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  1. 1. Purpose - This study, a part of JISC-funded UK National E-Books Observatory, aims to find out about the perspective ofstudents and academics, the main e-book users, on e-books. Design/methodology/approach - The paper provides an analysisof two open-ended questions about e-books, contained in a UK national survey conducted between 18 January and 1 March2008. The survey obtained a response from more than 20,000 academic staff and students; 16,000 free-text responses wereobtained to these two questions. Findings - The study discloses that convenience associated with online access along withsearchability was the biggest advantage of e-books. The study shows a potential market for e-textbooks; however, e-bookshave yet to become more student-friendly by improving features such as printing and screenreading. Originality/value - This isthe biggest survey of its kind ever conducted and it improves ones knowledge of what the academic community thinks of e-books. » Jump to indexing (document details)Full Text(6487 words)Copyright Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2009IntroductionDuring the last decade libraries together with publishers have made a successful move towards the provision of journals anddatabases in online format. The next information resource that is destined to be part of this digital transition would appear to beacademic books. Although the move towards e-books in academic libraries seems to be very challenging, the prospect looksbright. E-book publishing has been growing rapidly and the International Digital Publishing Forum ([3] Industry eBook SalesStatistics, 2005) reports a 23 per cent increase in e-book revenues in 2005 compared to 2004 and a 20 per cent increase in e-book titles published year-on-year. More libraries are also adding e-books to their collections. These are all signs of progress onthe supply side. But what do we know about the demand side? What is the perspective of students and academics, the main e-book users, on e-books? In order to gain a deep understanding of the prospect of e-books usage in the higher education sector,JISC funded the UK National E-Books Observatory.Project backgroundThe JISC National E-Books Observatory project (www.jiscebooksproject.org/) is a ground-breaking project in which over 120 UKuniversities receive two years free access to course reading materials in e-book form to support students studying in Businessand Management, Medicine, Media Studies and Engineering. The purpose of the Observatory was to license e-core readingbooks relevant to the UK higher education taught course students in the four mentioned disciplines, observe behaviours anddevelop new models to stimulate the e-books market. Publishers were paid £600,000 for 36 textbooks for a period of two years.The books were supplied on two platforms: Wolters Kluwer Health and MyiLibrary. The impact of "free at the point of use" e-books on publishers, aggregators and libraries would then be assessed employing a mixture of deep log analysis,questionnaires and interviews. The knowledge obtained would then be transferred to stakeholders to help stimulate an e-booksmarket. This paper assists in this transfer by providing an evaluation based on a questionnaire, which we believe to be thebiggest ever conducted into e-books.Related worksAlthough in terms of size and representativeness no survey study conducted comes close to the current study, there have beena few studies that have polled different user communities in order to find out about their opinion of e-books. [2] Chu (2003)reported on a survey conducted in a class she taught at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. The studyshowed "around the clock availability" and "searchability" to be the most favourable features of e-books and "being hard to readand browse" or "need for special equipment" as reasons hindering the use of e-books. The results clearly could not begeneralized and do not give us a sense of how end-users perceive electronic books. This is because the survey was distributedto only 27 students as potential users, all of them studying to be librarians. Another survey of 118 self-selected participants,conducted as part of the California State University E-book Task Force in 2001, showed that the users were generally pleasedwith netLibrary (an e-book platform), though 60 per cent said they preferred print ([4] Langston, 2003).[1] Anuradha and Usha (2006) surveyed 101 staff and students (with a low response rate of 2.94 per cent) at the Indian Instituteof Science in 2004. The responses indicated that the students tended to use e-books more often than faculty members and staff.Those who did use e-books mostly used reference and technical material. Another survey of all students, faculty and staff (with
  2. 2. a healthy 2,067 respondents this time, 30.1 per cent response rate) at the University of Denver in 2005 by [5] Levine-Clark(2006) showed that e-books were used by about half of the campus community. However, most of these people used them onlyoccasionally. About 68 per cent of faculty, 57 per cent of undergraduates and 64 per cent of postgraduates used themoccasionally. Generally, of the 1,116 people responding to this question, 28 per cent used e-books once only, 62 per centthought that they used them occasionally, and 10 per cent believed that they used them frequently. When asked about how theytypically used e-books, of the 1,148 people saying they used e-books, 57 per cent read a chapter or article within a book, and 36per cent read a single entry or a few pages within a book, but only 7 per cent read the entire book. The survey ([6] Levine-Clark,2007) also revealed subject differences between users. For example, humanities scholars, compared to their peers in otherdisciplines, were more aware of e-books and tended to discover e-books through catalogues. However, this greater awarenessdid not translate to greater use and they used e-books almost at the same frequency as the other respondents said they did.E-book provider eBrary conducted a "global" survey ([7] McKiel, 2007) in which 906 individuals representing about 300 highereducation institutions from 38 countries (but mainly the USA, the UK, Canada and New Zealand) took part. The aim of thesurvey was mainly to measure faculty attitudes towards e-books. Among the important findings was that half of faculty said theynow preferred to use online resources, while just 18 per cent said they preferred print. Some 89 per cent of respondents used"educational, government and professional" web sites for research, class preparation, or instruction, followed closely by e-journals (86 per cent). Indeed e-journals tended to be thought of as a more appropriate resource for students than e-books. Aquestion was asked "How do you currently integrate the use of e-books into your courses?"; 372 people said they encouragedstudents to use e-books as a viable resource, 319 did not; 250 said they used chapters/sections for course reading, 146 saidthey put links in course management software; 83 said they required the reading of entire text. When asked "What do you feelwould make e-book usage more suitable for use in your area?" the top three answers were: greater breadth and depth ofcollection; ability to download; and fewer restrictions on printing and copying. In the study summary, Allen McKiel wrote that "e-books had a fairly poor showing" and they rank "down with personal and corporate web sites". This supports eBrarys librariansurvey, where 59 per cent of librarians said e-book usage was "fair to poor".A survey of 1,818 staff and students at University College London ([9] Rowlands and Nicholas, 2008) as a forerunner of thecurrent survey showed that e-books clearly compare very unfavourably indeed with print titles for perceived ease of reading. Thebenefits of e-books cluster around convenience: ease of making copies, perceived up-to-dateness, space-saving, and aroundthe clock availability. Hard copy is decisively favoured in terms of ease of reading. There was a big difference between men andwomen in respect of features and functionality: men tended to rate these aspects much more highly.MethodologyAs part of the JISC observatory project, a nationwide benchmarking survey of students and staff of participating universities wasconducted. The online survey was designed and piloted by members of the CIBER team at University College London andimplemented using Survey Monkey (Professional version).Information about the survey was distributed to our partners in higher education libraries and they made very considerableefforts to market the survey to staff and students in their universities. Links to the live survey database were distributed via e-mail, staff and student newsletters, via departmental secretaries and embedded in library web pages.The survey ran between 18 January and 1 March 2008, over which period 22,437 full or partial responses were received, whichmakes it by far the largest survey ever conducted on the subject. Data collection ceased when the target of 20,000 fullcompletions was reached. The fact that 89.1 per cent of our respondents managed to get to the end of a quite long and complexquestionnaire is a clear indication of the level of interest within the academy in e-books. We received responses from 123universities before the questionnaire was switched off.The results of the quantitative part of the survey were analyzed and published elsewhere ([8] Nicholas et al. , 2008); presentedhere are the findings of two open-ended questions, which were included in the survey. The attraction of the free text analysis isprecisely that, respondents were free to express themselves and were not constrained or shoehorned by the questioner. Whilethe questionnaire was open to both staff and students the respondents to these two questions were almost wholly students. Therespondents of the survey provided large numbers of comments in reply to the following two questions:(1) In your opinion, what were the biggest advantages that e-books offered compared with a printed book? (Please volunteer upto three reasons). This elicited 11,624 responses. Although the question asked for three advantages, most of the respondentsmentioned just one. In total 11,763 advantages were mentioned.
