Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”

Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”

Statement on Collection Development, Access, and Equity in the time of COVID-19

“As is the case in Latin America and the Caribbean and elsewhere across the Global South, the majority of publications from the Middle East (Southwest Asia), North Africa and the diasporas are print-only, and are not available in electronic formats. Therefore, collecting policies which prefer electronic acquisitions at the expense of print risk excluding from their growing collections a significant portion of the cultural and scholarly production of these regions. Such policies threaten the diversity of representation in library collections by further marginalizing already marginalized voices….

We are particularly concerned that research materials and resources will be concentrated in a handful of wealthy, often private, institutions.  Commitment to area studies in general and to Middle East studies librarianship in particular is also instrumental for maintaining diverse and inclusive collections that reflect and support the wide ranging scholarly and creative interests of our users.”

SALALM Resolution: Collection Development in the Time of Covid-19 – Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials

“In light of the COVID-19 situation and budgetary reductions, libraries are implementing policies focusing primarily on digital formats, SALALM expresses the following concerns regarding challenges in the collection development eco-system for Latin American and Caribbean Studies:

Whereas, the majority of publications from Latin America and the Caribbean are print-only, and are not available in electronic formats, as UNESCO’s CERLALC reports in El espacio iberoamericano del libro;
Whereas, e-preferred collection development policies will exclude non-English language materials and Latin America and Caribbean cultural and scholarly production, including the voices of Black, indigenous, LGBTQ, and transnational authors, which are so critical to advancing the research and learning of the region and their diasporas in the United States; 
Whereas, a sudden shift away from research materials only available in print not only threatens the integrity of diverse library collections, but also places a dedicated network of local vendors of scholarly and ephemeral research materials at risk of closure; 
Whereas, these regional vendors are important because of their expertise in specific regions and they provide access to necessary and unique materials for learning, teaching and research needs of library users that would be overlooked by larger vendors based outside of the region; 
Whereas, pioneering cooperative Open Access models such as SciELO and RedALyC have made scholarly journals from the region widely available for over two decades, yet a gap for monographs still exists; …

[SALALM] advocates for continued and increased support for Open Access initiatives in Latin American and Caribbean countries through the Latin American Materials Project (LAMP), Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP), SALALM’s Award for Institutional Collaborative Initiatives, and other existing collaborative Open Access projects.”

Four reports on the OA monograph: Review – Hill – – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

Increasing interest in open access (OA) monographs is reflected by the publication of four reports in 2019.
The cost of transitioning monographs to OA is a constant source of concern among all stakeholders.
Print remains an important medium for monographs – but for how long?
The fully OA licences used for journals are considerably less popular within the monograph ecosystem.
The technical interoperability taken for granted among journals is not yet evident in digital monograph publishing….”

Research Library Digitization Has Found Its Moment  | Ithaka S+R

“Recent weeks have seen the collapse of the print format. With academic libraries closed during the pandemic, acquisition, processing, browsing, circulation, and interlibrary lending have come to a halt for tangible materials. 

But even before the pandemic, the primacy of print had passed. Academic libraries are no longer principally defined by their tangible collections nor even their physical spaces. They are easily the most digital part of the academic enterprise at traditional institutions of higher education. Libraries have fostered the creation of extraordinary digital collections, through a combination of content licensing, open access initiatives, and collection digitization. They have provided infrastructure and services that are accessible remotely. While libraries remain more than just their digital collections and services, the digital transformation has allowed libraries to provide tremendous value to the faculty members and students who have been displaced. 

One especially outright hero today is HathiTrust. Its Emergency Temporary Access Service enables its members to make vast swathes of their unavailable print collections accessible digitally. In essence, whatever components of a given member institution’s print collection have become temporarily unavailable can be “loaned” digitally to affiliates of that institution. For some members, this amounts to millions of books, in some cases well over half the print collection. The ability to simply “turn on” digital access to such a high share of the print collection on a temporary basis is an absolutely amazing benefit to Hathi members. It would be a surprise if other libraries were not clamoring to join the collaboration just for this benefit alone. …”

On a challenge of print subsidy for OA | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“When a journal migrates across to OLH, we ask libraries who used to subscribe if they would consider supporting OLH. One reply we had to this was that the customer had “already bought the print version”, as though this covered our costs. There was a fundamental conceptual misunderstanding of what is being paid for when buying print as opposed to supporting a consortial membership model for OA, like OLH. When we sell a print copy, we are covering the costs to us of producing and shipping the object. An OLH membership, on the other hand, lets us create the OA and print editions. The media objects – digital or print – would not exist without this support.

