ER&L 2016: Hard Data for Tough Choices: eBooks and pBooks in Academic Libraries


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ebooks
“ebooks” by Randy Rodgers

Speakers: Katherine Leach and Matthew Connor Sullivan, Harvard

eBooks have not supplanted pBooks. Providing access to both formats is not possible…even for Harvard.

Users really do want and use both. There is a need for a better understanding of user behavior for both formats.

In 2014, they purchased the complete Project Muse collection, which included a significant and intentional overlap with their print collection. This allowed for a deep comparison and analysis.

You cannot compare them directly in a meaningful way. There are many ways of counting eBooks and pBooks are notoriously undercounted in their use. They looked at whether or not a book was used, and if it was used in only one format or multiple, and then how that compared to the average use across the collection.

26% of titles were used in both formats over the time period, only .5% on a monthly basis. It’s sometimes suggested that eBooks are used for discovery, but even at the monthly level this is not reflected in the data. The pattern of use of each format is generally about the same over the semester, but eBook use tends to be a little behind the pBook use. But, again, it’s difficult to get precise patterns of eBook use with monthly reports. There was no significant differences in format use by subject classification or imprint year or publisher, particularly when factoring the number of titles in each category.

They looked at the average decrease of a pBook over a four year period. They found a 35% decrease in circulation for each imprint year over that time, and this is without any impact of eBook. This is not always factored into these kinds of studies. They found that the decrease increases to 54% when eBooks are added to the mix. There’s also the issue of print use decreasing generally, with monographs losing out to eresources in student and faculty citation studies.

HSS at Harvard has been very clear that they want to continue the print collection at the level it has been, but they also want electronic access. How do we work with publishers to advocate for electronic access without having to purchase the book twice?

Audience Q&A:
What about providing short term loan access for the first 3-4 years? Harvard doesn’t like to purchase eBooks they don’t have perpetual access to.

P&E has been available for journals, why not books? Some publishers have worked with them to give deep discounts on print with an eBook package.

What has been the impact of electronic reserves on use? Haven’t looked at it.

How do you know if someone looked at the eBook and determined they didn’t want/need and that is why the pBook wasn’t used? Hard to determine. They don’t use eBook usage to drive the print acquisition — usually they already have the pBook.

Considering the lifecycle and the decrease in use over a short period of time from imprint year, does that cause you to question the purchase of eBook backfiles? eBook use over that time didn’t seem to decrease as significantly as the pBook.

ER&L 2015 – Evidence Based Collection Models: Not Your Traditional DDA


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Spreadsheet
“Spreadsheet” by Jon Newman

Wiley offers the entire collection or subject collections for a set access fee based on FTE tiers. At the end of the access period, titles up to (or for additional cost) exceeding the access fee are selected for perpetual access. Usage data is provided to help with selection.

 

Speaker: Galadriel Chilton, University of Connecticut

In general, ebook borrowers like public library books, but the formats of many academic ebooks is frustrating. If ebooks are not integrated with journal content, they are often not found or not found as easily. Convenience is key. There’s also the issue of unencrypted usage data being transmitted by Adobe, which is now being transmitted “securely,” but still profiling the reading habits of users.

They started the EBA with Wiley in April, and they saw a jump in usage before the titles were even in the catalog or discovery service. They were finding it on the platform already.

Downsides: Some content is only available on aggregator platforms, rather than Wiley’s platform. Some content is not included in the EBA program. Also, this adds another wrinkle to an already complicated ERM ecosystem.

It’s not an all-encompassing solution, but it is an ebook collection method that has significantly improved user experience.

 

Speaker: Monica Metz-Wiseman, University of South Florida

About 15% of the audience still has an approval plan. About 40% have a declining monographic budget. About 70% have declining monographic circulation.

They haven’t had an approval plan in 2009, have had a 50% drop in print circulation since 2008, and now rely on ebook packages and PDA (with STL).

They looked at STL costs in 2013 and saw that Wiley and Taylor & Francis were at the top. They decided to try the EBA with Wiley.

They wanted to recalibrate access with ownership. They wanted increased control over costs and content. They wanted to make sure the books would still be there later when a faculty member went looking for it (not always the case with PDA).

Challenges: The collection specialists were already removed from the collection process with PDA, and this was just another stake in the heart. There are two platform for Wiley collections, so they are having to maintain some of the titles on EBL still. The MARC records are not always good, requiring some manual fixes. Scalability is going to be challenging if there isn’t enough staff support. Funding uncertainty may make sustainability difficult, as well.

