Consortial PDA of eBooks


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To broaden the scope of their consortial collection and embrace new technological possibilities for acquiring ebooks, the CTW Library Consortium of Connecticut is piloting a patron-driven acquisitions model. Come to this Lively Lunch to learn about this project -- why it was implemented, the criteria used for making consortial decisions, and how this cooperative effort is working so far. Then take this opportunity to share your PDA
experiences with colleagues. Discuss what’s working well (or not!) and brainstorm how the model could be improved to make it a sustainable option for libraries’ long term collection development needs.

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  • Thanks for coming to our Lively Lunch!
    We are three of the people on the CTW Collaborative Collection Development committee.
    Beth Hansen coordinates collection development and oversees technical services (plus other things!) at Connecticut College.
    Lorri Huddy's position is funded by the grant.  As project coordinator, Lorri has very skillfully herded us cats to keep the project moving forward!
    And me, I am University Librarian at Wesleyan.
    For the next half hour we will do a presentation on our consortial ebook purchase-on-demand program, while you eat lunch. You will have a chance to ask us questions, and then we will start asking you questions!
    Finally, we will have a discussion about your experiences with ebook PDA programs—what works well, what doesn’t work so well, and your wish list for changes and additions.
  • A few basics about CTW and the libraries that make it up:
    CTW is a consortium of three liberal arts schools in CT:
    Connecticut College in New London, Trinity College in Hartford, and Wesleyan University in Middletown.
    Our schools have a combined student FTE of 9,800 almost all of whom are undergraduates.
    The libraries’ materials budgets total $6.6 million.  
    The CTW Consortium was established in 1987, to share the costs of an online library catalog, and to share physical collections via a daily delivery service.  We have also worked on several collaborative projects.   
    In 2007 we were awarded a grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore collaborative collection development which enabled us to hire Lorri Huddy specifically for grant-related projects.   
    Lorri analyzed our three collections, separately and together, to gauge the strength of our combined consortial collection.  We then instituted a pilot project to purchase single consortial copies of expensive, supplementary print books through YBP.
  • At the beginning of this grant project we were still very much thinking about how to share our print collections, and not as much about our electronic holdings.   But about a year into the project, our selectors started asking us why we weren’t talking about sharing ebooks.
    Of course, we all have ebooks, as ebook subscriptions, reference works that we buy title-by-title, and as part of full text databases.  And the more we thought about it, the more it made sense to think about how we might share ebooks. 
    In addition to all of the advantages that we’d already experienced with our individual ebooks, a consortial ebook purchase on demand collection would give us the added benefits of instant sharing and purchase only titles with demonstrated utility—because our patrons actually used them.
  • We compared the features of these four ebook aggregators.   
    Our primary criteria were:
          -- having access to many publishers and titles via one platform
          -- Multi-user access to ALL titles; with no or minimum turnaways if simultaneous use exceeded limit
          -- Assurance of long term access even if something happened to the  vendor or we decided to stop PDA or switch vendors
          -- Ability to fine-tune the profile to meet our curricular and research needs
          -- A print–on–demand service—just in case we got a request
          -- Strong vendor relationships with publishers, to negotiate terms of access
    On the basis of these criteria, we selected MyiLibrary / Coutts.  
    We were also impressed with their eagerness to work with us as a consortium, and their future plans for the service, including:
          -- working with publishers on ILL issues,
          -- giving users the option of purchasing a personal copy of the title
          -- expanding PDA to include a print option.
  • Here are the major components of our profile:
    Subject Parameters:  Focused on all LC classes/subclasses that support the curriculum at all three schools, including interdisciplinary topics.
    Blue = LC areas included in profile
    Red = specific limits on LC areas
    Non-Subject Parameters:
    University presses and a list of academic publishers
    Originally published on or after 2008
    English language
    Less than $250 for multi-user price
    Included materials that are easy to use in e-format:
    Essays, collected works, criticism, short stories
    Excluded types of titles normally not purchased:
    Textbooks, manuals, reprints, abridgements, numbered series, professional materials, etc.