  3. 3. The second question was more general and supplementary in tone; it was a catch-all question:(2) Is there anything that you want to add regarding course texts, print or electronic, or about your university library? In total4,809 comments were received to this question. Some of these comments related to advantages and benefits of e-books aswell.The answers to these two questions form the basis of this article and were analyzed using the software QSR N6, a text-analysissoftware package. Each response was coded using themes that were drawn from the answers.FindingsAdvantages of using e-booksThis section presents the respondents answers to the first question. It should be mentioned that due to the nature of theanswers (free-text comments) and the fact that the phrases and words used by respondents to describe the advantages couldbe interpreted in more than one way there is some overlap between concepts.Online accessClearly the main attraction is that e-books are more accessible than print books, meaning that users can get at them whereverthey are and at whatever time they like. This reason accounts for more than 52 per cent of the advantages mentioned, andabout 55 per cent if we include the related category, convenience (Table I [Figure omitted. See Article Image.]).The attractions of instant (and rapid) access were mentioned in about 1,380 of the comments that related to the attractions ofonline access. Of the online access comments, 1,000 specifically cited the fact that e-books can be accessed from a distanceand that the user does not have to travel to the library in order to use them. Indeed, many respondents actually mentioned theirhappiness at not needing to make a trip to the library for this purpose. Unsurprisingly, this feature was especially appreciated bydistance learners. About 500 comments were related to availability - 24/7 access to e-books. A few of the many commentsfollow:Can access from a remote location (North of Scotland).E-books are convenient in that I can access them from my dormitory instead of having to go all the way to the library.I am a distance learner and could only get the book online unless I travelled.Its always available - if you have a web connection.SearchabilityThe greater retrieval opportunities provided by e-books were the second most mentioned characteristic (13.2 per cent). Thisrises to 15.4 per cent if we include navigation (see the following). Digitisation has created numerous search pathways throughbooks and this is appreciated. Even in the case of PDF files, the Ctrl+F feature was mentioned as a favourite feature for findingrelevant content. Some illustrative comments follow:Could search within the text using key words.Ease of finding information with search options.Easy location of phrases and words via the "find" mechanism.Cost
  4. 4. Cost was the only other advantage to reach double figures (10.8 per cent). All comments related to financial issues were putunder this category including those that related to e-books being free and cheaper. Clearly there is confusion here in the mindsof students of what constitutes free. Some illustrative comments follow:A lot of the e-books are free of charge.Cheaper than buying the book.Didnt have to buy it.PortabilityPortable is not a word you would associate with e-books but quite a few (5.3 per cent) mentioned this quality. They were said tobe "lighter" than printed books and they did not have to be carried around. Here some students clearly have downloadable e-books in the form of PDF in mind while none of the e-textbooks provided through the project were downloadable. Someillustrative comments follow:Easier to carry around - on ipod.No weight.Portability - I can take a lot of books on a single computer, memory card, external hard drive.Portable, we do not have to carry big books from one place to another, useful for international students.Other advantagesThe only other advantages that attracted more than 0.5 per cent of comments (in ranked order) were:Convenience . A category which overlaps with "online access". Those comments (2.9 per cent) that mentioned ease of use orincluded the terms convenience, convenient and so on were put under this category. Those who used the word convenience butthen specified why (for example, because I do not have to leave home) were categorised under other relevant categories, likeonline access.Eco-friendly . Refers to the fact that they do not use paper (2.9 per cent). Again a possible surprising response and probably notone contained in many closed questionnaires. Good to the environment since less paper used.Storage . Unlike hard copy books, it was said that e-books do not take a lot of space on the shelves or on the desk (2.2 percent).Easy to navigate . It is easier to navigate e-books, scan through them and browse them more quickly and easily. It is also easierto locate specific sections in the book by following hyperlinks or menu pages that aid navigation, such as hyperlinked table ofcontents (2.2 per cent). This, of course, is also related to searchability feature. Illustrative comments: It is easier to find therelevant sections without having to keep flipping through pages. Ability to scan faster and with greater ease.Multiple users . Simultaneous use, meaning students do not have to wait for the hardcopies to be returned by other students orput up with short loans and the like (1.7 per cent).Easy to locate. E-books are easier to locate and find in comparison to hard copy books for which students have to search incatalogues and then on shelves (1.3 per cent).Copy and paste . E-books enable users to copy and paste pieces of text, and images into their own documents, something weknow from past research students is appreciated (1.1 per cent).
  5. 5. Easy to read. Some - but not many - students even thought them easier to read (0.71 per cent).Perhaps, as interesting, are the often-mentioned advantages that did not attract that much support. Thus readability obtained avery small number of mentions (0.7 per cent); so too did wider choice (0.5 per cent), up to date-ness (0.2), better qualitygraphics (0.2 per cent) and interactivity (0.2 per cent), although in regard to the latter not much interactivity was provided by thetwo platforms.Catch-all questionThis question was really open-ended and gave everyone an opportunity to say anything they felt relevant to the survey. Thequestion was:Is there anything that you want to add regarding course texts, print or electronic, or about your university library?Normally such questions receive very little in the way of feedback but not in this case, nearly 5,000 people responded! Clearly e-books are a hot issue and everyone wants their say. Inevitably, a considerable proportion of comments were not directly relatedto e-books - comments were also made in regard to libraries (16.3 per cent) and the survey instrument itself (0.8 per cent). TableII [Figure omitted. See Article Image.] provides the details.Library practice and provisionThe bulk of the comments here concerned:- The demand for more course textbooks; there were many complaints about the unavailability of core textbooks:Core books are never available. Libraries do not have enough of the core books in short loan.- The need for more up-to-date editions of textbooks:Many of the textbooks are very old, not up-to-date.I have noticed that the majority of the engineering related textbooks contained in the library are very old some from 1976. Iwould like to see more recent editions of these books.There were also quite a few comments regarding student happiness with the library:I am very satisfied with my university library!!The rest of the comments concerned things such as lack of computers, bad lighting and students hiding books to ensure theycan get hold of them later.General expressions in favour of e-booksOf the comments, 634 (13.2 per cent) were expressions in favour of e-books and these comments should be read together withthe comments given in the first open-ended question. Users expressed their preference and enthusiasm for e-books withcomments like:Please, please, please: e-books are a lifesaver!E-books are a godsend.More e-books
  6. 6. Of the people who left comments 632 (13.1 per cent) wanted more e-books to be available. Many users asked for more e-booksto be available in their own subject area, where they felt there was not enough (or any) available:Add more on mental health as this is the area I am studying.It would be extremely helpful if all books were available as electronic-books.There were two other communities that were vocal in asking for more e-books. First, there were those people who tended tostudy remotely and could not travel to the library easily; they were distance learners, part-time students or people who simplypreferred not to go to the campus to read material (e.g., a mother who is a student). The following comment was illustrative:My course is delivered through distance learning and would be so much harder without electronic resources.The second community were disabled users (26 responses obtained) - people who experienced visual difficulties or hadproblems with mobility:As a student who has reading difficulties, being able to access online material has made assignments much easier to handle, asthere is no worries over returning books or having short loan times.I would like to point out that e-books are a terrific resource for visually-impaired students in particular, especially bearing in mindthat university libraries supply almost no Braille or large print resources and relatively few audio resources.However, it was pointed out that not all categories of health-impaired users benefited from e-books. Dyslexic users found it hardto use e-books in their current form. They require some changes to be made in the visual and graphic settings of e-bookssystems:As I am dyslexic I find it difficult to read from the screen and often have to "print out". It would be helpful if the background wasnot white or if it was then the text in a different colour than black, e.g. Mid-Blue. Many of my friends who arent dyslexic havesaid that they also find it a "nicer" read when the text is either blue or a different background shade is used.I prefer books as Im dyslexic and I find electronic versions hard to read; however, if you could set it up to change thebackground colour that would help.I have glaucoma and find prolonged reading from the screen difficult. I need to print off material and it is frustrating that I cannotedit on screen and print at a suitable font size and layout or to omit pictures to save printing costs. Living in the Hebrides makesme more dependent on E-resources.Screen-readingThe biggest disadvantage by far was thought to be the difficulties of reading from the screen. About 366 (7.6 per cent)respondents complained about the difficulty of screenreading. The following user complained about this but also proposed asolution s/he personally has applied:The only problem with e-books is that eyes can get very exhausted reading from a screen. I finally solved it adding a filter to mynormal glasses, which reduce brightness (my glasses are blue).The problem with screen reading is not only that it leads to tired eyes; users also found it harder to concentrate and absorb theinformation when they readThe problem with screen reading is not only that it leads to tired eyes; users also found it harder to concentrate and absorb theinformation when they read from a screen:
