Category Archives: Academic Libraries

NSR releases its summer 2017 journal issue — Ebook Purchasing in Academic Libraries: Key Issues and Emerging Trends

While the LIS industry has made great strides in improving how ebooks function in libraries the past few years, as any librarian in charge of ebook collection development can attest, ebooks are not always easier to manage than print books. They can, in fact, be more challenging). Many factors come into play and long gone are the days when librarians only needed to order particular titles based on interest or need communicated to them in advance by faculty or researchers.

In 2017, the universe of ebooks and econtent continues to grow at a dizzying rate, making it very challenging to keep up on a title-by-title basis; shrinking budgets and staff reductions have become the norm even in affluent institutions; and to remain competitive research institutions must rely on current scholarship that is constantly refreshed and available to them without restriction.

LIS journals that cover ebooks are overflowing with articles asking the same questions time and again: Can my library afford the new product or service? Will a particular method help streamline workflow? How much high-quality content is readily available? How much will my library be able to own in perpetuity? What will happen if my library doesn’t renew a subscription to a product that no longer serves its needs? Will the library have clear insight into patron usage? How well will the new product integrate into the library’s existing catalog? And, not to be overlooked: who is the content provider and what is its credibility in the library market?

This series of articles aims to elucidate some of the ebook challenges librarians in academic institutions (of all sizes) have had to grapple with in recent years in their ongoing efforts to support research. The goal here is to discuss key issues surrounding ebook purchasing and clarify some misconceptions that still persist within the industry, not only about the nature of ebooks (as explained by Frederick) but, more important, about the ebook business models offered to libraries. These models continue to evolve, of course, as librarians, publishers, and aggregators adjust their expectations and learn from experience.

Read or download the full issue of No Shelf Required’s journal on Ebook Purchasing in Academic Libraries: Key Issues and Emerging Trends here.

Europe Announces That All Scientific Papers Should Be Free by 2020

This week was a revolutionary week in the sciences – not because we discovered a new fundamental particle or had a new breakthrough in quantum computing – but because some of the most prominent world leaders announced an initiative which asserts that European scientific papers should be made freely available to all by 2020.

This would legally only impact research supported by public and public-private funds, which are a vast portion of the papers produced annually; however, the goal is to make all science freely available.

Read the rest of the story here.

Key Issues Surrounding Ebook Purchasing in Academic Libraries

In an ongoing effort to cover the ebook market and its complexities, No Shelf Required has recently embarked on a mission to bring to light some of the pressing ebook issues faced by academic libraries today, clear up confusion where needed, and examine short-term and long-term benefits as well as drawbacks of the most prevalent purchasing methods and models. These are the three articles in the series so far.

Demand-Driven Acquisitions: Do Library Patrons Get What They Need?

“The last few years have seen a steady proliferation of business models used for selling and acquiring ebooks by libraries, each with a unique set of benefits and challenges, but no other model has held as much promise to give patrons what they needed—at the moment they needed it—as Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA), also known as Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA). This is because at its core, DDA places the user (the patron), not the librarian or the publisher, in the driver seat. For the first time in the history of institutional book buying, patrons decide, for a portion of titles, what the library collects, leaving publishers and vendors without the predictability they enjoyed for many decades before ebooks came around.”

Read full article here.


The Approval Plan: A Sorting Hat That Discovers the Right Books for the Right Libraries

“Has the Approval Plan stood the test of time, many now ask, as some libraries move away from buying to own to embrace the access-based services. Does the complex process of profiling (books and libraries), which stands at the core of Approval Plans, still make sense in the age of advanced technologies that track user activities in order to provide proof of what is needed without guess-work or prediction? Does the emphasis on thoughtful curation rather than on the immediate—and perhaps momentary—demand of the user put libraries at risk of developing collections that won’t be used?

Not only has the Approval Plan stood the test of time as a highly effective book buying tool—especially with the integration of ebooks—it has evolved with libraries consistently and to the point where it may not even be appropriate anymore to consider it a ‘traditional’ method. In fact, there are more Approval Plans running in academic libraries today than ever before. How is it possible, one wonders, that a method used to support buying scholarly books for over half a century continues to adapt so well to new technologies and not appear outdated?”

Read full article here.


Ebook Collections: What’s the Deal with Big Deals?

