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Special Interest Group Archive: eBooks SIG 1/19/16

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

eBooks SIG

On Tuesday, January 19, the group met to talk eBooks. The following notes are from the conversation, and links on the right are those that came up in discussion. 

Discussion notes

KL - New Paltz has a robust collection with Ebrary, ACLS humanities, EBSCO – they can acquire title by title – all vendors have a model for purchasing. You go through their platform to access it.

All the MARC records are available to import into the system.  Getting records into the catalog depends on your agreement with the vendor.

Additional titles are available through YBP & Gobi (see link on right) Ebook re-seller – Yankee Book Peddler, broke off from B&T

Check with the platform to make certain it works with that system.

JD – Marist, they have been doing ebooks for a while. They haven’t consolidated – they go right to the vendors. The trigger costs are loans and by a view, not by a download or copy. Struggling with where they draw the trigger line. JStor de-duping is problematic, items are already on Academic Complete. What has other people’s experience been with duplicates? Titles can come and go. They use PDA for streaming media.

JB – Millbrook School. They have the humanity book collection. They are looking at Gale virtual reference, but didn’t get enough information to make a purchase. Wants to know how they can pick and choose.

JG – Dominican they have Ebrary, humanities, and some EBSCO. They are thinking about going to PDA. She’s been adding the MARC records, and thinking about individual titles.

DY – She buys for the Ulster county school libraries, mostly GALE reference. She’s interested to know what else people are purchasing

RG – They purchase similar to DY, they had the professional development books. They wanted to get more individual titles. They also have Overdrive for students. Some schools get the advantage package so they can have their own catalog. Individual books would be good for staff training

JS – DCC, they have ebrary academic complete, and the rest of the SUNY package. They did not know where their EBSCO ebooks came from, but they are not in the discovery profile. They need to be added to show up in that search. 

KL – the rep told them that they had access to many titles, but that doesn’t mean that you actually have them. They dropped $5000 into PDA as an experiment. One person triggered all the views, and used up half of the money.

JD – Ebrary PDA changed in the fall from 10 minutes or 10 pages. The sales rep suggested going from 3 loans to 4th was a purchase – she deleted some publishers who raised their prices. The model changed to 5 minutes, unlimited pages. After that, the triggers dropped from 380 to less than 200.

KL – the consortium in Mass ran data to find out the best ways to control triggers. Let the librarian make the decision to purchase. Decide who gets to decide who buys. Running a trial first is the best way to decide if you want to let patrons drive access.

Does JStor have an agreement that nothing can be withdrawn? JD – they all have agreements that titles are perpetual, but the content lives on the servers of the vendors. However, if you don’t have the package anymore, they might charge you to host or access the items that you bought.

JD – they have subscriptions to databases, and that’s why they’re not paying access fees. You should have access to the ebook as long as you have any of their products.

KL - YBP will ask you where you want your access to be. You can choose vendors. Hosting your own ebooks is not recommended. Just dealing with authentication is difficult. You would have to have a cloud server and a repository. All the vendors have platforms like databases.

RG – Overdrive will let you do that. They could host their other ebooks on that platform.

JB – They use IP authentication, so everything works on campus.

KL – They have a proxy server for international students, faculty and other off-campus people. They got grandfathered in before OCLC bought EZ proxy. There’s a separate server that just authenticates. But you should have a separate person to set up that server, and it has to be running 24/7.

JS – Has anyone gone from having one big platform company to another one? How do you decide, is it worth making that decision? KL – Just going to one platform seems like it will save a lot of money. But, even though they have similar titles, they all have different titles and uniqueness that the other one does not supply. The big companies are gobbling up small companies, and making that content exclusive. ILL wasn’t an answer, either. The costs were too high to make up the deficit. Also, it is hard when the subscription fees go up every year. Look at usage to see if it’s worth it to get rid of something.

JD – EBSCO is saying that theirs is less expensive, but they are tied into Ebrary with LibGuides and other sources. They are getting individual titles from EBSCO.

JS – They have way more ebooks than physical, and many of the books are old. Students still want the physical copies. They have a collection development agreement with agreement with liaisons. Each department has a budget, and they are not using it to pick ebooks. On both sides, they are choosing physical books over ebooks. How do you get them to want ebooks?

KL – If that’s all they can find, that’s all they can use, and that’s how they’ll get used to ebooks.

