The UKSG meeting in Torquay was at the end of last month, and many of the slides are now available.1 One that caught my eye was the plenary from Warren Holder at the University of Toronto library (not least since I visited him at least a decade ago) entitled “Turning the Page: University of Toronto E-book Study.” As you might expect, their digital holdings are extensive, with 720,000 e-books, of which 69 per cent are licensed, and some 55,000 ejournals. Usage patterns of print and electronic were much as you might expect, with books still being the main printed matter that is used; the “e-books” were also mentioned as being less usable than other digital materials (indexes, journals etc), and harder to find, which is obviously an issue for both consumers and library users.
I particularly liked the slide “Mental model of e-books” which asked the question in a survey “When you hear the term “e-book”, which of these do you think of?” since the term is pretty useless and doesn’t really stand for anything. The responses were:
|Scanned books in a PDF file||69%|
|Online scholarly texts||54%|
|Books published on websites||39%|
|PDA or eBook reader books||31%|
Since I’ve been working with publishers, these are all usages I’ve come across, and underlined how important it is to understand what people mean by “e-book” before you try and build them a solution.
- Rapple, Charlie. “Presentations from the conference now on the website.” 24 April 2009. Live Serials blog. http://liveserials.blogspot.com/2009/04/presentations-from-conference-now-on.html