“If purchasing e-journals through big packages (so-called Big Deals) has become the norm, has it also become the norm with ebooks? What are the benefits of purchasing from aggregators as opposed to purchasing directly from publishers? What type of content do eCollections entail and how relevant is that content to today’s researchers? And what are some of the challenges faced by libraries purchasing eCollections? As we’ve seen with DDA and Approval Plans, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for any ebook model or any library—however big or small, affluent or modest—and the better we understand the possibilities afforded to libraries through packaged vs. title-by-title deals, the closer we get to an understanding that eCollections hold a significant place in ebook collection development and have, indeed, become a new version of ‘big deals’ in academic libraries.”

Read full article here.

Ebook Collections: What’s the deal with Big Deals?

In our analysis of the ebook buying methods in academic libraries, we’ve examined thus far the unexpected effects of Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA), a model that showed promise at its inception but eventually led librarians and publishers to question its long-term sustainability, and we’ve cleared up some confusion surrounding the Approval Plan and explained why it remains as effective for purchasing digital books as for print. If we take a closer look at these two tools for acquiring content—the former a radical departure from traditional curation-based methods of buying that places the user and his/her activity at the center of buying, and the latter a decades-old method that has stood the test of time and evolved to support new technology and new methods (including DDA)—we discover that they share one key feature: both are centered around ‘title-by-title’ purchasing. Both invite and encourage a focus on individual titles, which are ‘picked’ or ‘chosen’ for purchase either automatically based on a set of pre-determined parameters or based on usage.

This begs the question: what about the packaged collections? What about the collections of ebooks sold to libraries in bulk? What benefits and challenges await libraries choosing to bypass the process of selecting individual titles (at least to some degree, if not entirely) and welcome packaged deals? Has the availability of ebook collections (hereafter referred to as eCollections) enhanced and/or improved collection development practices in academic libraries? On the heels of recent announcements that some libraries across North America are canceling their Big Deal e-journal packages—citing inability to keep up with the rising cost of subscriptions and insufficient use of old journals that make up a large portion of those collections—it seems fitting and necessary to examine how eCollections perform as part of libraries’ acquisitions strategy in a rapidly changing ebook market. Continue reading Ebook Collections: What’s the deal with Big Deals?

The Approval Plan: A Sorting Hat That Discovers the Right Books for the Right Libraries

At a time when academic libraries are investing more time and resources experimenting with models that place user demands at the center of library acquisitions (via such models as DDA), there seems to be confusion and misunderstanding about which methods compete and why. Publishers and libraries spent a significant amount of time pitting the print book against the ebook in the early years of digital reading—at the time very few were pointing out that there was no real competition between the two formats to begin with, at least not to the extent that one should cancel out the other. Similarly, librarians have been tempted to decipher the maze of book and ebook buying models as a zero-sum game, i.e., that some models must clearly stand in opposition to others.

While it could be argued that some ebook models do, indeed, encourage ownership while others encourage access (making it easy to distinguish between purchasing and subscribing to provide access), or that some models encourage purchase of a whole book while others ask for micro-transaction payments based on use, such arguments become problematic when applied to methods of discovering and acquiring content that were intentionally designed to adapt to the changing needs of libraries over time rather than to compete with new models. Nowhere is this confusion more evident than in the case of the Approval Plan—the many decades-old method that thousands of academic libraries around the world use to discover and acquire scholarly books.

Has the Approval Plan stood the test of time, many now ask, as some libraries move away from buying to own to embrace the access-based services. Does the complex process of profiling (books and libraries), which stands at the core of Approval Plans, still make sense in the age of advanced technologies that track user activities in order to provide proof of what is needed without guess-work or prediction? Does the emphasis on thoughtful curation rather than on the immediate—and perhaps momentary—demand of the user put libraries at risk of developing collections that won’t be used? Not only has the Approval Plan stood the test of time as a highly effective book buying tool—especially with the integration of ebooks—it has evolved with libraries consistently and to the point where it may not even be appropriate anymore to consider it a ‘traditional’ method. In fact, there are more Approval Plans running in academic libraries today than ever before. How is it possible, one wonders, that a method used to support buying scholarly books for over half a century continues to adapt so well to new technologies and not appear outdated? Continue reading The Approval Plan: A Sorting Hat That Discovers the Right Books for the Right Libraries

ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

According to a press release, ProQuest recently surveyed academic librarians about their needs regarding non-English language content. The results demonstrate a strong interest in making Chinese-language content available to address the needs of researchers:

  • 47% of respondents purchase Chinese-language content.
  • Nearly 30% say Chinese-language content is among users’ most requested non-English language content
  • 24% say they are not adequately supporting patrons’ needs for Chinese-language content.
  • When asked what non-English digital format resources they would like to offer, 30% said frontlist ebooks and 25% said backlist ebooks.

