CIL 2011: EBook Publishing – Practices & Challenges

Speaker: Ken Breen (EBSCO)

In 1997, ebooks were on CD-ROM and came with large paper books to explain how to use them, along with the same concerns about platforms we have today.

Current sales models involve purchase by individual libraries or consortia, patron-driven acquisition models, and subscriptions. Most of this presentation is a sales pitch for EBSCO and nothing you don’t already know.

Speaker: Leslie Lees (ebrary)

Ebrary was founded a year after NetLibrary and was acquired by ProQuest last year. They have similar models, with one slight difference: short term loans, which will be available later this spring.

With no longer a need to acquire books because they may be hard to get later, do we need to be building collections, or can we move to an on-demand model?

He thinks that platforms will move towards focusing more on access needs than on reselling content.

Speaker: Bob Nardini (Coutts)

They are working with a variety of incoming files and outputting them in any format needed by the distributors they work with, both ebook and print on demand.

A recent study found that academic libraries have significant number of overlap with their ebook and print collections.

They are working on approval plans for print and ebooks. The timing of the releases of each format can complicate things, and he thinks their model mediates that better. They are also working on interlibrary loan of ebooks and local POD.

Because they work primarily with academic libraries, they are interested in models for archiving ebooks. They are also looking into download models.

Speaker: Mike (OverDrive)

He sees the company as an advocate for libraries. Promises that there will be more DRM-free books and options for self-published authors. He recommends their resource for sharing best practices among librarians.

Questions:

What is going on with DRM and ebooks? What mechanism does your products use?

Adobe Digital Editions is the main mechanism for OverDrive. Policies are set by the publishers, so all they can do is advocate for libraries. Ebrary and NetLibrary have proprietary software to manage DRM. Publishers are willing to give DRM-free access, but not consistently, and not for their “best” content.

It is hard to get content onto devices. Can you agree on a single standard content format?

No response, except to ask if they can set prices, too.

Adobe became the de facto solutions, but it doesn’t work with all devices. Should we be looking for a better solution?

That’s why some of them are working on their own platforms and formats. ePub has helped the growth of ebook publishing, and may be the direction.

Public libraries need full support for these platforms – can you do that?

They try the best they can. OverDrive offers secondary support. They are working on front-line tech support and hope to offer it soon.

Do publishers work with all platforms or are there exclusive arrangements?

It varies.

Do you offer more than 10 pages at a time for downloads of purchased titles?

Ebrary tries to do it at the chapter level, and the same is probably true of the rest. EBSCO is asking for the right to print up to 60 pages at a time.

When will we be able to loan ebooks?

Coutts is working on ILL.

nasig part five

Well, I’m finally getting back to writing up my experience and thoughts of the 2005 NASIG conference. Sorry for the delay.

Well, I’m finally getting back to writing up my experience and thoughts of the 2005 NASIG conference. Sorry for the delay.

When I last left off, it was lunchtime on Friday. We all grabbed our boxed lunches and headed off to wherever we chose to eat them. In my case, it was the committee chairs’ meeting. This year, I’m the co-chair for the Electronic Communications Committee, which means among other things, I’m the “webspinner” for nasig.org. If you see anything that’s messed up on the site, let me know.

After lunch, I attended my third tactics session, “Do You See RSS In Your Future.” Both of the presenters, Paoshan Yue and Araby Green, come from the University of Nevada, Reno. The session began with a basic over-view of RSS, and then moved into how libraries are using RSS. Blogwithoutalibrary.net was mentioned as a resource for finding out what other libraries are doing with blogs and RSS. Here’s a list of how libraries use RSS, as suggested by the presenters:

And here’s a list of how RSS can be used in the serials world:

Most of these ideas have been kicked around in the library blogging community, but for many of the session attendees, RSS was a new and brilliant concept for getting customized information out to our users.

The presenters also had ideas for RSS within the serials community that included ejournal package/collection updates from publishers, and a closer-to-home suggestion that the NASIG jobs web listings have an associated RSS feed. I’m working on that one in my new capacity as webspinner, but it hasn’t been easy to get it just the way I want it. If anyone out there knows of a (preferably free or low-cost) blog software that allows you to create categories and will run on a Windows server, please let me know. Right now Blogger isn’t cutting it for what we need to do with the jobs list.

rss agregator

I have been using Feed on Feeds as my RSS agregator for the past month, but I have decided to go back to using Bloglines. I liked the clean lines of Feed on Feeds, as well as the ability to host my feeds on my own website. However, it uses Magpie RSS to parse the … Continue reading “rss agregator”

I have been using Feed on Feeds as my RSS agregator for the past month, but I have decided to go back to using Bloglines. I liked the clean lines of Feed on Feeds, as well as the ability to host my feeds on my own website. However, it uses Magpie RSS to parse the feeds, and it can be quite persnickety if the feed does not completely validate. This limited me in the feeds I could track, as well as causing headaches every time I tried to update the feeds. Also, I couldn’t get the silent update feature to work. I tweaked my crontab file until I was blue in the face, but nothing worked. Overall, Bloglines requires less maintenance or headaches on my part. Feed on Feeds has great potential, but for now, I will give it some time to mature.