  • Here’s how our program works:
    - MARC URLs open description page – this does not constitute a session
    - Links off description page (i.e. Table of Contents) open the book
    - When the book is actually opened a session starts and counts toward purchase of that title
    - Titles purchased on 2nd session
    - No limit on # of pages looked at during a single viewing
    - Print 10 pages at a time but multiple sets of 10 per session
    Up to 4 simultaneous users but no turnaways
    (library to let Coutts know if ebook placed on reserve)
    MiL monitors usage -- CTW to be notified if abuse suspected;
    -- access may be suspended until situation resolved
  • Here’s a look at our numbers – these reflect 10 months of data from late January until the end of October.
    We’ve received just over 3,700 PDA records so far.
    The 340 total titles opened = 9% of our total PDA offerings .
    Although these counts and percentages may seem low - we’ve spent 84% of our $25,000 deposit account so this may be a good balance between titles offered and available funds.
    Our session stats definitely show that titles are being re-used after purchase
    A full 83% of all sessions were in titles actually purchased.
    >> we average 6 user sessions per title purchased but actual sessions per title range from 2 to 92
    # Pages Viewed:
    In Titles Purchased: average of 77 pages / title
    In Titles Viewed Once: average of 9 pages / title
    Highest page counts:
    Highest number of pages viewed during ONE session: 160
    Highest # pages viewed in ONE title: 852 pages during 92 sessions
    A final note – One set of facts we don’t know is how much printing / copying / downloading is happening since MiL stats compile these into “Pages Viewed”.
    These are important figures that we would like to see broken out individually in the future
  • One of our desired outcomes for the project is that the PDA titles that we purchase get re-used.
    This chart shows how often our purchased titles were re-opened AFTER the two views needed to trigger a purchase.
    Over half (52%) of our purchased titles have been re-opened 2 or more times. An encouraging sign…
    But over one third (37%) have not been opened at all since purchase and 11% have only been opened once.
    This is somewhat discouraging since the philosophy behind PDA is that titles purchased will be those of real interest to our users – and subsequent usage will support the outlay of these resources for PDA in the future.
    We’ve also been discouraged to find out how often one-page sessions triggered purchases – more details to come on this.
    Breakdown of subsequent usage after first 2 views which triggered purchase
    Total Titles Purchased: 150
    Total # Views #Titles Views after Purchase
    2 Views Only 55 (36.7%) None
    3 Views17 (11.3%) opened Once
    4 Views21 (14.0%) opened Twice
    5-10 Views36 (24.0%) 3-8 times
    11+ Views21 (14.0%) 9+ times
    11-20 Views13 (8.7%) 9-18 times
    21+ Views 8 (5.3%) 19+ times
  • A final measure of our success will be the ability of our profile to identify PDA titles that truly focus on common curricular and research needs. This means purchasing titles that get used across CTW.
    As this chart shows, an encouraging figure of 25% of the 150 titles purchased have been used on 2 or 3 campuses.
    This is actually a slight improvement since the last time we pulled together this data in May*.
    At that time, only 21% of titles purchased were used on 2 or 3 campuses.
    This indicates that we might correctly assume that cross-campus use will increase as titles remain in our shared catalog.
    *In May 2010, CTW had purchased 84 titles and consortial usage was:
    66 titles (79%) used by one (now: 112 titles – 74.7%)
    17 titles (20%) used by two (now: 36 titles – 24%)
    1 title (1%) used by all three (now: 2 titles – 1.3%)
  • Titles that fit: We feel that we have developed a relatively tight profile. Coutts’ experience with print collection development provides detailed profiling and allows libraries to limit PDA to titles we would buy if all that $ was available!
    Publishers & Titles: We have been relatively pleased with the total # of publishers & titles available. We continue to monitor titles to be added to our program to make sure that new titles fit our profile parameters.
    De-duplication Service: CTW chose to opt into MiL’s de-duplication service that removes existing library holdings from PDA offerings.
    Initially, all our print & ebook holdings were de-duplicated to maximize the unique content received. Subsequently, only titles held in triplicate were removed - but this needed to be done manually which delayed our new record loads. So, following a consultation with Coutts, we now only send only ebook holdings in an attempt to reduce duplication among vendors. 