From the same press release:

ProQuest is collaborating with Asian Studies scholars, librarians and Chinese-language publishers to offer a selection of Chinese- language ebooks, enabling libraries to provide resources demanded by researchers. The growing collection spans thousands of titles available on the Ebook Central®, ebrary® and EBL platforms. The platforms’ multi-language interfaces accommodate readers of traditional and simplified Chinese, and other languages. Continue reading ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive

Gale has just announced the first collection in its new Women’s Studies Archive. The archive is the third offering in an effort to publish material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. This archive follows recentl launches of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender (the largest digital archive of LGBTQ History and Culture) and the American Civil Liberties Union Papers (ACLU).

Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities traces the path of women’s issues from past to present—pulling primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles and triumphs.

Full press release below.


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Gale, a Cengage company, has launched a new archive on women’s studies that explores the many contributions of women throughout history.  Part of the growing Gale Primary Sources program, the Women’s Studies Archive represents Gale’s focus on publishing material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. Continue reading In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive

University Press Scholarship Online continues to grow, Princeton and University of Illinois now on board as partner presses

Oxford University Press (OUP) has just announced the addition of two new partner presses to its growing University Press Scholarship Online (UPSO) platform: University of Illinois Press and Princeton University Press. 

The University of Illinois Press will go live on UPSO in April 2017. Illinois Scholarship Online site will launch with 350 titles across a range of subject areas including sociology, music, history, society and culture, film television & radio, and literature.

Princeton University Press will be joining UPSO in October 2017.  The Princeton Scholarship Online site will go live with over 400 titles across the humanities and sciences with strengths in Biology, Classics, Economics, History, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Sociology.

Comprising over 23,000 titles in 31 subject areas, UPSO is available to university libraries around the world. Participating presses include, among many others, OUP, British Academy, Chicago University, Cornell, Fordham, MIT, NYU, Stanford, and Yale.

SAGE Video grows with two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

SAGE Publishing has announced that it has expanded SAGE Video, its library of streaming videos across the social sciences, to include two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice. Hosted on SAGE Knowledge platform and designed to enhance research, teaching, and learning at all levels, the new collections contain 115 hours+ of streaming video content each, more than 65% of which is exclusive to SAGE.

SAGE Video collections are developed in partnership with academics, societies and practitioners, including many of SAGE’s own authors and academic partners to provide cutting-edge teaching and research-oriented video.

For more information, visit the SAGE Video information page or visit the SAGE Video platform directly. Sign up for a trial of SAGE Video here. Continue reading SAGE Video grows with two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

More ebook choices for OASIS users

OasisProQuest has just announced it has joined forces with De Gruyter to make De Gruyter’s 26,000 ebooks (from over 15 international imprints) available for purchase through the OASIS® system. This prompted us to revisit OASIS—ProQuest’s free web-based system for searching, selecting, and ordering print and electronic books for academic libraries—and provide a quick update on its growth.

Indended for academic, corporate, and government libraries, OASIS (Online Acquisitions and Selection Information System) supports multiple ordering and selection workflows for print and ebooks, including approval plans, firm orders, standing orders, demand driven acquisition, EDI ordering and MARC ordering. It now provides libraries with access to over 1.5 million unique ebook titles and 25 million print titles. Continue reading More ebook choices for OASIS users

ProQuest’s new white paper explores obstacles and opportunities in managing collections (print and electronic)

ProQuest white paperThe white paper, titled “Obstacles and Opportunities: Ebooks, Print and the Impact of Choice on Libraries and the Users They Serve,” explores the complexities of balancing print and ebooks, highlighting opportunities for collaboration between librarians and content aggregators. Focusing on the U.K. higher-education book market, the paper combines commentary from U.K. librarians with global data to draw attention to the complexities of managing book collections in multiple formats, focusing on:

 

  • Similarities between managing print and digital books.
  • Collection management obstacles—and opportunities—introduced by ebooks.
  • How librarians can work with content aggregators like ProQuest to simplify the management of collections comprised of content in multiple formats.

