October 21, 2009
I got e-Books coming out of my ears!
It seems like an hour doesn’t go by when I am not hearing something new about digital books – everything from new digitisations projects to new devices, and I am not even sure how usey e-books are/will be in a law school setting. (Usey is my own word that I use to combine notions of user-friendly interfaces with effective searching/results . Used in a sentence for example: Intelliconnect is not particularly usey.)
Within the last 7 days we learned from DigitalKoans that Columbia and Cornell are entering a joint partnership to digitize library collections. Meanwhile, downtown at NYU, the Chronicle reported that NYU will digitize all of Bobst, their undergraduate library (though, not really, see the real story at LJ.)
Also in the e-book digitzation news recently: Google announced their new book store, Google Editions, which will be a vehicle to sell and distribute digitized books (from the google book scanning project and directly from publishers, or so it seems) that will be on an anything-but-a-Kindle platform. (Also, see earlier LLB post on Google Editions.) And we now learn that the long awaited B&N competitor to the Kindle and Sony e-Reader, called The Nook, will turn the industry on its head.
“open architecture for vending and lending digital books over the Internet. Built on open catalog and open book formats, the BookServer model allows a wide network of publishers, booksellers, libraries, and even authors to make their catalogs of books available directly to readers through their laptops, phones, netbooks, or dedicated reading devices.” (Also, see JHs earlier LLB post on BookServer.)
In other words, BookServer will index the digital books and put you in touch with the producer of the product in an open environment. I trust Brewster Kahle will put together better metadata than Google!
That’s a lot of effort going into digitizing books in the last week.
Well, are these digital books being used?
In public libraries, the reports are good. An article in the NY Sunday Times Book Section this past weekend reports on happy library users and their e-books. The article also discusses possible pricing models libraries might consider with respect to unfree e-literature. But we are in academic libraries. I'm wondering if our clientele are hankering for e-books for their schorlarship.
According to the Primary Research report, Library Use of E-books: 2008-2009 Edition, we aren’t really sure.
Primary Research reports that 77% of the respondents in the survey were academic or university libraries. While expenditures for e-books went up across the board, over 80% of the respondents said that they do not keep track of usage statistics provided by the vendors. I found this particular statistic astounding. Here we are screaming for vendor statistics in law libraries, but e-book stats which are provided, aren’t even being used. Odd. (By the way, CCH provides pretty good usage statistics if you ask, even if their platform is not particularly usey.) A review of the report can be accessed through Ingenta to glean further details if you don't want to splurge on the report itself.
It would be nice to see some hard data from law schools. We just started an Oxford lease for commercial arbitration treatises. I am going to try them out for 12 months and poll my student/faculty audience to see if they are actually "reading" them or just "searching them" for relevant passages. If anyone else has some hard data on e-book usage in law schools, I'd love to see it. (VS)
I'm going to see if I can track that stat down. I've heard it referenced myself and it seems that the "learning experience" is escaping the discussion of e-books. What I learn, I will share.
Posted by: Vicki | Oct 23, 2009 3:50:22 PM
Posted by: Christine Anderson, Cairo, Egypt | Oct 22, 2009 4:39:57 AM
According to recent reports on reading digital books..I think it was a nyt series of comments on reading ebooks..the consensus was that it takes 20-30% more time to read an ebook than a paper book. That is my own experience and I'm not counting the time to deal with the technological problems. Given the premium on time in law and law schools, I wonder just who is going to deal with this unless they have no choice. And even if they have no choice, are they going to truncate their research or reading experience in a way they wouldn't have.
Posted by: Christine Anderson, Cairo, Egypt | Oct 22, 2009 4:15:38 AM