  7. 7. The predominant reason I do not use e-books, is that I often find the information harder to absorb when read from a screen.Also, reading from a screen for prolonged periods of time tends to cause migraines; therefore, longer texts (which are more orless unavailable as it is) would be inaccessible to me. As an English student, this puts e-books at a huge disadvantage.The problem with screen reading is also a main cause of subject-dependability of e-books (see the following).Preference for printed booksThere are many users who would prefer hard copies to e-books. About six per cent of the respondents stated that they preferredhard copy books in normal situations. The following comment is an example of a print advocate:In spite of the invaluable speed and convenience of research and access to material via the web and through e-books, there isnothing more contemplative and absorbing than to sit down with a physical book - to flick through the pages; to instantly referback and forth; to wander across and down the page without distraction and in the comfort of your favourite places, whether athome, at work, in the park or on the beach - and they are "oh, so slim-line, compact, portable, restful and very, very cheap!" ...OK - so the manufacture of paper is damaging to trees, but the computer is more responsible for global warming and is probablynot the safest way long term way in which to store and convey the sum total of human knowledge for the benefit of futuregenerations. But while not advocating a return to the durable technology and methodology of the "Rosetta Stone" at this presentmoment in time, I would encourage everyone to consider seriously the merits of paperback and hardback books continuing to beavailable and vigorously promoted alongside the virtues of web and e-book technology.Solution to hard-copy supply problemsAlthough many respondents were enthusiastic about e-books per se , they also had very pragmatic reasons for welcoming e-books. Some students, for example, considered e-books as a solution to some of the problems they faced, especially in regardto (problematic) access to hard-copy titles. About 250 of the comments (5.2 per cent) were related to printed books. The majorityof these comments were related to textbooks or the books that lecturers recommended. Students complained about the lack ofhardcopies of textbooks, short borrowing time, difficulties accessing the recommended texts and so on. In this kind of situation, itis natural that some students (about 70, 1.5 per cent) see e-books as the solution to all these problems:Would be good to have core subject texts as e-books as there is no way libraries can supply the books in the number studentswould require. Also students find books too expensive.PromotionAccording to the responses there seems to be a lack of activities for promoting e-books on the librarians side. About 195 (4.05per cent) comments indicated the need for better promotion of e-books among students and lecturers:Better communication between course leaders and library staff, better flagging of e-resources, both on library sites and in coursehandouts needed in order that their use is maximised.I dont really know anything about electronic sources, so it would be better if the librarians were more forthcoming in telling thestudents about them.The lack of awareness about the availability of e-books was accompanied by confusion about what an e-book actually is:I am not sure whether e-journals count as e-books. If e-journals are included then I am a very regular user of e-books. However,I do not read textbooks online.There was also a lack of knowledge about how to access and use e-books and e-resources and this highlights the need forinstructions and the improvement of information literacy programmes at universities:I could do with a course on how to access these things as I am not very technically minded I dont know how to access the e-books.
  8. 8. I dont think that there is enough emphasis on lecturers and tutors explaining to students HOW to use all the various applicationsin the library. I had to teach myself about these, a seminar for all those interested might be of help.Advantages of e-booksAbout 90 (1.9 per cent) respondents highlighted the advantages for e-books. The following are not previously mentioned:- Do not require limited access time (dont have to be returned to the library).- Solve the lack of space in libraries.- Are good for snippets of information, reference use and "how-to" manuals.- Are good for research and systematic review as well as teaching.- Can be used anywhere, out of campus by distance learners, disabled, and part-timers.Problems of accessAround about 1.8 per cent (87) of respondents reported difficulties in accessing e-books. Although some of these problemsmight be related to specific libraries there is still an issue that librarians and e-book publishers need to investigate and resolve. Asignificant proportion of access problems were related to failed attempts to access e-books off campus:Better access to e-books online. It fails very often when accessing from home.Athens is a well-established means for accessing electronic resources out of campus and some respondents appreciated it (forexample, The Athens system is very useful for e-books and journals from, e.g. JSTOR). However about 31 (0.6 per cent) ofrespondents expressed that they were unhappy with Athens or that they had problems using it:Athens is a cumbersome system and I wish it could be simplified.Getting access to e-material has so far been a nightmare, especially through Athens. So I have not used e-books as much as Imight in the future if access is easier for the user.Another type of access problem was related to simultaneous access by more than one user. Some e-books systems do notallow this or have restrictions as to how many users can read an e-book at the same time:The availability of e-books is sporadic and just like going into a standard library, if two users are trying to access the same bookat the same time on a network, it doesnt allow access to the book for one of them, which is bad.Printing problemsStudents wanted to be able to print part of the e-books they read, whether to read them at their convenience or highlight andannotate them. About 60 (1.3 per cent) respondents complained (a relatively small number it has to be said) about problemswith printing, either they did not allow this or there were restrictions. Also about 18 (0.37 per cent) respondents expressed thatthey wanted to be able to print sections of e-books easily:E-books are useful. My main gripe with them is the way in which you print them off. I have tried to print out whole chapters andcannot do this, I do not know why. Instead I have had to print out groups of pages and then put them together to form thechapter. This is annoying and makes accessing e books more tedious and time consuming that it otherwise might be. However,on the whole I think they are a useful addition to hard copy books.Saving and carrying problems
  9. 9. In total, 73 (1.5 per cent) students said they wanted to be able to save e-books and keep them or carry them on their digitaldevices (laptop, ipod ...):An e-book is not very helpful if you cannot download it on a USB stick or similar.PDF versions of the books are much easier toread than HTML versions. I would prefer to see more and more books in PDF format.There could be a number of reasons for this preference. First, they want to be able to read an e-book without the need of beingconnected to the internet and being online. Besides the problems users might have with getting constant internet connection,being online, as a student mentioned, is a source of distraction. While online, a user is more likely to get distracted from his orher reading because of e-mails and web surfing.The other reason (and another disadvantage) is the confusion about the pagination of html-based e-books. A few respondentsmentioned that they were confused about the page numbers and pagination structure when they read e-books. This obviously isnot a problem in the case of PDF files.E-book disadvantagesBesides the disadvantages mentioned already, like screen-reading, printing, saving and so on, there were other disadvantagesmentioned by about 71 (1.47 per cent) respondents, of which a selection are presented in the following:Could be deleted accidentally (assumed that they can be saved).Are difficult to browse or skim read (might be specific to some platforms).Are overpriced.Can "be tedious if the internet connection is not fast"."Play havoc with an authors royalties".Lack serendipity, they remove the ability to accidentally stumble across something on the shelf, which is often more influentialthan what was originally being looked for.Make students over-reliant on computers and reluctant to use the library and do active research.Are not easy to concentrate on while reading them and it is hard to absorb their information (computer and internet could besource of distraction).Reduce the control on plagiarism and increase the concern over copyright.Makes it hard to annotate and highlight and so on.A supplement not a substituteAbout 67 (1.4 per cent) comments were in some way related to the fact that e-books and printed books should co-exist. Usersfound different and supplementary applications for e-books and hard copy and wanted to benefit from both. Students do notwant to see an exclusivity of formats. There was also concern that some university libraries considered e-books a goodalternative or substitute and therefore replaced printed books with e-books. Some were concerned that the move towards theprovision of more e-books means cutting the number of hard copy books in libraries:E-books do a quite different job from printed books and manuals and the one should not be assumed to be a replacement for theother. Printed books are still better for random access if you know what you are looking for - search facilities are not the samething. Casual browsing will also always be easier Its actually much harder to read and speed read from a screen and the actuallearning process is different - some methods will suit some people and not others. E-books and printed materials must
