Ebook Collection Development in Academic Libraries: Examining Preference, Management, and Purchasing Patterns

“Key findings: • Electronic books are now an established part of academic library collections, and many libraries report planned future expenditures in this format. On average, ebooks constitute approximately one-third of a library’s monograph collection. • Patron convenience and need are the main motivators for libraries’ investment in ebooks. The top four advantages of ebooks identified by institutions are all user-related: anywhere access, anytime access, enhancement of distance/online education, and allowance for multi-user access. As this survey was conducted during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many respondents emphasized the benefits of access. Typical responses included “perfect for COVID-19,” “these are the only books our students can access right now because of COVID-19,” and “serving college programs and courses now being taught remotely due to pandemic.” • Librarians believe that patrons are increasingly format agnostic when it comes to monographs, and as a result they are purchasing a mix of print and electronic books dictated by availability, cost, and collecting scope rather than assumptions about patron preferences. • The ebook acquisition landscape is complex with multiple vendors, platforms, and purchase models to navigate. Despite this complexity and the inherent frustrations that it brings, libraries are effectively handling the challenges and do not see them as insurmountable barriers to acquiring ebook content. • The ebook format has not transformed the collecting scopes and strategies of academic libraries. Libraries are purchasing the same types of content in ebook format as they purchase in print, focusing on the relevance of the content and not the format….

Saving money is an oft-cited benefit of ebooks for patrons as well. The push for libraries to invest in etextbooks and open educational resources are movements to help offset the growing expense of higher education for students. When libraries invest in these options, they save students thousands of dollars. Ebooks also avoid punitive late fees and fines for books, since they are never overdue or damaged; ebooks are either downloaded and stored on a patron’s computer or access to the content expires….

Nearly all academic libraries and their home institutions instituted stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With campuses closed, access to physical books through a library’s holdings or interlibrary loan was limited to non-existent. Libraries and their patrons looked to digital research objects such as ebooks to support research and instructional needs from a distance. In addition to using a library’s existing ebook collections, patrons also utilized open access ebooks, ebooks from the Internet Archive, and ebooks from the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (for participating libraries). …”

Farewell Print Textbook Reserves: A COVID-19 Change to Embrace | EDUCAUSE

“The current turn of events points to the future demise of print textbook reserves. It should spur librarians and their faculty colleagues to imagine higher education with fully digital e-reserves and a commitment to born-digital, zero- or low-cost learning materials that all students can equitably afford to access. We should adopt Open Educational Resources (OER) to the fullest extent possible. Together, let us learn from this COVID-19 experience and move forward by eliminating our fragile dependence on course content that commercial publishers refuse to make available to libraries in digital format. Any sustainable future for affordable and accessible digital learning materials must come from within the academy.”

Farewell Print Textbook Reserves: A COVID-19 Change to Embrace | EDUCAUSE

“The current turn of events points to the future demise of print textbook reserves. It should spur librarians and their faculty colleagues to imagine higher education with fully digital e-reserves and a commitment to born-digital, zero- or low-cost learning materials that all students can equitably afford to access. We should adopt Open Educational Resources (OER) to the fullest extent possible. Together, let us learn from this COVID-19 experience and move forward by eliminating our fragile dependence on course content that commercial publishers refuse to make available to libraries in digital format. Any sustainable future for affordable and accessible digital learning materials must come from within the academy.”

Research Libraries, Researchers & the EOSC: Central/Eastern European Landscape – Scientific Knowledge Services

“A highly participative workshop format, with only 3 short presentations and generous time for a creative discussions session.  Make your participation remarkable!

 

Research libraries have been championing Open Access and Open Science both within and beyond our institutions. We have demonstrated strong leadership in Open Science as policy-makers on the one hand and sound management when implementing plans to realise that policy on the other. Research libraries have been the key holders of data for a long time and play a key role in connecting end-users/researchers to Open Science and the EOSC. Also research libraries develop and maintain services that users rely upon and that need to be integrated into the EOSC. Libraries can, therefore, help develop the requirements for the inclusion of services and data into the EOSC. The strong experience in advocating for Open Science for many years can help to advocate for the EOSC in the research community….”

Research Libraries, Researchers & the EOSC: Central/Eastern European Landscape – Scientific Knowledge Services

“A highly participative workshop format, with only 3 short presentations and generous time for a creative discussions session.  Make your participation remarkable!

 

Research libraries have been championing Open Access and Open Science both within and beyond our institutions. We have demonstrated strong leadership in Open Science as policy-makers on the one hand and sound management when implementing plans to realise that policy on the other. Research libraries have been the key holders of data for a long time and play a key role in connecting end-users/researchers to Open Science and the EOSC. Also research libraries develop and maintain services that users rely upon and that need to be integrated into the EOSC. Libraries can, therefore, help develop the requirements for the inclusion of services and data into the EOSC. The strong experience in advocating for Open Science for many years can help to advocate for the EOSC in the research community….”