h-net offers rss

I was skimming through the January issue of College & Research Libraries when I ran across an article about linking to reviews in H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. I had not heard of this resource, so I browsed over to the site. My first thought after looking it over was, “This site needs an … Continue reading “h-net offers rss”

I was skimming through the January issue of College & Research Libraries when I ran across an article about linking to reviews in H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. I had not heard of this resource, so I browsed over to the site. My first thought after looking it over was, “This site needs an RSS feed.” Turns out, not only do they have a feed for all of the reviews, but there are feeds for specific review topics, announcements, job postings, and discussion topics! You can select whichever feed you want and the URL string is generated for you. I’ve already signed up for the Women’s Studies reviews feed. Wouldn’t it be great if Choice Online offered feeds, too?

publishers embracing rss

Last year, I brainstormed an idea of having subscription-based journal RSS feeds, and as I assumed, I wasn’t the only one with this idea.

Last year, I brainstormed an idea of having subscription-based journal RSS feeds, and as I assumed, I wasn’t the only one with this idea. There was quite a bit of buzz recently when folks discovered the University of Saskatchewan Library’s eJournals with RSS feeds list. Now that they have a list of publishers and sources providing RSS feeds, it’s much more impressive to me. Granted, many of the feeds are coming from open access publishers, but the fact that there are several subscription journals with RSS feeds is indicative of where this technology may lead us in information dissemination.

feeds to watch out for

From elation to depression in 2.5 seconds. Well, not really.

When I read that Jessamyn had helped Alison Bechdel set up an RSS feed for her Dykes to Watch Out For blog, I was very happy. I have the PlanetOut archive of the strip bookmarked and check it once a week or so, but to have the strip arrive via RSS would be much more functional. Sadly, my excitement turned to disappointment as I realized that the feed was for the blog, not the comic strip. And besides, it’s a Blogger blog, so it already has an Atom feed.

rss for opacs

Anna gets semi-techie about RSS and OPACs.

Yesterday, I was thinking some more about uses for RSS with library OPACs. The idea of having an RSS feed for new books continues to nag me, but without more technical knowledge, I know this is something that I couldn’t make work. Then something clicked, and I called up our library systems administrator to ask him a few questions. As I suspected, our new books list in the OPAC is a text file that is generated by a script that searches the catalog database once a week. I began to ponder what it would take to convert that flat file into XML, and if would it be possible to automate that process.

I grabbed a copy of the flat file from the server and took a look at it, just to see what was there. First off, I realized that there was quite a bit of extraneous information that will need to be stripped out. That could be done easily by hand with a few search & replace commands and some spreadsheet manipulation. So, the easy way out would be to do it all by hand every week. Here* is what I was able to do after some trial and error, working with books added in the previous week.

A harder route would be to put together a program that would take the cleaned up but still raw text file and convert each line into <item> entries, with appropriate fields for <title> (book title), <description> (publication information & location), <category> (collection), etc. This new XML file would replace the old one every week. If I knew any Perl or ColdFusion, I’m certain that I could whip something up fairly quickly.

The ideal option would be to write a program that goes into the catalog daily and pulls out information about new books added and generates the XML file from that. I suspect that it would work similarly to Michael Doran‘s New Books List program, but would go that extra step of converting the information in to RSS-friendly XML.

If anyone knows of some helper programs or if someone out there in library land is developing a program like this, please let me know.

* File is now missing. I think I may have delete it by accident. 1/13/05

rss journals

What if your favorite professional journals were delivered to your desktop via RSS?

Today I was commenting to my boss that I had found a resource of professional literature that was not dry or irrelevant — all of the library blogs sent daily to my RSS feed reader. That got me thinking a bit more, and it made me wonder what other uses could be made of RSS. One that had occurred to me the other week is having an RSS feed of new books as they are added to the catalog. I even found some discussion of such a tool on several blogs, as well as a resource called Project FLOW which plans to put together a toolkit of innovative add-on features for web OPACs.

Another idea that occurred to me this evening is publication through subscription RSS feeds (or even open-access models). For instance, the PLoS Biology journal recently released to the world could announce new articles or issues by making them available through an RSS feed, instead of or in addition to their current method of email announcements. Similarly, if I have an online subscription to Serials Review, I could get articles sent to me through some sort of secure RSS feed available only to subscribers. This method could come in handy for those publications that post articles online before they are published in the print editions, which mainly occurs in the sciences.

Now, I am not someone most people would consider to be an original thinker, so I figured that if this idea had occurred to me, then surely some of the more geeky types would have thought of it already. Sure enough, Wired already sports this feature on their website. Maybe some of the geeky library publications will soon follow?