  10. 10. complement and not compete with one another for the richest possible learning experience that is accessible and helpful for thegreatest number of people.I am greatly concerned by the present very clear agenda to reduce the number of books in libraries, thus removing one of themost important planks of learning, self-directed study.E-book technology-related problemsAbout 47 (0.1 per cent) comments were about technology-related problems. Seventeen respondents were unhappy about theuse of DRM in e-books for different reasons, for example some are incompatible with Linux or Apple computers:My main concern and I think the single most important issue in the future of electronic books is the problem of DRM (digitalrestrictions management).Aggressive DRM is one of the very few reasons that prevent me from using some e-books.There were a range of other specific problems with the technology that e-books use that were mentioned in the comments.Based on comments, a list of some of them is presented in the following:Ebrary requires specific browser and plug in and not friendly to Linux and Firefox, Ebrary is too tied to Microsoft technology.E-books need fast computers and high speed internet connection.ebrary reader is not flexible so it is hard to resize it to maximise the size of the window. I also find it hard to read from as thescreen moves to the next double page rather than to the second of the pages being viewed, which makes it disorientating andfiddly to read from.E-book interfaces are not very suitable; too much space is taken up by menus. An example is MyiLibrary interface - so much ofthe screen is taken up with browser bars, status bars, controls on the left, etc. that the book is a teeny thing in the middle of theright hand side.Reading e-books on screen takes time but the interfaces log the users out of the system every 15 minutes or so for securityreasons.Some e-books not compatible with Mac or Linux.MyiLibrary does not like skim reading of more than about 15 pages - it thinks you are trying to print more than copyright allowsand threatens to boot you out.Pagination is not always obvious.There are too many platforms and too many access modes and this causes confusion.There is a disconcerting trend towards proprietary e-book formats, as used, for example, by ebrary and British Library that areundocumented and unsupported on many platforms. There is need for standardisation. Using standardised open formats thatcan be read by a variety of pieces of software or a variety of platforms is important. Using well-known, open standards is morelikely to also enable computers to index and search the e-books.A lot of e-books are not compatible with reading software on a device other than a, for example a Palm handheld.Reference useThe difficulty of screen-reading, together with the advantages of digital media in regard to ease of searching and locatingspecific keywords or phrases, make e-books suitable for reference use or suitable for the fields where users need only small
  11. 11. pieces of information rather than doing large amounts of reading. About 37 (0.77 per cent) respondents mentioned that e-booksare good for dipping in, or for looking for specific information or reference use:I feel electronic texts would be a valuable resource for reference only.Another property of e-books that makes them subject-dependent is the assumption that they are or can be more up-to-date thanprinted books, hence more suitable for the fields that deal with cutting edge science and technologies:I read mainly leading edge technology publications, hence online only.E-book subject-dependentAs mentioned before a few properties of e-books make their attraction subject-dependent. For example, screen reading makesthem unsuitable for the subjects that require a great deal of reading, such as those in the humanities.A few respondents from English Literature pointed this out:Studying English Lit. at degree level involves a great amount of reading which just cant be done with e-books; it is just toouncomfortable on the eyes and posture to read off screen for any great length of time.I am a part-time student studying English Literature, but I also use the library for my work as a business analyst - and in this areaI am more likely to use e-texts.Unlike English literature, people from the fields of law and computing seem to be in favour of e-resources:I study law thus we, law students, are heavily dependent on online materials as there is so much one has to read.Generally theyre good for computing, which is what I teach. I think thats a combination of the subject - students often want tolook up factoids, rather than read a whole essay. Theyre also used to using screens on a day to day basis.ConclusionsThis is probably the largest LIS survey that has ever been conducted in the UK and possibly elsewhere. The free views of16,000 scholars cannot be ignored and they raise issues not previously associated with e-books - the importance of "portability"and environmental factors. The two main advantages of e-books for students are: they were easy to access, which means theycan use them at any time anywhere, and their searchability (another form of access, if you like). These two advantages werealso highlighted in the study by [2] Chu (2003). The findings also show a big potential market for e-textbooks. Although studentsseem to favour e-books for pragmatic reasons such as avoiding going to the library, convenience of use, added features such assearching, and copy and pasting are not thought to be sufficiently student friendly. The most inhibiting feature of e-books is thedifficulty of reading them from the screen. Printing features need to be improved and there should be systematic plans andprogrammes organized by librarians for promoting e-books and improving students information literacy skills in order to get themaximum from e-books.The authors would like to thank JISC for funding the study.Defining an e-book depends on ones perspective and how broadly one views its possibilities. [18] Zivkovic (2008) reviews keymilestones in the development of the e-book over the last decade and addresses the definition of "e-book" through thestandards of ISO, IFLA, and other official agencies. She notes, however, inconsistency in the application of ISBNs from countryto country, which suggests that the parameters and perceptions of e-books are not fully established. During the course of herarticle, she shows how the definition has evolved to incorporate new technologies and how the definitions and technologies haveinfluenced each other along the way. She also makes brief reference to the introduction of single-entity non-print media, from theCD-ROM to the appearance of a book on the internet, but, as with most discussions of the e-book, the primary focus is on whathas become a "traditional" version of an e-book, namely something static that could appear in print or on CD or DVD.
  12. 12. While these definitions may help librarians to categorize and, subsequently, manage e-books, librarians continued attempts to"contain" e-books through definition may ultimately prove pointless, depending on the breadth with which e-books are ultimatelydefined and on how they evolve.As part of an earlier article, [14] Soules (2007) explored new types of e-books, interviewing creators to try to understand futurepotential. Looking at todays e-books and projecting forward, the following should be considered:- A print book issued or re-issued in e-format. Examples: a book digitized by Google, offered by Amazon, supplied in a packagefrom netLibrary, ebrary, etc., or purchased through a library book jobber like Coutts or Yankee Book Peddler.- An e-only book which could just as easily have been issued in print format. Examples are some of the e-only books issued byAmazon or the aforementioned vendors.- A book created through e-feedback and e-revision, but whose formally-issued version is in print format. An example is GamerTheory by McKenzie [17] Wark (2007), available as v.2 in print, incorporating suggestions made by readers in an earlierprocess, but also accessible on the Institute of the Book web site, where visitors find v.1.1 in "read/write" format, a site to"visualize," and another to "discuss".- A print book with URLs directing readers to the web for supplementary material or material that completes the print version. Anexample is Keys for Writers by Ann [12] Raimes (2008), which includes an access key to login to a web site.- An e-only production that enhances text with images, audio, and video. An example is Microsofts [7] Encarta (2008), once inCD-ROM and disk formats, and now available through the web.- An e-only production that is primarily focused on images, audio, and video, with text enhancement. Examples are workscreated through the Center for Digital Storytelling or through the University of Houstons Education Uses of Digital Storytelling.- An e-reference book with text, images, audio, and video, but which is updated continuously, as warranted. An example is [1]Alexander Street Press (2006) Critical Video Editions , which might be considered a group of databases, but can also beconsidered a series of e-books. The Press itself describes them as a "series [that] combines the excitement of video with newsearch capabilities and Alexander Streets Semantic Indexing(TM) " and describes the visual table of contents by saying that"Navigating video is now as easy as flipping through the pages of a book."- A web site that is the e-"über"-text for an entire topic, gathering text, images, and audio on an ongoing basis. An example is theWhitman Archive ([8] Folsom and Price, 1995-), with its efforts to gather all forms of material related to Walt Whitman.- An e-invention yet to be imagined.It is interesting to think about how this evolution displays some creative "aha" or discovery moments that represent key steps.Consider, for example, the moment someone realized that it would be possible to use new technologies to create such an e-book in the first place. Each individual may experience a discovery moment the first time s/he discovers or is shown somethingbeyond the traditional e-book. This authors discovery came in 2003 at a digital literature conference with a history "book" thatincluded mouse-over definitions, still images, and film clips. Another evolutionary moment must have occurred when someonerealized that an e-book does not have to be text enhanced with something else, but can be a creation where the text, if it exists,enhances the other media or where all the parts have equal value (the University of Houston model). Another evolutionary stepwould be the moment when an e-book became independent of print and, in fact, could not appear in print, such as some of theexamples cited above or flash poetry, where the text moves across a computer screen.All of this raises the question of why multimedia digital storytelling is considered a form of e-book when a feature film is not. Amovie is a single-issue entity with moving images and audio; add sub-titles and there is also text, if text is a determiningcharacteristic. Is it simply that a movie has been around for long enough to have its own descriptor, has long preceded the e-book, and has run parallel to print books? Where does an e-book begin and end? And does it - or will it - matter? Or is this justan adaptation of an old joke: When is an e-book not an e-book? - When it is something else.