The move to open: medical library leadership in scholarly communication | Shaffer | Journal of the Medical Library Association

Abstract:  Over the years, health sciences librarians have been change agents, leading the charge on issues of importance to the profession and the communities we serve. From its founding in 1898 with the Exchange, the Medical Library Association (MLA) has been dedicated to improving access to health information. In 2003, the Board of Directors published a statement supporting open access to information generated from federally funded scientific and medical research and maintained that having access to timely, relevant, and accurate information is vital to the health of the nation and its education and research programs. At some financial risk, the association made the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) open access and published the entire archive of JMLA and its predecessor, the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, in PubMed Central. Nearly two decades later, the promise of open access and open science finally seems to be coming to fruition. In the 2020 Janet Doe Lecture, Chris Shaffer, AHIP, described the ways that MLA has led the profession, standing behind a shared vision and “walking the walk.” In challenging listeners to embrace open science, he affirmed that, as leaders in improving access to health sciences information since 1898, medical librarians must work in the open science arena to realize our vision “that quality information is essential for improved health.”

 

The move to open: medical library leadership in scholarly communication | Shaffer | Journal of the Medical Library Association

Abstract:  Over the years, health sciences librarians have been change agents, leading the charge on issues of importance to the profession and the communities we serve. From its founding in 1898 with the Exchange, the Medical Library Association (MLA) has been dedicated to improving access to health information. In 2003, the Board of Directors published a statement supporting open access to information generated from federally funded scientific and medical research and maintained that having access to timely, relevant, and accurate information is vital to the health of the nation and its education and research programs. At some financial risk, the association made the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) open access and published the entire archive of JMLA and its predecessor, the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, in PubMed Central. Nearly two decades later, the promise of open access and open science finally seems to be coming to fruition. In the 2020 Janet Doe Lecture, Chris Shaffer, AHIP, described the ways that MLA has led the profession, standing behind a shared vision and “walking the walk.” In challenging listeners to embrace open science, he affirmed that, as leaders in improving access to health sciences information since 1898, medical librarians must work in the open science arena to realize our vision “that quality information is essential for improved health.”

 

Boston Public Library makes historical images available for use in Wikipedia | Boston Public Library

“In celebration of Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary on January 15th, Boston Public Library has uploaded more than 8,000 historical photographs from its archival collections to Wikimedia Commons. These images include some of the library’s most important photographic collections, and contribute to the single largest batch of uploads ever contributed to Wikimedia Commons. By uploading these public domain images, BPL is making them available so that they can be freely used to enhance Wikipedia articles, re-printed in publications, or incorporated in student projects and papers. …”

The state of the field: An excerpt from the 2021 Library Publishing Directory | Library Publishing Coalition

“The yearly Library Publishing Directory provides insights into library publishing activities, allowing us to consider how the field has evolved, prevalent current practice, and possible future directions. While we discuss trends below—often in comparison to prior years—please note that the number and composition of the dataset of Directory listings changes yearly; thus a strict comparison year to year is not possible. Further complicating any analysis of the data are changes to the survey itself. We do try to update the survey as changes in technology and publishing platforms emerge. The  Directory Committee routinely evaluates the data model to ensure that it best reflects the library publishing field. Many of the survey questions remain the same year to year and new questions are periodically added. This year’s collaboration with LibPub SIG and the resultant focus on the international community of library publishers prompted the addition of a question about languages used in publications and added additional types of library publisher (public library and consortium)….

Library publishers continue to strongly support open access publication. All libraries in the 2021 Directory indicated that open access publication was important to their publishing program. Almost one-half of the respondents indicated that their publications were completely open access. No respondent indicated that the open access focus of its publishing program was only somewhat or not at all important….”

IFLA — IFLA/ALA Webinar (with NPSIG): Open Access and libraries: Lessons from COVID-19 and our path towards the future

“IFLA has affirmed that comprehensive open access to scholarly literature and research documentation is vital to the understanding of our world and to the identification of solutions to global challenges and particularly the reduction of information inequality.  Coalition S which is hosted by the European Science Foundation, has stated that full and immediate Open Access to research results can provide fast answers to protect lives and curb disasters. It is time to make full use of that potential for other global crises that are threatening us.  UNESCO is promoting and supporting the online availability of scholarly information to everyone, free of most licensing and copyright barriers—for the benefit of global knowledge flow, innovation and socio-economic development.

Join us for an event with library leaders and learn about how they are managing Open Access efforts in the midst of COVID-19 to move forward research and access to information free of barriers during these times when libraries are deeply impacted by the pandemic. …”