SPEC Kit 313: E-book Collections  ·  31
The content includes historic and primary resources not otherwise available. Titles are needed for use off our main
campus (e.g., foreign study programs). Occasionally, only the e-book is available.
This is the trend for reference books; for example handbooks.
Timely materials that are frequently updated technical manuals for example. Areas where we have “gone
electronic,” like some of the sciences.
Traditional reference books like encyclopedias and handbooks are purchased e-only when possible. Individual titles
are purchased as e-books if duplicate copies are required and for replacing highly used books when possible.
Varies by subject and coverage. In progress.
We are emphasizing reference-type titles, including technical and software manuals.
We are moving to e-books because the total cost of ownership is much lower than print and because usage is
much higher. I would turn this question around and say that we prefer print whenever a user requests that a title be
acquired specifically in print, and when it offers advantages (color plates, etc.) that don’t translate well into the digital
We have experimented on a small scale with reference e-books. For the general collections our starting point for
preferring e-books has been multi-author collections such as symposium proceedings or collections of loosely
connected research articles. The rationale is that most users will be interested in only a small section or chapter of
the book, and in that sense the e-book functions more like e-journals, which have met greater acceptance at our
institution. We have also acquired e-books as part of e-journal packages, not because we prefer the e-book format
but because it came with the package and we’re not going to purchase the same content in two formats.
We prefer electronic for reference tools and to support classroom needs (versus print reserves).
We prefer electronic format for the support of distance education courses.
We prefer electronic formats for collections of essays or other works that most users will use only in segments. We
prefer e-books as added copies of titles that already circulate heavily or can be expected to circulate heavily in print.
We prefer e-books for subjects like business, nursing and education that are taught at multiple campuses to largely
non-resident students. We prefer e-books for computer and software related manuals.
We use e-books instead of paper when replacing lost books if they are priced better and have multi-simultaneous
user capability.
When it is cheaper, when multiple simultaneous access is desired, and when anytime/anywhere accessibility is a
priority (as with reference titles). When a collection of titles is desirable because of the ability to cross-search and
have the content in electronic format (particularly with collections such as EEBO and ECCO).
When it is not duplicated in the collection.
When multiple users need to use the same material. Linking to other Web resources. When the electronic format is
significantly less expensive or provides increased functionality, as in searching.
When remote access and currency are the main factors. Also, when reference works in e-format can save space.
When there is the potential for high use, when e-format is needed for visually impaired reader, when material is
appropriate for quick access such as a statistical methods handbook.
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