Ways around this that I can think of: …”

For the Love of Literacy–Better World Books and the Internet Archive Unite to Preserve Millions of Books | Internet Archive Blogs

“Announced today, Better World Books, the world’s leading socially conscious online bookseller, is now owned by Better World Libraries, a mission-aligned, not-for-profit organization that is affiliated with longtime partner, the Internet Archive.  This groundbreaking partnership will allow both organizations to pursue their collective mission of making knowledge universally accessible to readers everywhere. This new relationship will provide additional resources and newfound synergies backed by a shared enthusiasm for advancing global literacy. Together, the two organizations are expanding the digital frontier of book preservation to ensure books are accessible to all for generations to come.

This new relationship will allow Better World Books to provide a steady stream of books to be digitized by the Internet Archive, thereby growing its digital holdings to millions of books. Libraries that work alongside Better World Books will now make a bigger impact than ever. Any book that does not yet exist in digital form will go into a pipeline for future digitization, preservation and access.  …”

Text of Digital Library Futures keynote (Cambridge, 21st May 2019) | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

There is a short story by the famous Argentine author, Jorge Luis Borges, of a civilization possessed of a holy book. The book must, at all costs, be protected and preserved for the future. It is encased within a dark and mighty sarcophagus to ensure its safety from quote “humidity, heat, damp, cold, ice, fire, wind, rain, snow, sleet, prying fingers, hard stares, the gnawing of rats, sonic disintegration, the dribbling of infants, and the population at large” end quote. The special caste of custodians in the story – a kind of priesthood of knowledge – are confident that they can protect the book; especially from this last and most damaging group, the population at large. Indeed, as time goes by and greater swathes of this growingly democratic population request access to the book, the priesthood formulate ever-more contrived rationales for the protection of the artefact. The intrinsic value of the book, to use a term from the report that forms the basis of today’s symposium, seems, in the story, to be increased by its scarcity of access, even as its instrumental value to society grows lesser by the day. For even the priesthood do not really know or understand the contents of the book that they guard. They have only the peripheral metadata context within which to work: the sacredness of the artefact, but also the sacredness of the notion of preservation. As preservation becomes an end in itself for the priesthood, the barbarian populace eventually overwhelm the fortification and prise open the sacred sarcophagus. The story draws to a close as the lay tribes examine the holy book, over the corpses of the priesthood, to find that it is written in a language and script that is completely indecipherable and that has been lost to time; as meaning has eroded over the span of artefactual preservation.

Borges, of course, never actually wrote such a story. But he could have and it did sound vaguely plausible as a transparent allegory of the phenomenon under discussion today. Namely: what is the tension between, and the resolution of, preservation and access for non-print legal deposit? How is it that we have come to a situation where the path-dependence of print has so thoroughly conditioned the access possibilities for the digital that its most salient property – that of non-rivalrous dissemination – must be once more made rivalrous and discarded? And what of the structures of meaning that themselves naturally erode over time, like an entropic process, in the digital space? How, without some form of continuous access, can we ensure that we can still read our digitally preserved heritage over even a decadal timespan?…

But the 909 articles published or supported solely by the platform that I run, the Open Library of Humanities, in its first year accumulated 118,686 unique views. That is, this tiny number of open access articles were viewed by more people than a UK national-level pilot giving on-site access to vast quantities of subscription material across all disciplines over almost double the same time period. This kind of study is most often used to show that “very few people want to read this material, so why should an industry reconfigure its economics to accommodate such changes?” I think that our platform shows exactly the opposite, though. For this is where my interests in open access coincide with issues of user-centric thinking about non-print legal deposit. In a world where we can demonstrate by example that there is an audience for even the most abstruse types of humanities scholarship, it is becoming increasingly problematic to separate preservation from any kind of distributed networked access….”

Worried About the Future of the Monograph? So Are Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

From your perspective as the AUP’s new president, what are the most important issues facing scholarly publishers?

Crewe: Our biggest challenge remains the low sales of scholarly monographs, such as revised dissertations or scholarly books with a narrow focus in a small field. Libraries share copies, and individuals don’t purchase the new books in their fields as they did 20 years ago.

We want to publish these books. They are the building blocks of our own reputation and they are often groundbreaking, field-changing works. We’re looking for publishing grants to support them, and we try each season to publish enough profitable books to cover the losses on monographs.

But today’s model isn’t sustainable. There are a number of experiments under way to figure out how to publish specialized monographs in a freely available open-access format….”