JD – When students started to realize how easy it was, they got interested. The faculty could assign just chapters, and as long as there was a multiple user agreement in place, it worked. The library asks to be informed ahead of time so reserves can have those agreements. Now, more faculty is asking for ebooks since they have started with that. Librarians did a little bit of reminding, but they didn’t make a concerted effort to sell ebooks. They just hit a tipping point over time.

JS – They might have an accessibility problem, many of their students don’t have their own computers, and can only access the materials at the library. The students can print for free.

KL – Puts the readers on the ipads that are available for checkout. They have the apps to read ebooks on those devices.

JS – They download books on to their Nooks that they lend out.

KL – Their ipad checkouts were in the hundreds per semester, but they don’t track what apps were being used. Not certain if ebrary can be used with a Nook, ipad can do a lot more than it can.

JS – If we offer more and more in ebook format, we don’t want to make it impossible for students with no computers to not have access to materials. KL -  Texthelp is available to DCC – it makes reading the screen easier for students with disabilities, and makes the font size huge. The disability resource center has access by law to a readable format they are obligated to provide a copy of readable books for students who have registered and have been verified.

JS – but what about disadvantaged students with no internet access at home and no computer at home. A problem with all databases. It might be worth it to get a grant to get computers to give to those students. Mobile hotspots are an options for rental in some public libraries.

What about broken screens? KL – when you buy in a bundle, they come with a protection plan. Charge the student $50 for a broken screen, and apple will send a new device. Put an otterbox and a screen protector on the ipads before you send them out.

JS – ACLS – humanities ebooks (everyone here uses that.) Are there other small lenders that anyone is using?

KL – It depends on your discipline. YBP is a good one for selections. She has the names of reps who can work with the Gobi Project. Email her if you want more info.

How do you do collection development? KL – Gobi. The collection development person uses it.

JS – They have nursing, and that is a well-stocked department.

JD – They are opening up a PA program this summer, and are using McGraw Hill for Access Medicine. They have Gale and Oxford, but the handbooks can only be bought as a collection as of six months ago. KL – Gobi will let you browse all of these titles if you want to take a look at what is available.

JB – She looked at the reference product for handbooks, and was hoping to get individuals, but Oxford does not sell individually except for reference titles such as encyclopedia sets.

JD – They wait until the end of the fiscal and the calendar year to get good sales on individual titles. Computer science is driving the PDA funds. Those books get too out of date too quickly. The ebook titles still seem to be relevant.

KL – not everyone likes the ebooks, but the more they use them, the more they are likely to come back.

Does everyone put ebooks in their catalog?

JD – the subscription books are put in the catalog, but the PDA books only get put in if the purchase gets triggered. Before the trigger, it only exists in discovery.

KL – You need to teach the librarians to tell students about the difference between discovery and the catalog. And you need to be careful about dead links. Once a month syncing should be enough to stay current.

JS – do you know what device students are using to read their books?

JB – phones and laptops for her students. KL – you can look up statistics. Some students try to print out the entire ebook, and don’t realize that they can’t do it. Or they’ll find the entire book on pdf, and they get stuck on the printer. Some students use their phone for the whole thing.

They all can let you take notes on the books – but they need to have an account with the vendor in order to have the notes being saved.

Digo is another bookmarking tool so you can upload a file and highlight, take notes, outlines, share. See the link on the right... First, you download a chapter.

JB - What about Zotero? It also allows you to use citations. And Mandoline.

Host a group here with SUNY New Paltz specialties. Doing a workshop on digital humanities. Contact Kristy about doing another SIG group. About citation tool.

JB – Is there any way of comparing content of big providers? Is there a way to see what titles the big vendors have? KL – each one has at least half a million records, and the publishers change on a regular basis. It’s a moving target. It’s hard information to find. The vendors might be able to tell you how much is unique.

Has anyone tried downloading books from Project Guttenburg, Open Library, Internet Archive, Hathitrust. Yes, There are lots of free books out on the internet, and groups that harvest those tools.

Do you own your kindle book? No you do not. You only buy access. Ebrary does not work with kindles.

There is a tool to find out what copyright is to see if professors can access their own material.


In Attendance

Jaclyn Savolainen, SUNY -Dutchess Community College
Joan Binzen, Millbrook School
Judy Diffenderfer, Marist College
Danielle Yeomans, Ulster BOCES School Library System
Rebecca Gerald, Dutchess BOCES
Judy Gitlin, Dominican College
Kristy Lee, SUNY New Paltz
Carolyn Bennett Glauda, SENYLRC Staff


Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
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