    User Access: One of the features of our arrangement with Coutts is multi-user access across the Consortium with no turn-aways. This seemed quite important at the time but we wonder if this is as great an issue as we perceived it to be. We may change our thinking on this as more faculty begin to link PDA titles into their Course Management sites (Blackboard, Moodle) Stable or permanent URLs are currently only available at the title level and not at the chapter level.
    Acquisitions & Cataloging Workflows: We see the ability to maintain a deposit account as essential. This has greatly eased our workflow in handling shared purchases. OASIS & MiL Admin also allow viewing of patron and acquisitions activity in real time.
    Following the initial set-up, record loads have gone relatively well with only a few glitches. Coutt’s staff generally has a good grasp of library expectations and technical requirements for our records. The need for edits and changes to their records has been favorably received.
    Customer Service: We’ve received good service from both our “official” Customer Service reps and all of the staff. Our sense is that any problems we encountered were likely due to the learning curve on both sides and possibly to PDA’s growing popularity for both public and academic libraries.
    AND now on to some devilish details…
  • Workload: Both the libraries and Vendor underestimated the oversight needed for PDA – many details have needed unexpected attention and follow-up.
    Successfulness of PDA = heavier workload for account reps. Plus, our account needed a bit more hand-holding due to the consortial set-up and special things MiL agreed to do for CTW.
    Invoice checking is time-consuming. It requires pulling monthly statistics and tracking over time to collate views that occur months apart.
    Prices must be looked up separately to consolidate the invoice.
    An unexpected task: reporting titles not invoiced that should be and vice versa.
    Acquisitions: our PDA collection has not built up as quickly expected; delays seem due to workload issues mentioned.
    Users’ Expectations: want to print and/or download common-sense portions of content (i.e. full chapter or essay), not be limited to 10 pgs at a time. Due to the popularity of the other PDAs – (personal digital assistants) we’re starting to get asked about downloading onto devices of our users’ own choosing.
    Publishers vs. Titles: Once publishers sign agreements - they are routinely added to vendors’ counts and put on the list, but not all have actually provided content. Plus, there’s no standard practice for when the ebook will be released.
    In order to establish new practices using PDA as an integrated part of CollDev, truth in advertising is needed about publishers and titles available. Libraries and selectors need to know exactly who has e-content and when it will be available.
    Usage Stats: We’d like more information about users’ behaviors:
    How much printing/ downloading/ copying & pasting is happening?
    How much time is being spent in the ebooks?
    Are users creating accounts and using platform features?
    Which platform features are the most popular?
    Triggers: what constitutes an actual use that should count toward purchases? …
  • One page sessions are somewhat quaintly referred to as the “Oops factor”
    A user opens the book - either purposely or accidentally - and goes no further. Only 1 page is viewed during the session.
    If it’s the 1st or 2nd time that the title is opened, its purchase gets triggered - partially or completely - due to an “Oops” session.
    What’s the likelihood these sessions will count towards a purchase?
    We found it to be fairly common: 35% of our purchases (52 titles) were triggered at least partially from these sessions. Of these, 10 titles were purchased completely due to one-page sessions
    We’ve been told the majority of such sessions are probably accidental, so how might PDA programs take this into account?
    Although it’s impossible to account for some user behaviors such as:
    -- opening the ebook to see an otherwise freely available TOC or
    -- accidentally closing the browser and re-opening the same title which then triggers its purchase
    It seems possible to address “Oops” sessions to a certain extent…
    One possibility: count only 2+ page sessions towards purchase
    These more accurately indicate actual usage and align more closely to library expectations for usage
    But … an acceptable (and negotiable) alternative might be:
    If “Oops” sessions occur during the first 2 Views: allow at a minimum, at least 1 additional view to trigger the actual purchase.
    If this policy had already been in place - what effect would it have had on titles CTW has purchased so far?
    Of the 52 titles that CTW bought due to “Oops” sessions:
    67% - 35 of them - would have been purchased anyways due to subsequent usage. Only 1/3 of these titles would NOT be purchased yet.
