2009: The year of the eBook

According to Chris Andrews, from Project Gutenberg, 2009 will be the year of the eBook.  Chris offers 20 reasons why.   Bring it on….what has taken so long (sp)?  I’d list them here, but it’s much more fun to read them at Chris’s site in order to see the many comments (and offer your own).

I’d like to add reason #21.  As someone who just suffered from a house fire that destroyed everything I own – except my iPhone – it’s much easier to grab one eBook reader than 400 paperbacks as you run like hell out the door.

eBook programs at ALA Midwinter

If you are headed to Denver in a couple of weeks, see if you have time to pop into one of these panel discussions of eBooks and patron driven acquisition.  If anyone knows of other programs, please let me know.  This was all I could find in the online planner by keyword.

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM on 01/24
OCLC 10 Years of eBooks – What’s Next?
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM on 01/26
PVLR Forum: Patron-Driven Acquisition and Its Impact on Libraries, Vendors, and Publishers
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

ebrary now has on demand MARC records

From ebrary:

ebrary Announces On-Demand MARC Records

January 6, 2009 – Palo Alto, CA – ebrary®, a leading provider of e-content software and services, today announced that customers can now immediately upload free MARC records for individual titles they purchase as well as e-books and other documents added to the company’s subscription databases.  Additionally, ebrary’s new MARC features make it easier for customers to manage MARC records and upload large batches.

“As well as providing our customers with the best possible technology for acquiring, sharing, and distributing authoritative digital content, we also strive to provide support and services that make it easier for librarians and information professionals to use and integrate our products,” said Neal Strickberger, ebrary’s Vice President of MIS and Customer Operations. “In gathering feedback from our customers, we heard loud and clear that developing a quicker, more efficient way to obtain and manage MARC records would greatly enhance our offerings.  We are pleased to make this request a reality through on-demand MARC features.”

Available today, ebrary’s on-demand MARC features offer the following capabilities:

* Instant MARC updates – Customers can download new MARC records for purchased titles and additions to subscription e-book collections at any time, as incremental or complete record sets.
* MARC records separated by collection – Customers with multiple subscription collections and purchased titles can download complete or incremental sets of MARC records for specific collections.
* Deleted MARC records – Customers can now obtain deleted records as MARC delete records or on an Excel spreadsheet.
* Complete MARC record sets for large collections – To simplify loading, complete MARC loads are now available from ebrary’s extranet site as batches of 5,000 in a single ZIP file.

About ebrary (www.ebrary.com)
ebrary® is a leading provider of e-content services and technology.  The company helps libraries, publishers, and other organizations disseminate valuable information to end-users, while improving end-user research and document interaction.

The company has developed a flexible e-content platform, which customers may use in a number of different, integrated capacities:  ebrary customers may purchase or subscribe to e-books and other content under a variety of pricing and access models, and they may license the ebrary platform to distribute, sell, and market their own content online.  All options are delivered using a customizable interface and include a choice of ebrary Readers with QuickView™ for instant viewing in a browser and  InfoTools™ software which provide contextual searching and integration with multiple online resources..

ebrary currently offers a growing selection of more than 170,000 e-books and other titles from more than 300 leading publishers and aggregators.

Founded in 1999, ebrary is privately held and is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, USA.

###

Tish Wagner
ebrary
Library and Public Relations
707-963-2035- office
707-227-0870- mobile
tish.wagner@ebrary.com

Reference Universe has NEW Interface

Those of you who are Reference Universe users just got an early holiday gift – a new interface.  For details on the changes, check out the Paratext overview document.

Highlights include:

  • customized library logos
  • simplified email/download and export functions – direct to RefWorks and EndNote too
  • eBook only display
  • classification number options – LC, Dewey,  both, or none
  • quick format identification
  • stationary search and browse functions
  • option to display title NOT owned by your library – great for collection development
  • and more….

For more information on Reference Universe, listen to the NSR interview with Eric Calaluca, Founder and President, Paratext.

New Audio Interview with UT-Austin Librarian, Lindsey Schell

UT-Austin Libraries has a huge eBook collection, about 600,000 titles in all.  Lindsey Schell, Librarian for Journals, English Lit, and Women’s Studies, has had plenty of experience in acquiring eBooks for UT-Austin.

In this interview, Lindsey and I discuss the variety of eBook collections/platforms at UT, the successes and challenges of their eBook program, purchasing eBooks through Patron Driven Acquisition, and other neat and cool things about eBooks.  So, if you have eBooks, want to expand your collection, or are on the fence about starting an eBook collection, give it a listen.   You’re bound to learn something. And, hopefully you’ll be jazzed about eBooks!

Other NSR interviews can be found on our Interviews page.

