rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 1: p. 84
Sources: E-books in Academic Libraries
Karen Antell, Paula Barnett-Ellis

Paula Barnett-Ellis, Health and Sciences Librarian, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama

In this book, the author examines literature and data on e-book management in academic libraries worldwide and also draws on her own experience working with a large e-book collection to give the reader a detailed look at both the benefits and the challenges of e-books. Minčić-Obradović, manager of cataloging at the University of Auckland library in New Zealand, considers e-book issues from the viewpoints of librarians, faculty, and students. In her view, as university students’ expectations and needs change, libraries and librarians must remain flexible in a constantly changing learning environment. E-book services must be available where the users are, both physically and virtually.

Issues with e-books include those that libraries have historically encountered with materials of all types, including selection and deselection, collection management, acquisition, access, cataloging, and user support. Along with these also come additional challenges unique to electronic resources, such as tracking usage statistics and maintaining user authentication processes. But these challenges are balanced by the value-added elements of electronic resources, including remote access, search options, and multimedia features. Minčić-Obradović outlines the problems that libraries can face with purchase models and formats that differ among vendors. In addition, she addresses the lack of standardization and uncertainty about future changes in formats, archive methods, and technology that are causing difficulties for libraries.

One strong point of this book is that the author emphasizes the importance of marketing. Often, patrons do not know about a library’s e-book collection or how to use it. To encourage use of a library’s e-books, librarians must make it easy for patrons to find them, whether they are linked in the online catalog, subject guides, course pages, and/or the university’s course management system. Of course, along with getting the word out, library staff should know how to use the various e-book platforms so they can instruct students in their use.

This book offers a detailed, comprehensive look at e-books, from their history to their future, and provides a balanced look at both their benefits and their drawbacks. It would serve as a good guide for using e-books to their maximum potential for academic libraries.

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