    So why so much attention to details about what triggers a purchase?
    …because of multi-user pricing
  • A desired outcome for CTW is to save money by sharing ebooks. Here’s what we’ve experienced so far:
    For multi-user access, we’re averaging ~$135 per ebook which is not bad when split three ways!
    This average price is about 1.9 times the cost of print - higher than the 1.6 average we expected, but our academic publishers / UP list may impact this.
    The problem: “Cost of Print" was never clearly defined. We’ve discovered that ebook prices are typically based on hardcover, not the lowest available print price
    We found this holds true across the four main ebook aggregators – and for both single and multiuser prices.
    CTW has paid on average, 4X the Softcover price (for titles that are available in softcover) … but some ebooks are priced 6… 8… even 11 times the cost of softcover
    The bottom line: Given declining monograph budgets, we need to stay focused on sustainable collection practices for the long term … and 47% of the ebooks we’ve purchased so far are available in softcover.
    CTW is grappling with: What’s the added value for ebook vs. print?
    How much more are we willing to pay for shared online access?
    When does it make financial sense to share print copies, not the ebook?
    A suggestion for a PDA profile enhancement (for all vendors):
    Allow libraries to set a multiplier to identify how much they’re willing to pay over the print price. (In our case, the multiplier might be twice the HC and 3 times the SC price.) This would provide a way for libraries to address publishers’ title-by-title pricing practices.
    However until then, we’re monitoring prices and unfair practices (as per CTW!) and plan to exclude specific titles from our PDA offerings -- and possibly, remove publishers from our PDA profile.
  • Some consortial issues we’ve been musing over:
    Tied to the pricing issues, CTW has a relatively low FTE (~9800) and we’ve heard that libraries with higher FTEs can buy single level access. Although we initially wanted and agreed to multiuser access, we’d like evidence that it’s needed.
    If sessions had date AND time stamps, this would show simultaneous usage to support this requirement.
    Without such evidence, let us start with single user access and allow turnaways to indicate the need to purchase higher access for the affected titles. Libraries buy multiple copies of some print titles and not others based on active need. So it makes sense that ebook platforms should support various user levels on a title-by-title basis for all accounts.
    Another consortial consideration - Once the PDA pilot funding is spent:
    How much will each library contribute towards the shared deposit account?
    At the beginning, we assumed there would be fairly equal usage across the consortium (due to fairly similar FTE counts)…but this hasn't held true. 
    2/3rds of CTW’s total usage has been from a single institution. The other two equally split the remaining one-third.
    If this continues, should the library whose users trigger more purchases, contribute more to the shared ebook fund? Or should we assume usage will equal out over time?
    We’re also looking ahead to title-by-title ebook selection and when to buy “e vs. p”
    In preparation, we’re drafting guidelines to identify likely ebook candidates. One expectation is that users are more likely to “dip into” academic ebooks vs. reading them cover-to-cover online. Some potentially good choices are:
    “Works comprised of sections that stand on their own and are likely to be utilized separately from the entire work.”
    This also describes titles likely to be requested for course readings and reserves.
    To better accommodate this typical use of academic titles: ebook platforms need stable URLs at the chapter level so individual readings can be easily linked to - and then the ebook platform can monitor usage.
  • Before we turn the discussion over to you: “A Cautionary Tale” to ponder…
    It was time to prepare for the monthly PDA invoice. While pulling and collating usage statistics, the oddest coincidences popped out:
    Most sessions had 20 page view counts
    Multiple sessions for the same titles but several days apart
    Titles that all began with numbers or the letter A
    Lots of user sessions from a single IP number
    Sessions during which many titles were viewed …but NO unifying theme among them
    What was happening here?
    The stats were quickly pulled together and Customer Support was immediately notified about this unusual activity.
    The IP number was traced and identified as being a proxy server. Then a systems librarian found conclusive evidence: a student’s username and password had been posted on an Asian website!
    The login was de-activated in short order, but not before this “patron” accessed 53 titles and triggered 32 title purchases.