Benefits: Content integration, preferred DRM features, easier authentication, holding the line on price increases for STL and aggregator ebooks, and increased familiarity with Wiley content.

Selections were made on absolute use, without consulting subject specialists. They did not look to see if there were print copies available in the library already.

Not sure what impact this will have on ebook pricing in the future when publishers have more data about what users want.

 

Speaker: Robert Murdoch, Brigham Young University

He has prettier slides, but not much to say that wasn’t covered by the others.

Charleston 2012: Wasted Words? Current Trends in CD Policies


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Dad's Desk II by Chris Jagers
“Dad’s Desk II” by Chris Jagers

Speakers: Matt Torrence, Audrey Powers, & Megan Sheffield, University of South Florida

Are collection development policies viable today? In order answer this, they sent out a survey to ARL libraries to see if they are using them or if they’re experimenting with something else. They were also interested to know when and how data is being used in the process.

The survey results will be published in the proceedings. I will note anything here that seems particularly interesting, but it looks like all they are doing now is reading that to us.

Are collection development policies being used? Yes, sort of. Although most libraries in the survey do have them, they tend to be used for accreditation and communication, and often they are not consistently available either publicly or internally.

What are the motivations for using collection development policies? Tends to be more for external/marketing than for internal workflows.

They think that a collection  development “philosophy” may be a more holistic response to the changing nature of collection development.

Speakers: two people from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, but they had four names on the PPT, and I didn’t catch who was who

They recently decided to revise their collection development policy/guidelines based on a recommendation from a strategic planning ARL Collection Analysis Project. They also had quite a few new librarians who needed to work with faculty selectors.

They did a literature review and gathered information on practices from peer institutions. They actually talked to the Office of Institutional Research about data on academic degree programs. And, like students, they looked online to see if they could borrow from existing documents.

One thing they took away from the review of what other libraries have out there was that they needed to have the document live on the web, and not just on paper in a binder in someone’s office.

Policies/guidelines should be continuously updating, flexible, acknowledge consortia memberships, acknowledge new formats, and strike a balance between being overly detailed and too general.

They see that the project has had some benefits, not only to themselves but also to provide a guide for current and future users of the policies. It is also a valuable tool for transmitting institutional memory.

NASIG 2011: Using Assessment to Make Collection Development Decisions


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Speaker: Mary Ann Trail & Kerry Chang FitzGibbon

It is not in the interest of faculty to cut journal titles because it may be perceived as an admission that it is not needed. With relying on faculty input for collection decisions, the collection can become skewed when certain faculty are more vocal than others.

When a new director arrived in 2000, they began to use more data to make decisions. And, the increase in aggregator databases and ejournals changed what was being collected. In addition to electronic publishing, electronic communication has changed the platform and audience for faculty communicating with each other and administrators, which can be both good and bad for library budgets.

In 2005, after some revision of collection methods, cancellations, and reallocation, they went to a periodicals allocation formula. This didn’t work out as well as expected, and was abandoned in 2008.

As a part of their assessment projects in 2008, they looked at the overlap between print and electronic titles to see if they could justify canceling the print in order to address the budget deficit. Most importantly, they wanted to proactively calm the faculty, who were already upset about past cancellations, with assurances that they would not lose access to the titles.

They used their ERMS to generate overlap analysis report, and after some unnecessary and complicated exporting and sorting, she was able to identify overlaps with their print collection. Then she identified the current subscriptions before going to the databases to verify that the access is correct and noted any embargo information. This was then combined with budget line, costs, and three years of usage (both print and electronic for non-aggregator access).

They met their budget target by canceling the print journals, and they used the term “format change” instead of cancel when they communicated with faculty. Faculty showed more support for this approach, and were more willing to advocate for library funds.

Did they consider publications that have color illustrations or other materials that are better in print? Yes, and most of them were retained in print.

Did they look at acquiring other databases to replace additional print cancellations? No, not with their funding situation.

What was the contingency plan for titles removed from the aggregator? Would resubscribe if the faculty asked for it, but funds would likely come from the monograph budget.

