Charleston Conference, eBook Access Models and Technology

Lisa Carlucci Thomas, Digital Services Librarian at Southern Connecticut State University, spoke about access models for eBooks, specifically with mobile devices and dedicated eReaders. Lisa spoke about barriers to access stating that restrictive DRM, licensing, and incompatible formats are all barriers to accessibility of eBooks.  Additionally, devices all have different loading options. Librarians have to understand DRM, formats, and compatibility between devices in order to assist their patrons.

Lisa suggested we visit the M-Libraries site, where librarians are sharing their knowledge about ebooks and mobile access.  She also recommended a post from Stephen’s Lighthouse where he lists several sites that compare eBook readers.

She demonstrated the limitations of our print book ordering systems, like GOBI.  While they can offer the ability to purchase an eBook from 3 different vendors, with the business model in small print, there is no additional information on this page about access of the eBook.  Things that could/should be included are:  format of the eBook, compatibility of the eBook with devices, more information on access (number of users, printing, downloading, etc.)

Stephen Rhind- Tutt, President of Alexander Street Press, presented on many of the access issues that publishers and libraries are dealing with.  He suggests that users want their information to be interlinked.  We have all been on our own islands (library island, publisher island) and as the water continues to go down, we will be interconnected.  Integration is unavoidable.  The problem is the cataloging/indexing, it’s just not robust enough.

How do we move discovery forward?

The principal problems are cataloging, linking, and financial.

Cataloging – no common agreement as to terms and level of granularity.  We have ISBNs, ONYX, DOI, etc. but as we get into smaller units and semantic tagging, it gets harder.

Linking – Links document intellectual pathways through data. Who, what, when, where? These are the questions we need to get to in order to index and link things together so that we can answer questions.

Financial – This is expensive to do folks!

Stephen and Lisa had some great slides.  I’ll be linking to them as soon as I get the official copies from each of them.

reposted with permission from No Shelf Required

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