eContent Quarterly launches

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No Shelf Required is extremely pleased to announce the launch of eContent Quarterly, a new journal from American Library Association’s TechSource, edited by Sue Polanka and Mirela Roncevic. The free issue of the journal was released at this year’s ALA conference in Chicago. Issue 1 is now available in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats on ALA TechSource’s web site. Regularly priced at $150, a one-year subscriptionis now $99 with the coupon code SECQ13.

eContent Quarterly will offer practical, user-driven solutions and ideas for curating, developing, integrating, and managing content in rapidly-changing digital library environments.  Polanka and Roncevic, whose deep knowledge of the e-content landscape and vast library and editorial experience combine to bring clarity and focus to the journal’s purpose: helping information professionals keep pace with e-book and journal platforms, databases, multi-media products, digital solutions and discovery services.

Written by and for information professionals in the business of producing, selling and buying e-content—including librarians and publishers—each issue will consist of in-depth articles that explore the many facets of electronic content.

Below is the listing of Issue 1’s four main articles, in the order in which they appear in the journal. Below those is the full Editors’ Note from the same issue, in which editors Polanka and Roncevic summarize the overarching theme of the first issue: the importance of partnerships. “Whatever aspect of e-content we may be discussing—building e-book collections in academic libraries; navigating formats; using and creating metadata, or evaluating children’s apps—we are bound to reach similar conclusions about the pressing need to cooperate rather than to quarrel. The reality is: librarians and those that cater to them have a lot more in common than they may realize.”

Issue 1, Fall 2013 Contents:

  • Supplying and Collecting Books: An Uneasy Metamorphosis by Michael Zeoli
    Drawing on his vast experience as a content developer, Zeoli gives an insider’s view on the complex nature of publisher-aggregator-library
    relationships, calling for less isolationism and more partnerships among all parties.
  • E-book Formats: An Overview for Librarians by John Burns
    Dixie State University’s gadget-loving librarian explains the pros and cons of e-book formats as they relate to libraries.
  • The Importance of Metadata for E-content by Renée Register
    The founder of DataCurate.com provides an introductory text on what metadata is; how it is used by publishers, aggregators, and libraries; and the challenges the e-book industry faces as it moves forward with two systems of metadata, ONIX and MARC.
  • Evaluating Children’s Apps by Carisa KIuver and Cen Campbell
    The founders of Digital Storytime and Little eLit, respectively, tell the stories of how they created the two sites to help guide librarians and parents through the complex universe of children’s apps.

Issue 1, Fall 2013 Editors’ Notes:

Welcome to the first, Fall 2013 issue of eContent Quarterly. As we promised in the Preview issue—which launched at the ALA conference in Chicago this past summer—our goal is to tackle e-content from every conceivable angle and through the voices of a variety of information professionals shaping the e-content landscape, including public, academic and school librarians as well as publishers, aggregators, distributors and others catering to libraries.

As YBP’s Michael Zeoli observes in the opening piece on supplying and collecting books in academic libraries, we are all guilty of “viewing the circumstances of our sectors in isolation, as though they existed separately from the others, so not always appreciating the fact that we share in the same travails and potential rewards.” By bringing together the voices of those who produce content on the one end and manage it on the other, this issue of eCQ reminds us that no player in the e-content ecosystem—be they for-profit corporations or non-profit institutions—can master “the digital shift” single-handedly. Drawing on his vast experience as a content developer, Zeoli gives an “insider’s view” on the complex nature of publisher-aggregator-library relationships, calling for less isolationism and more partnerships among all parties. He also shares some eye-opening figures about the impact of E on P in relation to sales, content availability and overall revenues.

Zeoli’s sentiments about the importance of collaboration reverberate through the closing piece as well, in which librarians Carisa Kluver and Cen Campbell insist that despite technological advances, no one gets the digital shift completely: “This transition is like nothing we have experienced in recent human history, and none of us has a road map. Together, however, we can build something that can evolve over time.” Kluver and Campbell, founders of Digital-Storytime.com and LittleLit.com, respectively, tell the stories of how they created the two sites to help guide librarians and parents through the complex universe of children’s apps, drawing our attention to the importance of unbiased reviews in the process but also pointing to the new opportunities for K-12 librarians to use their skills and guide parents and teachers to the best sources.

The two middle pieces serve as educational overviews of key topics in e-content discussions these days: formats and metadata. Dixie State University’s John Burns provides a detailed overview of the most prevalent e-book formats, from both the perspectives of a passionate consumer of gadgets—the badge he wears proudly—and of an informed professional with varied library experience. If you have been looking for a summary of the pros and cons of e-book formats as they relate to libraries, look no further. Burns’ piece paints a clear picture of what is out there, what is here to stay and what formats may not be around much longer.

Renee Register’s  piece on metadata is another introductory text on what metadata is and how it is used by publishers, aggregators and libraries. Given the topic’s complexity—particularly in digital environments—Register assumes little metadata knowledge on the part of the reader,  which helps us follow her analysis of the challenges the e-book industry faces as it moves forward with two systems of metadata, ONIX and MARC. Having founded DataCurate.com, a company that supports publishers and libraries in the development of data policies, Register is exceedingly qualified to offer opinions on what is needed to eliminate duplication of metadata efforts across publishing and library operations. She, too, draws our attention to the new processes for metadata management that would allow for more collaboration between publishers and libraries.

Indeed, if there is a dominant theme echoing through all the pieces in this issue of eCQ, it is the importance of partnerships. Whatever aspect of e-content we may be discussing—building e-book collections in academic libraries; navigating formats; using and creating metadata or evaluating children’s apps—we are bound to reach similar conclusions about the pressing need to cooperate rather than to quarrel. The reality is: librarians and those that cater to them have a lot more in common than they may realize. Zeoli drives this point home when stating: “We each possess unique expertise designed ultimately to enhance the delivery of content.” And that’s the vision we have for this journal: helping information professionals understand what others in the chain are facing, so that we may all see better how to apply our expertise.

Sue Polanka & Mirela Roncevic, Editors