As stated in the summary of OUP’s newly released whitepaper titled Navigating Research, “this study explores users’ and librarians’ perspectives on the role of reference resources in research and teaching in today’s academic institutions. It examines how users seek contextual information and guidance for areas of scholarship as they conduct research, and how reference resources can support their work.”
Key findings include, among others:
- recognition of ‘reference’ as a specific category is declining and users are not likely to identify ‘reference resources as those belonging to a distinct category
- research needs of today’s researchers are moving away from basic factual information and terminology (for which free online sources are used)
- resources offering guidance to a field of study retain appeal as a ‘bridge between introductory materials and specialized research publications”
- resources offering guidance to a field of study are also used to support work in interdisciplinary fields
- use of reference sources relies on their visibility and discoverability; this is likely to remain a challenge for publishers, librarians, and researchers
The whitepaper comprises three strands:
- a review of existing literature
- qualitative interviews with 16 librarians and 18 users (faculty and students)
- a survey of 164 librarians
The full whitepaper may be downloaded here.
How Review Resources Limit Awareness
While popularly quoted statistics point to the burgeoning of both audiobook production and audiobook audience size, trying to drill down to the faces behind the numbers proves difficult. The broad outlines offer silhouettes: gender segmentation, age cohort spread, listening locations, and educational attainment. Disseminated reports on race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and unsatisfied areas of content interest among audiobook listeners would boost efficacy of training reviewers to be as responsive to audience listening needs and wants as those reviewers are becoming more facile with technical aspects of audio publishing industry capacity and successes.
Where audiobook collections were once the purview of libraries, consumer-facing businesses for obtaining downloadable audiobooks offer subscription plans to individuals with even modest discretionary income. Where most listeners—whether a borrower making use of their library’s online audiobook vendor package or a direct subscriber to a consumer service—hear about audiobooks that may pique their interest is online, and by accessing a stew of commercial sites, personal blogs, a limited number of databases, and the equally small number of professional review journals that include audiobook coverage. This blend of informational access to audiobook publishing necessarily skews awareness of potential listening choices. The personal blogs, some of which contain fine critical writing, are typically limited to the bloggers’ personal listening interests in terms of genres, and even narrators. Database entries for audiobook advisory work necessarily rely on published reviews, and therefore are offering a new means of review discovery rather than additional review angles or title coverage. And the journals where critical audiobook reviews appear work with their own editorial policies and the cultural limitations of their reviewer stable. Continue reading Reviewing in the Audio Literacy Ecosystem
Many would agree: one of the biggest challenges (if not the biggest challenge) facing the ebook industry is discovery. With so many books published each year (professionally and through self-publishing services), it is becoming increasingly more difficult for readers to find what they are looking for in digital format. We all know that recommendation systems and their sophisticated algorithms point readers in the direction of the books they are likely seeking, but what if they could do more? What if the art of recommending books could be turned into pure science? What if no human brain was needed to tell us not just what books are related to one another but how their “sentiments” compare?
In this short video — a presentation held at the London Book Fair two weeks ago — Jim Bryant, Co-Founder and CEO for global distribution and book discovery network Trajectory, explains how using data science and machine learning efficiently (and creatively) is making digital content more discoverable than in the past.
Portal on all aspects of ebooks and digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. With contributions from book and library professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.