More on Gale/Cengage and HighBeam

I just had a nice conversation with John Barnes, Executive VP Strategic Marketing and Business Development, at Gale/Cengage.  I asked John if Gale would be introducing new business models directed towards end users with their recent acquisition of HighBeam.  Below is a brief summary of our discussion.  Thanks John.

HighBeam’s clients are a combination of students and small businesses.

Gale/Cengage for several years has offered Goliath:  Business Knowledge on Demand, which consists of business information, targeted to small business clients.

With the acquisition of HighBeam, Gale now owns encyclopedia.com, which John says, “has untapped potential to connect users to the library.” Their mission, to place “high quality embedded information in front of end users.”

So, rather than a new business model for end users, Gale will continue to make information more discoverable to end-users through encyclopedia.com, Goliath, and their existing AccessMyLibrary product.  AccessMyLibrary allows a small slice of InfoTrac to be indexed by search engines.  When users “want to see more” they are prompted to enter information about their library, which in turn takes search engine traffic to libraries.

Discoverability.  It’s all about end users discovering our content, trapped in that invisible web.  I’m anxious to see how Gale can embed quality content into encyclopedia.com.  Wishful thinking, but maybe in time this could rival Wikipedia, with links to scholarly resources and digital and special library collections.

For more on discoverability, read John’s (and other reference publishers) comments in these articles in Booklist Online:

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, Part 1

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, Part2

HighBeam Research now part of Gale/Cengage

Gale/Cengage recently acquired HighBeam Research Inc.  If you are unfamiliar with HighBeam, they are an online reference source with access to over 3500 resources from magazine/newspaper articles to  journal articles to popular reference sources.  HighBeam provides it’s services to companies, small groups, and individuals rather than libraries.

This is a very interesting acquisition to me.  I anticipate many publishers will begin (or pump up) services direct to the end user or smaller organizations.  Makes sense since most research is done on the open web rather than via a library database trapped in the invisible web.

From the press release:  “The acquisition of HighBeam is a natural extension of our user-focused strategy.  Gale has had a presence on the open Web for many years now, particularly with AccessMyLibrary, which brings users from search engines into a library environment to explore their vast content riches.  Now, with the added expertise of HighBeam, Gale will have a greater opportunity to learn more about user behavior and research trends, and will use that information to further develop and enhance the user experience for all our products” said Sommers.

Daily Lit Partners with University of North Carolina Press

Daily Lit, the leading publisher of serialized books in digital format, recently announced a partnership with the University of North Carolina Press.  Several UNC Press books will be digitized, including two children’s titles – Teach’s Light and Taffy of Torpedo Junction.

I really enjoy the format of Daily Lit titles.  I get a daily email (RSS also available) with 1 – 3 minutes of reading from a title.  It’s an easy way to read in small doses.  For more information about Daily Lit, see previous NoShelfRequired posts from 9/29/08 and 11/21/08

Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA)

The current NSR poll asks, “is your institution using patron driven acquisition to purchase eBooks.”  PDA is a business model, offered by (currently) 3 ebook aggregators  – NetLibrary, EBL, and Ingram Digital.  In this model, patrons determine which eBooks are purchased based on the eBooks they use.  There are many variations to PDA, but each variation does allow for librarians to pre-select groups of titles to choose from, establish budgets, and put controls in place to monitor usage and purchases.

For a more thorough look at PDA, you can read my upcoming Off The Shelf column in Booklist Online.  It will be published in the January 1, 2009 issue.  �

No Shelf Required Fan Club

Wow, my first member!  Thanks Lora.  I’m glad to see that the resources in NSR are assisting library students too.

Dear Sue Polanka,

I’m a library student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  I just did a research project on the future of reference books for a collection development class.  In my research I came across several columns where you addressed just this topic.  I just wanted to write and thank you for being such a proponent for electronic resources and encourage you to continue motivating librarians to edge their libraries into an online reference model!  I’ve really enjoyed reading the columns!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lora


Lora Smallman
Graduate Assistant, Instructional Services
Undergraduate Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rosen’s Teen Health & Wellness – this is what I call a Reference Experience

I recently attended the School Library Journal (SLJ) Summit and had the pleasure of working with Roger Rosen, of Rosen Publishing, on a panel about the future of digital reference.  Roger spoke about Rosen’s Teen Health & Wellness product.  I finally had a chance to look it over.  WOW, this is what I call a reference experience!