  13. 13. The practice of using various technologies to develop and enhance a finished product - blogs, for example, or, more broadly,social networking - expands the e-book beyond its own entity. [17] Warks (2007) work was issued in "versions" like computersoftware. The second version was captured at a moment in time and issued as a print book. In this case, the books evolutionthrough the comment and discussion stage was a public element of the process. Writers of traditional print books discuss theirwork with colleagues prior to publication, and the peer review or editorial process helps the author shape the formal finishedwork. In the past, however, that has occurred pre-print and privately. In this case, the process was not only public, but involvedmany more potential contributors because of its public nature and because of technology. The work could be enhanced againand issued in a new edition, another single-entity issuance, if the author chose to continue rather than move to another project.The future will see the commercialization of some of these new experiments, along with more reader/user participation. Thisleads to questions about authorship and peer-review. Is the cited author really the author? Should s/he be the only name on thecover and title page or will there be multiple authors, only some of whom will be cited, depending on their level of contribution?Will such collaborations be considered group authorship entirely? As for peer review, Paolo [11] Mangiafico (2007), DigitalProjects Consultant in the Perkins Library at Duke University, sees it shifting from before to after publication. In the case of [17]Warks (2007) book, it could be suggested, however, that peer review took place during publication as it occurred in public,rather than in a blind refereed setting, and as the work evolved. With social networking, this could become more the norm.A number of librarians have long suggested that the division of information into monographic and serial categories is somethingonly a librarian could love - or want. There is now the real possibility of continuous revision of large or small portions of e-booksas the authors or the author/readers incorporate new ideas; add or excise text, images, or other elements; re-structure content innew ways; etc. In the print world, the precursor to continuous updating is the loose-leaf service, where periodic updates wereshipped to libraries, but the concept of continuous updating was embedded in the changing pages that, at the time, could onlybe issued intermittently. In the digital world, Wikipedia is an example of continuous updating. In the tradition of encyclopedias, isthis an e-book/monograph? Or is it something else? Will sporadic issue of new versions continue to be necessary or will therebe an ongoing flow? The idea of an endless flow speeds up the rate of change and moves such creations beyond the single-entity book or e-book and even beyond the sporadic issuances of a serial or e-serial. Will any sporadic issue even continue? Willan ISBN or an ISSN be assigned or will ISO develop some other category to assign to these evolving creations that appear todefy categorization?Other issues will also need to be addressed. How will these items be cited bibliographically, not just in catalogs, but in thereferences in published research? Reliance on the date of access, the citation element that now attempts to address this issue,fails to clarify what information the researcher/person citing actually viewed on a particular day and time. For faculty using thesee-creations in courses, this endlessly shifting landscape makes it difficult to anchor a common iteration for use by an entireclass. In either case, what may be needed is the ability to select and view information at the exact moment it was viewed by theperson citing, a concept that is overwhelming from an archival and retrieval perspective.At the moment, these issues may be less important than the possibility that current categories and labels may no longer beapplicable, that current ways of using and referencing information may no longer apply, and that considering information in suchways may become counter-productive in attempts to broker information through organization and access. Fundamentallyimportant is the need to broaden the concept of an e-book.2. The student userThe frontier of e-books may be exciting and cutting-edge, but, ultimately, will the user, at the other end of the e-book, choosethem? To date, e-books have not "taken off" in the way some people expected. A number of reasons have been posited for this.[13] Sottong (2008) points out that e-readers, while improved, still do not quite meet users needs for reasons of ergonomics,readability, and proprietary platforms. He quotes Walt Crawford: "Print books work." He further suggests that "e-books remain asmuch a future dream as they were 12 years ago".Not surprisingly, reactions to e-books, with or without the hardware, are mixed. The Observer ([2] E-books, 2008) ran a series ofarticles entitled "E-books." There were enthusiasts and skeptics, those who think we are seeing "the creation of a new art form"and those who feel "alienated from the books" they know well.When it comes to university students, however, the pressures are different. They are presented with e-books through e-textbooks and e-books in their libraries, whether they choose them or whether they have devices to read them. They view moste-books on a computer unless they have purchased an e-reader privately, and most e-books are traditional although, every day,new types of e-books appear in library collections.
  14. 14. In 2007 and 2008, ebrary conducted a series of four surveys about e-books. In the spring 2008 student survey, [5] ebrary(2008a) worked with over 150 college and university librarians world-wide to develop a survey "to better understand studentsusage, needs, and perceptions with regard to e-books". A total of 6,492 students completed the survey, representing nearly 400individual institutions from approximately 75 countries. [6] ebrary (2008b) also offered the same survey to librarians and askedthem to complete the survey as if they were actually students themselves. The goal was to compare the responses from the twosurveys, the actual student survey and the survey "cloned for librarians".Of the 6,492 respondents to the student survey, 2,707 responded from Italy and 2,143 from the United States. The remainingrespondents were from various countries, but significantly fewer in number, with Hong Kong and Canada being in the 500s. Theprimary major of study was engineering (1,983 respondents). The next most frequent majors were architecture at 525 andbusiness at 439. The 199 librarian respondents to the cloned survey, on the other hand, represented 178 individual institutions in37 countries, but as approximately 100 were from the United States, with the next most numerous from Canada (approximately20) and the United Kingdom (fewer than 20), the respondent groups may not be entirely comparable.There is much to compare between the student and cloned surveys, however. Focusing entirely on the e-book questions, thefollowing points are of particular interest: In response to "Does your library have e-books (electronic books)?" 57 percent of thestudents and 90 percent of the librarians (as students) said yes, 9 percent of the students and 5.5 percent of the librarians saidno, and 33.5 percent of the students and 4 percent of the librarians said "I dont know". Even taking into account the variations inthe respondents total numbers and their geographical origins, it could be said that librarians are not as clear about studentsawareness as might be desired.There is also a disparity in the responses to the question "How often do you use e-books that your library provides?" Of thestudent responses, 48.5 percent said they never used e-books, but only 22 percent of the librarians said never. The top reasonfor this, according to students, was that they did not know where to find e-books (57 percent), while the top reason given bylibrarians was that they were too difficult to read (31.5 percent). Librarians may not be as successful in making e-books availableas they think. They may also over-estimate the difficulties associated with reading electronic text.In other areas, the two groups were more in tune. In response to the question "When you have the option of using either theelectronic or print version of a book, how often do you opt to use the electronic version?" both groups chose "sometimes" astheir top choice. When asked to "indicate if the following statements are true for e-books, print books or both", the top five "true"responses for e-books are charted for both surveys in Table I [Figure omitted. See Article Image.].While the results of the survey completed by students may indicate bias in terms of the respondents subject interest, geographiclocation, and, potentially, financial status, key findings included:- about equal use of e- and print books;- about equal preference of e- and print books;- equal trustworthiness of e- and print books;- high use of search engines in research or class assignments, with other top resources including e- and print books, and e-references resources; and- affirmation by 57 percent of students of the importance of information literacy. There is no equivalent analysis of librarianresponses in the cloned survey.Of particular interest is the response to the question "How important are the following features to e-books?" There were 3,039student responses to this question and 149 librarian responses. The results, from most to least important, are given in Table II[Figure omitted. See Article Image.].In this case, too, librarians have a reasonably good sense of student responses. In fact, this list is an interesting validation of acouple of librarian assumptions about the importance of the value of searching and anytime/anywhere access. It is alsointeresting to consider that some of these features reflect the ability to manipulate information, an ability that may quicklybecome very familiar, not necessarily because of e-books, but because of the interactivity of Web 2.0.
