Sunday, July 27, 2008

JISC/CNI 08: The Next Steps of Electronic Books

JISC national e-books observatory project - a UK wide laboratory: Lorraine Estelle, Chief Executive, JISC Collections

It was noted that the textbook sector does not engage with library – direct to student via academics

That the project was restricted to only 36 books indicates how nervous publishers were and the level of pricing they were charging

127 subscribers to myiLibrary platform (3 subjects)
80 to Ovid (medical)

90% librarians believed e-textbooks should be free at point of use
>22000 responses to survey from users (123 universities)
50% teachers not happy
65% media students “”
But 60% already using ebooks
3.1% thought about buying the book
35% using library
40% share with friend
62.6% read from screen; 6% print off
Equal numbers visit library/access elsewhere
Women in particular appreciated access to digital library, much more than men
Expect access via catalogue

Preliminary results from data with Student use from January
Finding opposite behaviour to superbook project; here only 5% of time spent searching; 72% going straight to content
Attributing to Superbook only third were catalogued – evidence that cataloguing is a user focussed and worthwhile activity

Taking what we observe students doing and use it to inform construction of the ebook. Are we taking ancient physical structures & navigation into a new world.

Repeat using survey asking them why?

The Gutenberg-e Electronic Book Project: Opportunities and Challenges in Publishing Born-Digital Monographs:
Kate Wittenberg, Director, Electronic Publishing Initiative, Columbia University

Prizes for best new scholarship by American Historical Association.
Condition of additional work to transform from print dissertation to born-digital book
Project Goals
Workshops with authors to enable them
Change in attitudes towards digital publishing within academy
Contain costs of publishing scholarly monographs
Authors & publishers became close active collaborators rather than ‘lone toilers’
Both sides became more interested in possibilities and more creative
Attitudes towards digital publications evolved – eg concerns that digital monographs hadn’t gone through same rigorous review process as print.
Time & costs exceeded expectations (possibly because the project had blank slates –perhaps for commercialisation need controls similar to print)

Must the scholarly narrative be presented in a linear form?
How does one present an ‘authorial voice’?
Are image & archives supplementary or the organising structure?
Can new ‘textbooks’ be created by integrating ebooks and teaching tools

Tension between author’s creativity and a very traditional environment e.g. some journals would refuse to review born digital so had to create ‘bound galleys’ Seen some changes particularly in the last couple of years.

Potential can create high costs – need to agree on what can be expected
Enhanced collaboration can increase costs and times; the levels of support decreased with later groups.
Need for continuing innovation; and changes from authors, bulishers and universities attitudes.

Companion websites
Publishers lack of integration of ebook/website something which needs further investigation.

Effects of hardware e.g Kindle; current project looked at content

Would catalogue work as a discovery platform for 1000s ebooks - it does for print
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