    Lucky CTW – we were Number One!
    This was the first hacking incident that MiL knew about and discussions within the company as well as with the publishers were needed in order to figure out how best to handle it. All CTW could do at this point was wait … and worry!
    Our initial concerns were twofold:
    (1.) How did this activity slip past the DRM abuse safeguards we’d been told about?
    (2) Would CTW be held financially accountable for this usage? We discovered & reported the unusual activity and prevented titles from being completely downloaded and pirated – so wouldn’t the publishers look favorably on our actions?
    If you had been in our shoes…what outcome would you have expected? (We’ll come back to this in a couple minutes!)
  • So, that’s our story… but which way do we go from here?!
    The description for our Lively Lunch promised insights into our experience as well as an opportunity to share your own PDA experiences with colleagues and ask questions.
    So, now we’re turning it over to you!
  • It’s time to discuss what working (and not!) in your own libraries and brainstorm how the existing models of PDA could be improved to make PDA a sustainable option for long term, integrated collection development needs.
    To get started, we’re going to ask for a show of hands in response to a few questions.
    Throughout this portion of the program we’re going to keep track of your responses and will be sharing the results on the Charleston website.
    First, we’d like to take a brief show of hands to find out something about our audience:
    Q1. How many of you currently have a PDA program in place?
    Q2. How many of you are planning to implement a PDA program?
    -- How many are considering doing consortial PDA?
    Q3. Show of hands: Academic, Public, K-12, Special …Other
    Q4. What vendor -- or publisher -- are you working with?
    Why their Model?
    What specific features set that program apart from the rest?
    Which models have you heard about that seem to be leading the way? Specific examples…
    Good or Bad: pricing practices, access options, and DRMs, etc.
    How might PDA programs continue to evolve to meet colldev needs?
    The hacker situation: If that had been your library, how would you hope it would be handled?
  • First, we’d like to take a brief show of hands to find out something about our audience:
    Q1. How many of you currently have a PDA program in place?
    Q2. How many of you are planning to implement a PDA program?
    -- How many are considering doing consortial PDA?
  • Q3. What vendor -- or publisher -- are you working with?
  • Why their Model?
    What specific features set that program apart from the rest?
    Which models have you heard about that seem to be leading the way? Specific examples…
    Good or Bad: pricing practices, access options, and DRMs, etc.
    How might PDA programs continue to evolve to meet colldev needs?
    The hacker situation: If that had been your library, how would you hope it would be handled?
  • One question we are getting asked:
    Which content areas show up repeatedly in usage statistics?
    May relate to wanting to identify early adopters of ebooks by disciplinary area?
    Top LC Areas (Purple & Pink)
    Bs (37) : Philosophy outnumbers Psychology almost 2 to 1 which was a surprise
    H: Social Sciences (88)
    HC (Economic History) HD (Labor & Industry)
    HQ (Family – Marriage - Women)
    HV (Social Pathology, Social & Public Welfare, Criminology)
    P: Languages & Literatures (49)
    PN – (Film Studies & Theater)
    PR – (English Renaissance: PR2199-3195)
    J: Political Sciences (31)
    JZ ( International Relations) JC (Political Theory);
    JQ (Political & public admin – Asia, Africa, Australia)
    D: World History (30) -- DS (Asia) just moved ahead of:
    R: Medicine (24) RC (Neurology, Psychotherapy, Neuroses)
    New chart: Track only sessions with multiple page views by LC to see which areas are getting extensive online use.