Continue reading ProQuest’s new white paper explores obstacles and opportunities in managing collections (print and electronic)

Academic libraries are shrinking, while content is growing. How did we get here?

New Zeoli

by Michael Zeoli

Academic library staff has been shrinking for 2 decades, while the quantity of scholarly content has grown exponentially.  In the 1960s Richard Abel & Company began the Approval Plan service as a systematic approach to help libraries manage the volume of new books published.  Libraries rely on vendor services (i.e., companies catering to libraries) to discover and acquire much of scholarly content.  Since the 90s, libraries have also depended on vendors to provide shelf-ready services for print books, customized cataloging, to manage financial transactions electronically, and to maintain online interfaces to support collection development and acquisitions processes.  Ebooks brought another layer of labor and complexity to library workflows.

Ebooks elbowing their way into the landscape

Within a decade of their birth, ebook aggregators entered mainstream library collecting.  Initially, the ebook appeared as just another format or manifestation of the print book; the library choice expanded beyond paper or cloth to include ‘e’ versions (in many cases PDFs).  Technology changed this: ebook models have upset the balance in traditional library collecting and continue to challenge traditional understandings not just of collection development, but of the role of the academic library.

The ebook aggregators’ business models exist outside the realm of print books – except as a distribution model on which to piggyback for just as long as necessary (think ‘the scorpion and frog’ fable).  The business of the aggregator is to sell ebooks, not books.  Aggregator ebook platforms are designed for this purpose.  Each is different from the others in design (technical as well as strategic):

  • User interface & experience
  • Library acquisition models
  • Library control of patron access
  • Publisher control over: 1) Library acquisition models; 2) License terms for each model; and 3)  ‘Triggers’ to purchase and loan (Patron-Driven Acquisitions – PDA / Short-Term Loan – STL / Evidence-Based Acquisitions – EBA)

‘Standards’ in the industry exist only to the degree necessary for one company to compete with another (‘not-for-profits’ are not exempted!).  Focus has been split 3 ways:

  • Competition to win market-share
  • Sustainable development of the market
  • Alternatives to ‘unsustainable models’

To a large extent, the futures of libraries and publishers live at the margins of these considerations. Continue reading Academic libraries are shrinking, while content is growing. How did we get here?

Newly-released Gale Researcher supports critical thinking; enables faculty-librarian collaboration

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Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, has launched Gale Researcher, a new research platform and curriculum tool designed to help students connect to citable content aligned to introductory college courses. The Researcher enables librarians to customize and curate curriculum-aligned content to support student research. Below are the subject areas covered (and as described here):

Topics include coverage of the Puritan Tradition, Colonial Period, present day, and more.

Topics include Chaucer, Jane Austen, Dickens, and more.
Topics include the U.S. court system and structure, the history of the U.S. criminal justice system, police and law enforcement, and more.
Topics include econometrics and forecasting, labor economics, fiscal and monetary policy, and more.
Topics include the foundations of morality, appearance and reality, Plato, and more.
Topics include the U.S. Constitution, the culture of governance and politics, campaigns and elections, and more.
Topics include memory, gender and sexuality, cognitive elements, and more.
Topics include the origins of sociological thinking and perspective, social structures, the role of a family, and more.
Topics include the Revolutionary War, Slavery and the Old South, the Great Depression, and more.
Topics include coverage of historical development in ancient, medieval, and modern periods, and more.

 

Full press release below: Continue reading Newly-released Gale Researcher supports critical thinking; enables faculty-librarian collaboration

Gale launches American Fiction Archive, affirms its position as literary content leader

American Fiction GaleAn interesting new electronic resource has just been released by Gale: American Fiction, 1774-1920. This “new digital archive” in Gale Primary Sources program comprises over 17,500 works of literature, including novels, short stories, travel accounts, and sketches (“many of which have never before been available online”), all brought together to support research in U.S. history and literature.

Gale is no stranger to literature resources. Its other products include Literature Criticism Online, Literature Resource Center, and the well-known Dictionary of Literary Biography. Given the interdisciplinary nature of today’s research as well as the capabilities of today’s technologies, one can’t help but wish that at some point, in the-not-so-distant future all this wealth (and breadth) of literary content will eventually blend into one mega resource on all things American literature.

