ER&L 2010: E-book Management – It Sounds Serial!

Speakers: Dani L. Roach & Carolyn DeLuca

How do you define an ebook? How is it different from a print book? From another online resource? Is it like pornography – you know it when you see it? “An electronic equivalent of a distinct print title.” What about regularly updated ebooks? For the purposes of this presentation, an ebook is defined by its content, format, delivery, and fund designation.

Purchase impacts delivery and delivery impacts purchase – we need to know the platform, the publisher, the simultaneous user level, bundle options, pricing options (more than cost – includes release dates, platforms, and licensing), funding options, content, and vendor options (dealing more one-on-one with publishers). We now have multiple purchasing pots and need to budget annually for ebooks – sounds like a serial. Purchasing decisions impact collection development, including selection decisions, duplicate copies, weeding, preferences/impressions, and virtual content that requires new methods of tracking.

After you purchase an ebook bundle, then you have to figure out what you actually have. The publisher doesn’t always know, and the license doesn’t always reflect reality, and your ERMS/link resolve may not have the right information, either. Also, the publisher doesn’t always remove the older editions promptly, so you have to ask them to “weed.”

Do you use vendor-supplied MARC records or purchase OCLC record sets? Do you get vendor-neutral records, or multiple records for each source (and you will have duplicates).

Who does what? Is your binding person managing the archival process? Is circulation downloading the ebooks to readers? Is your acquisitions person ordering ebooks, or does your license manger now need to do that? How many times to library staff touch a printed book after it is cataloged and shelved? How about ebooks?

Users are already used to jumping from platform to platform – don’t let that excuse get in the way of purchasing decisions.

Ebooks that are static monographs that are one-time purchases are pretty much like print books. When ebooks become hybrids that incorporate aspects of ejournals and subscription databases, it gets complicated.

Why would a library buy an ebook rather than purchase it in a consortia setting? With print books, you can share them, so shouldn’t we want to that with ebooks? Yes, but ebooks are relatively so new that we haven’t quite figured out how to do this effectively, and consorital purchases are often too slow for title-by-title purchases.

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