E-books Update: New Developments, New Content (2014)
Sunday, May 19, 4-5:30
Moderator: Adan Griego, Stanford University
Rapporteur: Lisa Gardinier, University of Iowa & Michael Hoopes, University of New Mexico
- E-libro.com, Felipe Varela
- Digitalia, Lluis Claret
- Librería García Cambeiro, Fernando Genovart
- Casalini Libri, Kathryn Paoletti
- Librarian Perspective, Suzanne M. Schadl, University of New Mexico
- Librarian Perspective, Angela Carreño, New York University
Griego (Stanford) introduces the panel by asking what has changed since the first inception of an e-book panel at SALALM in 2009 and noting that librarian concerns and vendor responses have been fruitful. He concludes by acknowledging current issues with the portability and compatibility of certain e-readers and the inter-operability of interlibrary loan systems; but states that regardless trends published by ACRL indicate that e-books are here to stay.
Despite the growth of digital formats from Latin American publishers, it appears that numbers are fairly low, with each country producing fewer than 5% of its publications in digital formats. Current studies on e-book usage in academic and public libraries are briefly discussed.
Individual presentations from e-book vendors are given by representatives of Casselini (Italy), Digitalia (Spain), E-Libro.com (Spain), and Libreria Garcia Cambeiro (Argentina/Brazil). While each vendor’s product is distinct, all three vendors discuss similar topics that include the special formatting, search capabilities, compatibility with mobile devices and citation exporters, and purchasing for their specific products.
Angela Carreño (New York University) discusses her institution’s decision to adopt a publisher platform and e-book strategy. She touches on the needs of certain services within e-books such as note taking and searching that make for a comfortable scholarly research environment, stating that the development of user/research-friendly platforms is a process very much still in development.
Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico) discusses UNM libraries goals for e-book development (eventually holding 40% of their collections in ebook format to be accessed whenever and wherever patrons desire) and some current infrastructural obstacles. She notes that different users have different needs, and that while e-books stand to create space for studying and important physical items, they are not the only answer for academic research. Furthermore under-resolved infrastructural problems at UNM like poor wireless internet access in some parts of library buildings make to efficient ebook usage and promotion difficult. E-book displays also prevent obstacles for individuals seeking to read from their smartphones or tablets.
Hortensia Calvo (Tulane) asks Carreño whether e-books will be utilized in study abroad and international campus sites of American universities. Angela states that special programs like the NYU branch campus in Abu Dhabi and increasing pressure on research libraries to collaborate in smarter ways of making e-books more useful for branch campuses.
Vera Araújo (Susan Bach Books, Brazil) laments that the only e-books in abundance in Brazil are self-published books, novels, etc. How is the situation in other Latin American countries? Are there many e-books from Peru, Colombia, or Uruguay? A vendor responds by stating that Brazil is somewhat behind, and there is currently little interest among Brazilian librarians with regards to e-books.
A discussion on free materials takes place, with one Argentine librarian discussing the financial constraints of his institution and the common practice of uploading/downloading PDF files for academic use, a practice that accomplishes the same role as the e-book. One digital publishing representative responds by first stating that the debate surrounding free materials is a difficult one, and that he is personally against the use of free content. Such content is also unstable, available online one day online and gone the next. Another representative is supportive of official open access titles, stating that the problem with organizations that only provide open access titles struggle to provide certain titles. The third representative states that the commitment of an e-book purchase ensures that a title will be stable and readily available to library patrons.
Angela Kinney (Library of Congress) expresses an interest in title-by-title (non-bulk) purchases of e-books. This desire is spurred by a lack of space for physical books. Her library also desires to develop a model that obtains a publication in a package that includes the physical book, the marked record, and the digital item. Is it possible for e-book vendors to conform to this three-part package? The e-book representatives respond by stating that yes, such packages could be made possible.