing, we found that 84% of the e-book collections of the Yale University Library could be accessed using at least one mobile device, specifically, the Apple iPod Touch. The
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 7 Apple iPod Touch was the only device that could directly access Yale’s licensed e-books. Additionally, it had the highest-rated ability to access (64%), compared to the other e-reader devices tested. The tests indicated that the Amazon Kindle 2.0, Sony Reader PRS-500, and iRex iLiad 2nd edition could technically be used to access 24% of Yale’s e-books, but required additional methods, intermediate steps, and workarounds; along with a computer connected to the Yale network, administrator privileges on the computer’s operating system, and custom USB cable (specific to each individual device). Since the Amazon Kindle 2.0 requires an Amazon account and charges a fee to convert downloaded files to the proprietary Amazon file format, no files were accessed using the Amazon Kindle 2.0; though the findings indicated it would be possible aside from these limitations. APPLE IPOD AMAZON KINDLE SONY READER IREX ILIAD 2ND ED. TOUCH 2.0 PRS-500 Could you access e-book using device? YES = 21/25 (84%) YES = 0/25 (0%) YES = 0/25 (0%) YES = 0/25 (0%) NO = 4/25 (16%) NO = 25/25 (100%) NO = 25/25 (100%) NO = 25/25 (100%) Could you use an additional method to access YES = 6/25 (24%) YES = 6/25 (24%) YES = 6/25 (24%) YES = 6/25 (24%) Yale licensed e-books on the device (for NO = 16/25 (64%) NO = 16/25 (64%) NO = 16/25 (64%) NO = 16/25 (64%) instance: bookmark, email, download, copy, or N/A = 3/25 (12%) N/A = 3/25 (12%) N/A = 3/25 (12%) N/A = 3/25 (12%) other)? What was the format type? HTML = 10/25 (40%) HTML = 10/25 (40%) HTML = 10/25 (40%) HTML = 10/25 (40%) HTML/PDF = 4/25 HTML/PDF = 4/25 HTML/PDF = 4/25 HTML/PDF = 4/25 (16%) (16%) (16%) (16%) PDF = 7/25 (28%) PDF = 7/25 (28%) PDF = 7/25 (28%) PDF = 7/25 (28%) N/A = 4/25 (16%) N/A = 4/25 (16%) N/A = 4/25 (16%) N/A = 4/25 (16%) Rate ability to access using following scale: 1. Able to access, but unreadable, 3/25 (12%) 0/25 (0%) 0/25 (0%) 0/25 (0%) unusable 2. Able to access, may be readable, 2/25 (8%) 0/25 (0%) 0/25 (0%) 0/25 (0%) difficult to view or navigate 3. Able to access, fairly readable, content 0/25 (0%) 0/25 (0%) 2/25 (8%) 2/25 (8%) viewable 4. Able to access, overall readable, sized 1/25 (4%) 0/25 (0%) 2/25 (8%) 2/25 (8%) to fit screen and can navigate without difficulty
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 8 5. Able to access, very readable, very easy 16/25 (64%) 0/25 (0%) 10/25 (40%) 10/25 (40%) to view content and navigate [Blanks], n/a 3/25 (12%) 25/25 (100%) 11/25 (44%) 11/25 (44%) IV. Next Steps This test examined the ability to access to e-book collections of the Yale University Library using four mobile devices. Each device used in this study has unique technological strengths and weaknesses, and these should be investigated further in the context of enhancing access to electronic collections at Yale. Next steps should include exploring the specialized applications of the mobile devices based on the proficiencies of each device. For example, some devices may be better suited than others to provide access to course reserve, interlibrary loan, reference, and/or instruction materials. Also suggested is a consideration of alternative acquisition models to facilitate on-demand downloads and circulation of the devices. Finally, a study on mobile device use and preferences of the Yale Library community is highly recommended. V. Conclusion The advancement of mobile technology will have lasting impact on libraries as patrons increasingly employ new mobile methods of accessing library collections. Studies such as this one establish a critical baseline for the development of future services which will meet this growing demand. At the Yale University Library, the volume of e-book collections more than doubled over the last five years. There are presently more than 1,000,000 titles in the collection; and this study indicates that 84%, or approximately 840,000 titles can be accessed using an
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas 9 Apple iPod Touch or iPhone. Likewise, 24%, or approximately 240,000 titles can be accessed using the Sony Reader, iRex iLiad, and Amazon Kindle 2.0 (for a small file conversion fee per title). Further research is recommended to obtain information about the types of mobile devices prevalent on the Yale campus (as of the time of this study, statistics of this type were not being gathered by the Yale ITS department); the mobile library preferences of the Yale University Library community; and the usability of iPod Touch and iPhone as e-book readers. Librarians at Yale and elsewhere must be proactive in exploring these technologies, identifying the inherent opportunities, and developing the expertise to promote and facilitate access to e- book collections via mobile devices. Just as we expertly deliver content and services across format and function, we can demonstrate leadership by promoting mobile access to e-books at Yale. In order to do so, we must continue to build knowledge locally, expand upon the research herein, and take the risk of advocating for and implementing innovative and timely mobile services which support and maximize access to our e-book collections.