Some highlights:

  • Thousands of resources for teens on topics relevant to them, and written for them – like sexuality, dating, stress, alcohol/drugs, eating disorders, and even acne
  • In The News – a snippet of data from a published news story, with links to additional information in the database.
  • Cast Your Vote – Polls on relevant topics, to see how other teens feel/act.  After viewing the poll results, links to articles on a relevant topic are included
  • HOTLINES (Get Help Now)- easy to find access to a variety of national hotlines (Suicide, AIDS, Alcohol/Drugs, Eating Disorders, etc)
  • Ask Dr. Jan – a place to ask a question and get an answer from a licensed Psychologist
  • Personal Story – a teen story written about a particular situation, like cyberbullying.  Users may then SHARE THEIR OWN STORY by submitting it to Rosen.  Don’t worry, lots of confidentiality controls are in place.
  • Did You Know? – factoids on various health/wellness topics, with links to related articles
  • RSS Feeds of new content from “In The News,”  “Dr. Jan’s Corner,” and “Did You Know?”
  • Each entry is signed, and includes the name of the MD or other medical professional who reviewed the article.
  • Email, print, and cite this source options
  • Links for resources, glossary, and further reading
  • Date last updated for each article
  • Images

Besides the amazing amount of information in the Teen Health & Wellness database, teens have the opportunity to ask questions, write/share their own feelings, and find out how other teens are dealing with situations.  The RSS feeds, polls, and Q/A make this interactive.  The attention to detail in citing, writing, reviewing, and updating make the information very authoritative.  This should be in every household, not just school.  Congrats Rosen!

Gee, reading all of this makes me want to be a teenager again…..NOT!

But, it does make me wonder why these great features aren’t in other databases.  The product seems to build a community.  Can our generic reference ebook collections possibly do that?  I don’t see why not.�

eBook sales will increase in UK libraries

According to a survey conducted in the UK by NetLibrary, most libraries do intend to increase the acquisition of eBooks in the coming years.

The highlights:

300 libraries responded

  • 3/4 of academic libraries intend to increase eBook collections
  • 1/2 of public libraries intend to increase eBook collections
  • 85% of publics were interested in fiction eBooks
  • 65% of publics were interested in building an audiobook collection

for more information, contact uk@oclc.org

Europe’s Online Library – Europeana – Launched

**and crashed, unfortunately, due to popularity.  It’s currently down!  sp, 11/21 4:30 p.m. EST  The site hopes to be back up, on a more robust engine,  by mid December.

From Knowledgespeak.com

The European Commission has launched Europeana, a multimedia online library.  Over 2 million books are included as well as maps, recordings, photographs, archival materials, and more.  The digital materials were collected from the national libraries and cultural institutions of the EU’s 27 member states and are all cross searchable in one source – Europeana.�

Blog as if your life depended on it!

I posted a while back about a wonderful eBook site, DailyLit.  DailyLit sends me bits and pieces of eBooks to my email box each day, just enough to read for a minute or two.  The first title I chose (yes, because it was free) was 100 Ways to  Succeed by Tom Peters.  Yesterday, #39 arrived.  It said:

100 WAYS TO SUCCEED #39:
BLOG AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!

Blogging, I firmly believe, is the premier emergent marketing-brandbuilding-lovemark-creating tool of our times! It is the premier way to have intimate-engaging-informative-WOWing “conversations” with Clients and prospects! This all goes double for small enterprises and niche enterprises; and goes triple for the Professional Services; and works wonders in the Public Sector as well.

Do you see Blogging in these exalted lights? If not, why not? Please …  Blog-As-If-Your-Professional-Success-Depended-On-It. (Hint: I think it does.)

Begin today! Appoint yourself Chief Blogging officer. Or, better yet, Chief Intimate Client Conversations Officer!

I can’t tell you how happy I was to realize that finally, I had accomplished one of the (so-far) 39 ways to succeed.   Why am I bragging about this?  Well, because now it’s your turn.  No Shelf Required is here to provide a place for discussion between librarians, publishers, aggregators, book lovers, and spammers (oh wait, I delete those messages).   So comment, post, rant, suggest, get your eBook message out.  You’d be surprised how many people actually read this thing – worldwide!  It surprises me every day.

E-Reference Ratings from LJ

LJ just released E-Reference Ratings, “an evaluation of nearly 180 subscription based electronic resources in 14 subject categories.”  Of course, many of these are eBook platforms like Britannica, Credo, GVRL, Oxford, and Sage.   There was no category for eBooks, instead you’ll find them listed under the various subject categories.

Products were reviewed by a team of 8 reference experts and included 7 criteria:  scope, writing, design, linking, bells & whistles, ease of use, value.  Resources were given a star rating, 1 to 4 stars to indicate * poor, ** satisfactory, ***good, ****excellent  A brief paragraph also accompanied each resource.

According to LJ, “Because we know that online resources continually grow and evolve—a list of this nature can date quickly—E-Reference Ratings, which made a print debut in the November 15th Reference Announcements issue, will find its permanent home and reach its full potential on our web site. We intend not only to keep up with these ever-changing products (adjusting the ratings as necessary) but also to expand the number of databases in each category and venture into new ones. We hope to hear from all parties—librarians, publishers, and vendors—about how we can keep this tool thriving and make it even more useful.”

Congrats LJ!  This was no small feat.�

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