  15. 15. Not every student, however, has the knowledge, the fiscal means, or the circumstances to use e-books or to implement theirfeatures. Some students are still learning of the existence of an e-book. Perhaps they have been out of school for some yearsand have not encountered e-books before; perhaps they have just not discovered them yet; or perhaps they have encounteredthem, not known what to do, and chosen something else.Downloading to a laptop or handheld device raises another issue. This capability assumes the ownership of, or access to, sucha device, which, in turn, throws into relief the digital divide. Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas now gives everyincoming student an iPhone ([10] Levine and Smith, 2008), but California State University, East Bay is an environment at theother end of the spectrum. Some of its students do not own computers or laptops. If possible, the campus provides laptops onterm loan to the neediest students, at least until the supply runs out. These are not state-of-the-art, but better than nothing.Some students still function on dial-up at home, so come to the library to use electronic resources that they cannot accesselsewhere. In some situations, if students computers break, they have nothing. All of this, of course, limits their anytime,anywhere access as they are bound by the hours of the physical library and their ability to come to the building while they oftenwork either full-time or part-time.Ability for more than one student to use an e-book at the same time largely depends on what the students institution can afford.This issue comes up particularly when a faculty member asks students to view an e-book or a portion of an e-book as a classreading and there is a sudden influx of hits on that e-book. When the students reach the limit, they do not know why. Theycontact the library about technical difficulties because they think there is a connection or login problem. They do not connect e-books with the concept of circulation. They are used to entering databases without a user limit.Copying, pasting, printing, and emailing text present more issues. The students at California State East Bay basically want to cutand paste into their research papers, print for easier reading or reading when online is not practical (on public transit, forexample), or download to use later, if they have to rush off to class or work. When it comes to the limitations of these features, itis difficult to know the source of all the barriers. One is clearly copyright and publisher concerns. Just try to work with a titlewhere this message pops up: "You have exceeded the limit of freely viewable pages by this documents publisher." Thisessentially means that the user does not have access to that e-book, just to a part of it. Most platform providers work to securemore access. As a result, this is one area of continuing improvement. While there are still some platforms where page by pageprinting is the only option up to a limited number of total pages, some vendors find ways to cross this barrier. Springer, forexample, supplies e-books in PDF format and allows up to 30 pages of printing at a time. This should enable a student to printmost single chapters from an e-book, paralleling USA fair use practices in the print environment. It is to be hoped thatcompetition among vendors will continue to contribute to further improvement. As for new types of e-books that defy printing,librarians need to help students understand other options - how to use "delicious", for example, to track where the e-book lies, orthe "library thing", if they want to "keep" this content in their libraries, or simply bookmarking the e-book for future reference.The other area of great interest to students is automatic citation. It is quick, easy, and saves them the bother of learning thefinicky details of various citation formats. As far as students are concerned, the citations are accurate, but while there is somedispute about this, the ability to email citations is a great service. Students at California State East Bay may or may not knowabout other features, e.g. highlighting, annotating, etc. To date, they have not drawn librarians attention to issues with them,which suggests that they are either not using them or are not running into problems.Interlibrary loan is another area of concern. Some equivalent to the print world is needed for those e-books which are not freelyavailable through the web. California State East Bay belongs to a multi-type library consortium for inter-lending of books.Because the consortial libraries catalogs list e-books, student searches in the consortium holdings bring up both print and e-copies. Students are frustrated at their inability to borrow e-books in the same way as they borrow print books. There has beendiscussion about suppressing e-book records from these holdings; however, as users frustrations provide the leverage topressure vendors for improvement, their continued inclusion has value. If the titles are suppressed, students will be unaware oftheir existence and will assume the title is not held by any library. Their frustration will be diverted elsewhere.There are a couple of other drivers that will influence how soon students become fully used to e-books. One of these is thetextbook market. Commercial vendors still struggle to make e-books viable. More and more print textbooks come with accesskeys to enable students to view enhanced content on a web site, but publishers have not quite "cracked" the e-textbook marketyet. Certain disciplines, e.g. Business, would appear to lend themselves more readily to the e-format, if the number of current e-book titles is any indication; however, more subjects are turning to e-books for the potential of enhanced features. Perhapstextbooks may be broken up into individual chapters if one chapter is used in courses more than any other part of the book andcan be sold more effectively as a separate piece, thereby realizing more profit for publishers in a low-profit-margin business. The
  16. 16. separation of elements into single pieces also lends itself to the e-course pack/reader market with its collection of faculty-selected pieces.Ultimately, e-books and e-textbooks, at least of the "traditional" kind, will become a larger part of the higher education scenebecause of distance learning. Online campuses help universities to expand their businesses, offer flexible scheduling for workingand long-distance students, generally increase options, and compete with commercial universities. From an administrativeperspective, online campuses also help universities to cope with the constraints of space on their physical campuses and tosidestep the financial expenses of expanded building and deferred maintenance. As a result, students will be driven to e-formats. What, then, will happen to the student who cannot afford to exercise these online options? It is to be hoped that therewill be efforts to build more of the technical requirements into financial aid or to increase loan programs beyond the rudimentaryequipment that loan programs currently provide. Further, if the digital divide is growing in developed countries, helpingdeveloping countries with these challenges will require a major investment. The ultimate irony may be the student who takesclasses online and only comes to campus when s/he must use a few of the print books in the library. The world of highereducation would then come full circle, returning to its beginnings when the library was the only building and classes were heldelsewhere.3. The faculty userIn fall 2007, ebrary worked with "more than 200 librarians from around the world" to develop a survey "to understand facultyexperiences with e-resources and print materials". The four areas of focus were "usage for research and instruction, attitudes,perceived strengths and weaknesses, [and] instruction experience and preferences". In this case, there were 906 respondentsrepresenting 300 institutions of higher education in 38 countries. Of those respondents, 519 were from the United States and387 from other countries, with 94 from the United Kingdom and 88 from Canada, so the mix of respondents was quite differentfrom the respondents to the student survey, although more in line with the respondents to the cloned survey. The primarysubjects of the respondents were quite varied, but, not surprisingly, library and archival science headed the list at 122, witheducation next at 78. The questions focused on how faculty used e-books in their courses, what they would prefer their librariesto own (the word "own" should be considered cautiously - see below), and questions about e-resources generally.While the survey asked questions beyond the specifics of e-books, there are some interesting elements about faculty practicesregarding e-books. E-books did not fare very well. In his survey analysis, McKiel ([4] ebrary Faculty Survey, 2007) wrote: "Mostpatrons know how to retrieve a book from the shelf once they find it in the catalog. They do not as frequently know how toeffectively use vendor e-book interfaces." Also mentioned were the issues of ease-of-use, portability, and readability. McKielfurther suggested that if patrons learn how to use the vendor interfaces, including searching, 24/7 availability, currency, and texthandling tools, they prefer them for research. Apparently, the students who were surveyed less than a year later havediscovered these features. As a final note, McKiel suggests that the e-book collection needs to be of a reasonable size in orderto make it valuable. As part of the California State University System, California State East Bay currently accesses over 30,000e-books, but as they are offered through catalog records, librarians emphasize to users that they should seek content and usethe format that results, rather than considering the format first. In the past year, the Chemistry Department specifically asked fora book on combinatorial chemistry in e-format rather than print format. In the humanities, the English faculty was comfortablewith the suggestion to purchase e-books. In the social sciences, where there are some fully online programs, e.g. in HumanDevelopment, the selection of e-books is accepted readily. Thus, the tide appears to be shifting generally in science, humanities,and social sciences, with e-books undergoing a slow evolution rather than a dramatic revolution.McKiel ([4] ebrary Faculty Survey, 2007) compared the questions "How do you currently integrate the use of e-journals into yourcourses?" and "How do you currently integrate the use of e-books into your courses?" Not surprisingly, e-journals are integratedmore frequently than e-books, but this may be due to how long e-journals and databases have been around or to the differentneeds of individual disciplines. There were more comments, however, about availability of appropriate content, difficulty of use,students lack of easy access to computers; however, as pointed out above, because of distance learning, if nothing else, thisshift will continue.In comparing e-books and print books, faculty sees the advantages of each format, again stressing the positives of searching,quick reference, remote access, and subject matter for e-books and portability, breadth and depth of content, and readability forprint books. Faculty does think that there are too many technical restrictions on e-books, citing printing, number of users, etc.The concern about number of users is interesting, however, as a print book, if circulated, is only available to one user at a time,but this is probably connected, once again, to faculty being used to unlimited access to databases. There was also the commentthat "Printed books are better for complex materials with statistics and graphics", which is surprising as some assume that theability to understand some complex material must naturally be enhanced by audio and visual elements. Finally, there are
