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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Does this mean e-books have arrived?

    Most librarians - in the UK, at least - would probably describe e-books as something that they are aware of, that have great potential, that their users do not know enough about, that their users may not use, and consequently that they, themselves, are unsure of. In short, despite the large collections available - and in place in libraries - e-books have not really 'bedded down'.
    An article published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association [pdf] describes how, in the University of Pittsburgh, they have facilitated federated searching of their e-book collections. It seems to me that this suggests that, here at least, e-books are core to the library and that the library is committed to managing their collection to a significant extent. It may also suggest initial underuse, but it does demonstrate that it is not always easy for users to find what they want in the new and unfamiliar format. As they say,
    "Users need more efficient ways to access the content of a library’s e-book collection."
    That a library is expending considerable effort and funds to facilitate the acceptance of e-books certainly confirms the importance of the medium. Of course it is only one library, but I wonder if similar incentives are needed in UK academic libraries.

    Access to this article on e-books, and others published in 2007, can be found at IAL's Writings about e-book publishing, 2007 - including a pre-publication notice of an article from the UK SuperBook project, which reports on their initial, base-line survey of attitudes and use within University College London.

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