SPEC Kit 313: E-book Collections  ·  23
At first, the struggle was that we had to have a special reader for e-books. Users had to wait 24 hours for access.
There were lots of bugs to work out. Single and multi-user models did not work. Indexing was not available at the
At the beginning, multiple simultaneous uses were not always available, even though that was a highly desired
feature. Also, most of the content was older imprints and not the most current monographs.
Currently, we are very frustrated in much of our e-book buying. We would love more, but it’s a struggle to find
acceptable models in the current environment. We work very hard to replicate the e-journal environment: unlimited
users, ability to ILL, ability to download and print entire chapters if not more, and ownership models without access
fees. We remain very concerned about purchases from third parties and prefer to purchase content directly from the
publisher. It is also tremendously difficult to work around an approval plan to purchase the content. We literally need
to shut down the print to buy the electronic and this is a tremendous amount of work and, moreover, it requires a
great deal of work to repurpose print monograph money for purchases as well as making up pricing gaps.
Early on, we saw benefits if we could put an e-book title on course reserve when faculty requested a title. Access
staff searched each requested reserve book for an e-version; very few were found to be in e-format but if they were,
we’d purchase and make available.
The university offers a wide variety of distance education opportunities, for which digital online access to monograph
content is significant. Not including primary source materials such as EEBO and ECCO, which are extensions of
previous microform collections, we began adopting e-books in small packages (made up of titles of our choice) such
as Safari Technical Books and Gale Virtual Reference Books a few years ago. During the last year or two we have
evaluated the major platforms that support title-by-title selection, acquisition and display.
Occurred simultaneously with the “Transition to online” program for e-journals.
Our 1st e-books were for classic encyclopedias and handbooks, some requested by Chemical Engineering faculty and
students, such as Perry’s Handbook and Kirk-Othmer.
Our acceptance of individual e-books has been slowed because of the cost/economic model for purchasing individual
Our first e-book collections came as part of a consortial purchase for the state university system. We might not have
pursued them on our own at such an early date.
Our first e-books came with printing and simultaneous user restrictions and we received negative user feedback. We
still receive some negative feedback regarding platform usability but since printing and access issues have for the
most part been alleviated, our users are expressing appreciation for the anytime anywhere access.
Our first major purchase was a block of University of Hawaii Press books purchased for both anywhere access and as
a preservation format.
Selection has been done at the collection/package level to this point. Aside from encyclopedias and other minor
reference works (and occasional user requests for PDFs) we are not currently engaged in individual title selection yet.
Staff and users are enthusiastic about the potential of these collections.
The first year dates are approximate.
The first e-book collection acquired was from NetLibrary, which does not allow multiple simultaneous users. This
restriction was a major factor in selecting e-book platforms for subsequent individual title and collection purchases.
The first package we got was via the consortium NCLive in 2001. Our first package purchased as a library was Safari
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