  17. 17. references to the advantages of e-books for distance learning and assistive technology, both of which hold great promise for theadoption of e-books.4. The librarian brokerLibrarians are key brokers for students and faculty in the use of e-books. Ebrarys first survey ([3] ebrary Global eBook Survey,2007), not the cloned survey, was of librarians. The goal of that survey was "to better understand the digital content needs of thelibrary community". There were 583 respondents from 552 individual libraries in 67 countries. Of the libraries, 77 percent wereacademic and 52 percent were North American. Librarians claimed that the majority of their users accessed library-acquired e-books through the catalog, with the library web site coming in second. E-book usage, at that time, was described primarily aseither fair (37 percent) or good (35 percent). Librarians indicated that the driver for e-book use was the integration of MARCrecords into the OPAC, which makes sense when the most common method of accessing e-books is through the catalog. Infact, the ability to integrate e-books with other library resources and web information was considered critical. Inhibitors to e-bookusage included lack of awareness, followed by difficult-to-use platforms, readability difficulties, lack of training, and others.Librarians also indicated that they preferred to purchase rather than subscribe to e-books (59-55 percent). The most frequentresponse from faculty to this same question was that it did not matter.When asked about the most important considerations for purchasing e-books, the factors for librarians included: price, subjectmatter, access model (single-user, multi-user, etc.), currency, budget earmarked to purchase titles, usage of title undersubscription or print, research tools and technology, contributing publishers, other, and integration with print ordering process. Atthe time, the importance of interlibrary loan for e-books was split between "not at all", (41 percent), somewhat (41 percent), andvery (18 percent).Finally, librarians were asked about what they needed from a delivery platform. This included integration with other resources,download capabilities, support for multiple file types, integration with an institutional repository or content management system,library-hosted, PDF-based (now offered by Springer), vendor-hosted, other, and online only (no download).5. IssuesThe key point with these surveys is that student users, faculty users, and librarians do not share the same priorities, even iflibrarians can pretend to be students and come up with similar answers to a number of the student questions. It is possible thatsome of the librarians answers to their own librarian survey might be different today, even though it is only a year and a halfsince it was conducted. Areas such as interlibrary loan, for example, might move up librarians priority list and issues of archivingand assistive technology might be added. With a United States legislative mandate to be accessible (and strongly driven in theCalifornia State University system), this last item has moved front and center for all formats, e- and print.Selection, acquisitions, and technical servicesLibrarians primary consideration - cost, however, is likely to continue to top the librarians list. Student users, in particular, do notconsider cost. Faculty are more aware of this, but neither group has a full idea of the real cost of e-books. Here are a couple ofrecent examples of list prices taken from a book vendors site on 18 August 2008. The combinatorial chemistry book mentionedabove is specifically the title Combinatorial Chemistry and Technologies: Methods and Applications, 2nd edition. It lists at$169.95 USD (hardback and paperback versions) and US$243.28 (e-book). This disparity is fairly typical. In English, there ismore variation. Classroom Instruction that Works with English Language Learners lists at US$26.95 (hardback and paperbackversions) and US$32.34 (e-book), not a big difference, but Asian American Literature , by Bella Adams lists at US$22.00(paperback) and US$121.20 (e-book, single-user license). While three instances are not a sample, the point is that e-bookscurrently tend to be more expensive than print books. Each difference impacts the number of new titles a library can acquireand, in these days of tight budgets, this is significant.Yet, librarians, too, are driven to e-books by the online campus, knowing that the materials must be available for distancelearners, even as the university faces budget issues, student challenges in securing appropriate technology, and assistivetechnology needs. The enrichment that e-books can provide also makes them desirable acquisitions, but the key drivers areoutside the content or its enrichment.Selection is challenging for more reasons than budget. On the one hand, with packages, librarians have ceded some of theirselection control to vendors and publishers. This parallels the situation with journals. In both cases, libraries receive some titles
  18. 18. that would not be chosen for the collections, but they come as part of the package. The choice of what appears in packages mayrest with the vendor, the publisher, a central consortium (if applicable), and, only to some degree, with the library.Librarians also select individual titles, but do they buy them, which is why, above, a caution was given regarding the use of thesurvey word "own"? Options can include purchase or subscription; however, even with purchase, there is generally a caveat.After a few years, librarians will be confronted with another choice - give up the title or begin to pay a platform fee. This isparticularly troublesome because most librarians are not in a position to commit to ongoing costs. How this will play out remainsto be seen.E-reference titles, e.g. [9] Gale Virtual Reference Library (2003), are very much ongoing costs, but they are treated in the sameway as databases and have slipped into the same pattern without a great deal of adjustment. Some experimental types of e-books primarily come through the web. As a result, the challenge is to integrate them into the collection. Should they be"cataloged" or simply made available - somewhere - on the library web site?E-books that are digitized by Google are chosen by vendors and various selection committees, but decisions are also based oncopyright, the availability of a title, and the physical condition of the copy. These decisions are, once again, not necessarilycontent-based, but based on practicalities and non-content criteria.Part of this selection challenge lies in the durability of the end result. This is not only a matter of archiving and technology, butalso a question of copyright, publisher and vendor shifts, and other changes. Librarians are sent lists of titles that a publisher hasdecided to pull from an e-book vendor. They must then choose whether to purchase them or simply let them go. This loss ofcontrol is a concern, particularly if a faculty member has integrated that book, or part of it, into a lesson plan. At California StateEast Bay, there was even one example of a title where a chapter was pulled, leaving the library with an e-part-book. It is to behoped that this was an aberration and not a promise of things to come. Information, however, is fractioning - chapters, pieces -and how to handle them is a challenge.Acquisitions librarians and staff must try to keep up with and understand the evolution that is underway, keeping in mind thattraditional categories will no longer entirely hold. They need to understand what selectors want - a purchase, a subscription,acquisition in whole or in part. They negotiate or participate in negotiating contracts, or they acquire materials even when theyhave no control over contracts because those contracts are decided by others.Contracts are more numerous and grow more complex. It is key to try to make them work with the user in mind, not just with thelibraries needs in mind, which hearkens back to the troubling fact that the lists of priorities for e-books are not the same amongstudents, faculty, and librarians. To focus on user needs, extensive communication is essential with users, with other areaswithin the library, between libraries and their institutions financial operations, and between libraries and their central consortia.This process is no longer a matter of receiving a selection request and ordering it, but a complex structure of decision-making,incorporating multiple and often conflicting needs. Most important is the closer connection between acquisitions at the front endand the user at the back end because the final contract is what the user must live by. Particularly in larger libraries, technicalservices staff can be quite distant from their users, but now, more than ever, that needs to change.When it comes to e-books delivered through the web, the challenges are different. If it is a question of an e-book that issupplemented on the web, the pieces need to be coordinated so that the purchased or subscribed portion and the portiondelivered through the web are treated holistically. For web e-books, the decisions involve cataloging, putting them on library webpages, coordinating them on a subject page or pages for the discipline or disciplines that are likely to want them, and generallypromoting the material as an integrated part of the collection as a whole.Reference and instructionDealing with the public brings librarians directly against the issues and problems that the ebrary Student Survey references inthe student priorities. When students first encounter a catalog record for an e-book at California State East Bay, many contactthe reference desk. The transitory nature of the reference desk generally means that librarians on duty show users how to opene-books, how to navigate the forward and backward arrows to move through the pages, how to click on the chapter headings tojump through the text, and how to access them from home (often requiring a small plug-in). They may cover a few other points,usually in response to questions about printing and downloading, but they rarely show students the types of features that give e-books their big edge - searching, highlighting, etc. - all the manipulations that are not possible with a print book, because theymust move on to the next user.