Pre-register for a trial here. Full press release below. Continue reading Gale launches American Fiction Archive, affirms its position as literary content leader

Abu Dhabi University Teams Up with Boopsie to Develop Mobile App

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Abu Dhabi University and Boopsie,  a platform-as-a-service provider, announced this week they have joined forces to develop an app for growing user demand for library mobile apps in Middle Eastern universities. According to the press release (below), 81% of mobile owners between the ages 16-34 now own smartphones in the Middle East.

Working closely with Abu Dhabi University, Boopsie developed a library-branded native mobile application that provides researchers with access to content from such aggregators and publishers as EBSCO and Elsevier. Continue reading Abu Dhabi University Teams Up with Boopsie to Develop Mobile App

Academic E-Books: Publishers, Librarians and Users

Suzanne M. Ward, Robert S. Freeman, and Judith M. Nixon are the editors of a forthcoming book from Purdue University Press. The description of the book is below.  I got a look at the pre-pub copy and it’s  full of useful information.  I was particularly interested in the chapters that focused on how ebooks are being used in academia.
Book Description from Purdue University Press site:

Academic E-Books: Publishers, Librarians, and Users provides readers with a view of the changing and emerging roles of electronic books in higher education. The three main sections contain contributions by experts in the publisher/vendor arena, as well as by librarians who report on both the challenges of offering and managing e-books and on the issues surrounding patron use of e-books. The case study section offers perspectives from seven different sizes and types of libraries whose librarians describe innovative and thought-provoking projects involving e-books. Continue reading Academic E-Books: Publishers, Librarians and Users

Knowledge Unlatched Announces Launch of Round 2 Collection

Following on from its highly successful Pilot concluded last year, Knowledge Unlatched is delighted to announce the launch of its second collection.

If at least 300 libraries from around the world pledge their commitment by 31 January 2016, 78 new Humanities and Social Sciences books will be made free for anyone in the world to read on
an Open Access basis. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched Announces Launch of Round 2 Collection

Knowledge Unlatched Launches Round Two of Open Access Monographs

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We’re back by popular demand! We’re very excited about the prospects for scaling up. In this second round 25 publishers submitted 155 titles to a long list for the Round Two programme. This is double the number of publishers from our Pilot and trebles the number of title submissions. In addition to our 297 charter member librarians another 130 pre-registered their interest once the Pilot project closed at the end of last year.

The pledging period for the shortlist of 80 books (currently being selected by the Library Collections Task Force) will begin in October.

The above flyer we prepared for the June AAUP and ALA conferences on the differences between the first and second rounds. Many of the technical and workflow issues have been resolved. Nevertheless, there will be more to do after this second round. The community seems very willing to work with us to resolve these outstanding issues, which is terrific.

ProQuest Completes Acquisition of Coutts Information Services and MyiLibrary

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 1, 2015 — ProQuest has completed the acquisition of Coutts Information Services and MyiLibrary from Ingram Content Group. ProQuest is beginning to integrate assets such as Coutts’ expertise in collection development, broad catalog of print and digital titles, and platforms that include not only MyiLibrary but OASIS as well. They are being added to ProQuest’s Books unit, which encompasses the widest selection of ebooks supporting research and a rapidly evolving technology framework for discovery, access and management of book content. ProQuest’s vision is to combine these collective strengths, creating an integrated workflow for print and digital content that will save librarians time and provide a superior book experience for end users.

Continue reading ProQuest Completes Acquisition of Coutts Information Services and MyiLibrary

Knowledge Unlatched releases use data on pilot collection

From the Knowledge Unlatched site:

Summary

In March 2014 Knowledge Unlatched started to unlatch books in its Pilot Collection, making them available to anyone in the world to read or download for free on a Creative Commons licence. This was the culmination of a behind-the-scenes process of loading the titles onto our partner host platforms: OAPEN and HathiTrust. The books became live on the OAPEN platform first – followed soon after by HathiTrust. The final book in the Pilot Collection was published and made OA on 2 September 2014.

You can view a list of Pilot Collection titles and download them via the KU collections website here.

OAPEN Statistics

The period covered by the data below is from 11 March 2014 to 31 March 2015. As well as the OAPEN statistics, which use COUNTER-compliant methodology to count each book download, the HathiTrust figures below count views per page. The KU Pilot Collection has also been uploaded to the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive’s website does not indicate a starting date to their reporting period.