VLACRL Spring 2011: Patron-Driven Acquisitions panel

“Selectors are more fussy about the [ebook] platform than the students.” – Nancy Gibbs


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Speakers from James Madison University, Duke University, and the College of William & Mary

James Madison University has done two trials of patron-driven acquisitions. The first one was mainly for print books that had been requested through interlibrary loan. If the book is a university press or new (past two years) imprint, they rush order it through an arrangement with the campus bookstore. The book arrives and is cataloged (actually, the book gets cataloged when it’s ordered, saving additional processing time) in about the same time it would take if it was coming through the ILL system, and most of these books ended up circulating frequently with renewals.

Their second trial was for ebooks through their book jobber, Coutts, and their MyiLibrary platform. They used the same parameters as their approval plan and set it up like most PDA ebook programs: drop the records in the catalog and after X number of “substantial uses” (i.e. not the table of contents, cover, etc.) the book is purchased using a deposit account fund. They excluded some publishers from the PDA process because they prefer to purchase the books on the publisher’s platform or have other arrangements (i.e. Gale or Wiley). If your library needs certain fields in the MARC record added, removed, or modified, they recommend that you have the vendor do that for you rather than touching every record locally, particularly given the volume of records involved.

The ebook PDA trial was initiated last calendar year, and they found that 75% of the ebooks purchased were used 5-19 times with an average of 14.77 per title. Surprisingly enough, they did not spend out their modest deposit account and were able to roll it over to this year. Already for 2011, they are seeing a 30% increase in purchases.

Duke University was one of the ARL libraries in the eBrary PDA pilot program. Out of the 90,000 titles offered, they culled the list down to 21,000 books published after 2006 with a $275 price per title limit. Even with that, they blew through the deposit account quickly. But, they found that the titles purchased were within the scope of what they would have collected anyway, so they added more funds to the deposit account. In the end, they purchased about 348 ebooks for $49,000 – mainly English-language titles from publishers like Wiley, Cambridge, and Oxford, and in areas like business and economics.

Other aspects of the Duke trial: They did not match up the 21,000 books with their approval plan, but used other criteria to select them. They negotiated 10 “clicks” to initiate a purchase (whatever the clicks mean). They were send approval slips for many of the titles that were purchased, but for whatever reason the selector did not choose them.

About 183 (over 50%) of the ebooks purchased were already owned in print by the library. One of their regrets is not capturing data about the time of day or day of week that the ebooks were accessed. It’s possible that the duplicates were accessed because the user was unable to access the print book for whatever reason (location, time of day, etc.). Also, two of the books purchased were already owned in electronic format in collections, but had not been cataloged individually.

Duke has also done a PDA program with interlibrary loan. The parameters are similar to JMU’s, and they are pushing OCLC to include preferred format in the ILLiad forms, as they would like to purchase ebooks if the user prefers that format.

They are also looking to do some topic-specific PDAs for new programs.

The College of William & Mary is a YBP customer for their print books, but they decided to go with Coutts’ MyiLibrary for their ebook PDA trial. This was initially the source of a great deal of frustration with de-duping records and preventing duplicate purchases. After several months and a duplication rate as much as 23%, they eventually determined that it was a time gap between when Coutts identified new titles for the PDA and when W&M sent them updates with what they had purchased in print or electronic from other sources.

In the end, they spent the $30,000 private Dean’s fund on 415 titles fairly evenly across the disciplines. About 45 titles had greater than 100 uses, and one title was used 1647 times (they think that was for a class). Despite that, they have not had to purchase a multi-user license for any title (neither has JMU), so either MyiLibrary is letting in multiple simultaneous users and not charging them, or it has not been an issue for a single user to access the titles at a time.

One thing to consider if you are looking to do patron-driven acquisitions with ebooks is the pricing. Ebooks are priced at the same rate as hardcover books, and multiple user licenses are usually 50% more. Plan to get less for the same money if you have been purchasing paperbacks.

There are pros and cons to publicizing the PDA trial during the process. In most cases, you want it to be seamless for the user, so there really isn’t much reason to tell them that they are initiating library purchases when they access the ebooks or request an interlibrary loan book. However, afterwards, it may be a good marketing tool to show how the library is working to remain relevant and spend funds on the specific needs of students/faculty.

COUNTER book reports are helpful for collection assessment, but they don’t quite match up with print use browse/circulation counts, so be careful when comparing them. Book Report 2 gives the number of successful section requests for each book, which can give you an idea of how much of the book was used, with a section being a chapter or other subdivision of a reference work.

Final thoughts: as we shift towards purchasing ebooks over print, we should be looking at revising and refining our workflow processes from selection to acquisition to assessment.

“Selectors are more fussy about the [ebook] platform than the students.” – Nancy Gibbs