  • Consortial PDA of eBooks

    1. 1. ConsortialConsortial Patron-DrivenPatron-Driven AcquisitionsAcquisitions of eBooksof eBooks CTW Library Consortium Charleston Conference November 2010 Collection Development Adventures of a Small Consortium
    2. 2. Beth Hansen Director, Information Services Connecticut College - New London, CT Lorri Huddy CTW Librarian for Collaborative Collection Projects CTW Library Consortium Pat Tully University Librarian Wesleyan University - Middletown, CT Presented by:
    3. 3. The CTW Consortium Connecticut College Wesleyan University Trinity College
    4. 4. CTW’s Shared eBook Pilot Expectations • Ease of sharing • 24/7 access • Multiple simultaneous users • Cost savings • Patron-driven selection • Space needs • Workflow
    5. 5. Vendor Evaluations
    6. 6. Getting Titles that Fit • Content Areas • Publication Date • Types of Materials • Language • Specific Publishers • Price Limit
    7. 7. Overview of MiL’s PDA • Books purchased on 2nd session • Entire book accessible each session • Print / download 10 pages at a time • Multi-user access = up to 4 users / time
    8. 8. What’s in the Numbers? 3,713 PDA Records (late Jan through Oct) • 340 Titles Opened (9.2% of PDA titles)  150 titles purchased  190 titles opened once • 1,147 Views / Sessions • 13,254 Pages Viewed 84% of $25,000 deposit account expended
    9. 9. Views After Purchase (# times opened after purchase)
    10. 10. Used by One 75% Used by All 1% Used by 2 24% Usage across CTW (of 150 purchased titles) 2 Titles used on All campuses ==== 36 Titles used on 2 campuses ==== 112 Titles used on 1 campus
    11. 11. So Far So Good… Titles that fit # Publishers & Titles De-duplication service User Access Understand workflows Customer Service
    12. 12. It’s Complicated
    13. 13. Devilish Details?! PDA Workload Invoicing & Acquisitions Users’ Expectations Publishers vs. Titles Usage Stats Limitations Purchase Triggers
    14. 14. The Oops Factor
    15. 15. eBook vs. Print Average cost per ebook: $135 Price Range: $9.85 to $250.00 (Median price: $149.90) Average cost: multiuser vs. print = 1.9 Titles also available in softcover = 3.9
    16. 16. Consortial eBook issues User Levels: Expected Usage by Title? Funding: Based on PDA by campus? Selection: Format choice - in P or E?
    17. 17. A Cautionary Tale: A Most Unexpected and Unwelcomed “Patron”
    18. 18. Which way from here?
    19. 19. PDA’s Promise vs. RealityPDA’s Promise vs. Reality What will make PDA sustainable as a long term collection development practice? Current Best Practices?Current Best Practices? Wishlist of Improvements?Wishlist of Improvements?
    20. 20. How many of you currently have or are planning an ebook PDA program? 3 How many of these are consortial? - Ebook PDA Quiz
    21. 21. Who is your ebook PDA vendor? EBL 1 ebrary 1 MyiLibrary (Coutts) 1 NetLibrary 0
    22. 22. Over to you … So far, so good: What works Devilish details: What could work better Profiling by publisher (EBL) EBL – statistics detailed, very good 20% purchases / 80 views (4 sessions) - EBL
    23. 23. Thank You! Questions about CTW’s PDA Program?  Beth Hansen, Director of Information Services, Connecticut College: Lorri Huddy, CTW Consortium Librarian for Collaborative Collection Projects: Pat Tully, University Librarian, Wesleyan University:
    24. 24. Photograph and Image Credits Images may be subject to copyright and cannot be used for commercial purposes. • Adventure image: • Clouds and Blue Sky: • eBook image: • Ebrary Banner: • NetLibrary Logo: • Ebook Library (EBL) logo: • MyiLibrary Banner: • Computer users: Microsoft clip art collection • Pool Balls: • Sticky Notes- cropped versions of: • Devil photograph: • Oops Bubble Logo: • Hanging Money image: Microsoft clip art collection • Ebooks image: • Hacker at Work • "Which way?": • “Gathering Clouds” photo: • Clouds and Blue Sky:
    25. 25. CTW Usage Statistics PDA records received:   3,713 Jan – Oct ALL Titles Titles Purchased Titles Viewed Total Titles 340 150 190 Total Sessions 1,147 957 190 Ave. Sessions/Title 3 6 1 Highest # Sessions 92 1 Total Pages Viewed 13,265 11,501 1,764 Ave. Pgs/Session 12 12 9 Highest # Pgs viewed in 1 session / 1 title 160 / 852 99
    26. 26. All Titles Opened - by LC