Last week, I reported on a panel discussion organised by LIANZA about ebooks.
This report is the conclusion, a summary on the presentations by Ksenija Mincic-Obradovic from Auckland University and Martin Taylor, director of Activity Press and founder of the Digital Publishing Forum.
What’s happening with e-books in the Academic space?
Ksenija mentioned New Zealand academic libraries have been in the e-books space for a long time. Currently, e-books account for 30% of Auckland University’s collection. But there’s still a persistent issue with some users not knowing about their e-books collection.
A solution in tackling this issue is to use proper cataloguing standards. Ksenija mentioned by using the MARC standards, the library can dramatically increase the item’s usage by 50 times. Therefore adopting new standards like MARC and RDA has a tremendous affect on the items visibility.
Ksenija also showed libraries are developing and moving beyond the traditional form of customer engagement, an example could be seen in this video about The Underground Library:
Neat huh? We can now develop new ways of engaging with our customers through new technologies. Libraries have to think outside the traditional concept of lending and that e-lending doesn’t necessary need to be a reflection of how the real world works.
Ksenija concludes with listing a few areas for improvements that includes:
- more standardisation of purchase models, content formats, and ways of access
- high quatlity metadata for discovering e-books
- more recommended NZ texts
- better ways of e-lending
- better collaboration between vendors, publishers, and LIS developers
- and libraries should work closely together and explore best practices, workflows and business models.
Views from the outside
Martin Taylor next spoke on the changing paradigm for libraries.
He began his presentation about a story from the NZ Herald about how the Government has decided to outsourced the task of providing access to books and resources to Amazon. Although the story isn’t true, the possibility is not too far-fetched.
Currently, Amazon already has an e-books lending service and with the recent acquisition of Goodreads, has increased it’s power in the books review market. Therefore an important question was put forward in what role can libraries play in this changing paradigm.
Martin noted there is still space for libraries. Libraries can be a counter balance to the commercialisation of the review market. From a publishers point of view, libraries are great vehicles to discover new books and for the public, a good authoritative source for recommendations.
There is a market for libraries in providing an unbiased source of authoritative reviews, but this will require them to become content creators on top of their traditional roles. We have to see ourselves as a media business, providing and pushing content to our users.
This is an interesting observation.
What do you think?
Do you see us moving towards a media business model?
If not, where do you see us heading?
Love to hear your thoughts, observations or ideas, comment below.
Come and join me in future events.
Hope to see you there.
Learn more about me on LinkedIn: http://nz.linkedin.com/in/markhuynhdigitalwebexpert/