  19. 19. How, then, do librarians instruct users on the existence of e-books and on their advantages? For those who teach formalcourses in information literacy and library skills, there is an opportunity to work directly with student users in a sustained way.For those who do not teach courses, there are efforts to create tutorials of various kinds. Examples include the [16] University ofWisconsin - Stout (2008), where a web page consolidates various types of e-book sources and includes instructions about howto use netLibrary, and the [15] University of Virginia Librarys (2007) Electronic Text Center page on "Ebooks", which includessome instructions about searching and links to downloading various types of readers. These sites, however, presume that usersknow that e-books exist (consider again the disparity in responses from student and librarian perceptions on this topic). Thesesites also rely either on users initiatives in seeking and finding the sites or on librarians directing users to them. Learningdetailed manipulation of e-books is, therefore, a hit or miss affair. The increasing sophistication of e-books is largely left up to theuser to discern.As for the other priorities, librarians and library staff hear about the problems - inability to access, inability to get the plug-in todownload, inability to open the e-book, etc. Each is dealt with on a case by case basis. Occasionally, users ask for a printequivalent because of readability issues, restrictions on printing all the pages they want, etc. In constrained budget times, thereis rarely another copy in print form as most libraries now acquire only one copy of any title.5. ConclusionDespite the issues and despite their slower-than-expected evolution, e-books prevail. The current technical issues will beresolved, even as new ones spring up. Librarians will continue to acquire more and more e-books, in packages or individually,and work to help users with some configuration that integrates e-books into the rest of the collection; inform users of theirexistence; and provide some instruction on how to find, search, and use them. At the moment, librarians enter records for e-books into their catalogs and provide web sites to direct users to various places where e-books can be accessed - in the catalog,digitized in Google, on free web sites, and on experimental sites. Librarians view e-books as another part of the collection andwrestle with the challenges they present, but as e-books persist, evolve, and shift, they may look back and wonder just whenthey became a standard part of the information landscape and why they thought an e-format of a print equivalent was all therewas.Even as that happens with the most common types of e-books currently in existence, there is the future. Will e-books last?Absolutely. Have librarians ever given up a format or chosen not to archive it? After all, there are still micro-cards and long-playing records, even if it is difficult to find anything on which to read or play them.Ultimately, it comes down to what content creators want to develop and convey. E-books offer so many options - text, audio, stillimages, moving images - and so many devices on which to read them - computers, iPods, PDAs. Creators are experimenting.They want to embody and manifest their ideas and emotions in a meaningful format and they want that format to emergeorganically from their ideas. Each creation will not only be unique in itself, but unique in its manifestation.Just as the e-book will come in many formats, even as its name continues to carry its genetic heritage, there will be newtechnologies that prompt further evolution into something yet to be envisioned. Beyond that, the e-book will never be static,continually embracing new possibilities.It is incredibly exciting.Critical Video EditionsThe Observerebrary Global eBook Survey2007 Global Faculty E-book Survey sponsored by ebrary2008 Global Student E-book Survey - Cloned for LibrariansThe Walt Whitman Archive
  20. 20. The 2008 Horizon Report: Key Emerging TechnologiesKeys for WritersEbooksElectronic BooksGamer TheoryBilgi DünyasiThe purpose of this paper is to find out whether eBooks are cannibalizing print books, as well as an assessment of factors thatare influencing eBook usage. Ebooks are a hot topic. Traditional book publishing, especially in the academic world, is changingat a rapid pace. The question on everybodys mind is what direction book publishing will take? Will print survive in the Google-generation, or is it destined to be totally replaced by eBooks? Springer publishes over 4,000 book titles annually, which areconverted into eBooks almost without exception. Being the market leader and innovator of a new business model in electronicbooks in the STM area, Springer has conducted a study on the implications of the Springer eBook collection in comparison to itsprint book activities. Design/methodology/approach - The study is based on interviews with both end-users and librarians. Inaddition, Springer has assessed the (COUNTER-compliant) usage statistics from SpringerLink. Findings - Overall, SpringerseBook usage is already 50 percent of its journal usage, while the amount of content compared with journals is only 15 percent.Taking this success of eBook usage into account, Springer still believes strongly in the print model, and has recently launchedMyCopy: heavily discounted print-on-demand books from the electronic versions. Originality/value - The study shows that printand electronic can exist together, and will complement each others strengths. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]The purpose of this paper is to quantify the use of electronic journals in comparison with the print collections in the Guru GobindSingh Indraprastha University Library. A detailed analysis was made of the use of lending services, the Xerox facility and usageof electronic journals such as Science Direct, Emerald Management Xtra, ACM, IEL Library, subscribed to by the Library. Thepaper finds that, although many more users at the University are accessing electronic journals, it is not affecting the use of theprint collection. The numbers of transactions and photocopy requests of print articles are continuously on the rise. Moreresearch can be done by carrying out a deep log analysis of usage statistics of e-journals. Usage statistics of some of theresources could not be accessed. The paper provides useful information on the use of electronic journals in comparison with theprint collections in a university library.In an interview, several people talked about e-textbooks. Paul Musket, Associate Director of the University Bookstore at theUniversity of Missouri, said that until the students grasp the digital book idea, its problematic. They generally come from K 12,where they dont have digital books, to this environment, where digital books appear to be a good deal. Darla Runyon, AssistantDirector and Curriculum Design Specialist, CITE, at Northwest Missouri State University, also said that the faculty have thecontent knowledge to develop e-textbooks. But most dont have the skills to develop the interactive pieces that teachers want tosee in an electronic textbook. Robin Schulze, English Department Head at the Pennsylvania State University, added that thehuman factor should not be undersold. If the faculty member is very, very interested in the electronic textbook and really makesan effort, that increases its value. But if the faculty member is already resistant to the process, theres just no way youre going tosell the idea, no matter what you do.In 2005, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered a report to Congress on the landscape of higher education.The study answered several questions, among which were: how has the cost of college changed over recent years and whatfactors have contributed to those changes. The GAO found that textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation forthe past two decades. In an attempt to expound on the findings in the study and to explore the potential impact an expandedutilization of e-textbooks on the cost of a college education, this paper will examine the current and future use of e-textbooks inaddressing the ever increasing costs of a college education. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]