Category Archives: Discovery

Increase eBook Product Usage, Ideas from GVRL Clients

Gale/Cengage has collected a growing list of 18 ways to increase usage of your ebook resources.  They are listed below.  Or, visit the site for the full story.

How to Increase Product Usage
Here are a few “best practices” as defined by your colleagues. Many of our customers have already discovered and implemented these ideas for increasing usage of electronic resources at their institution.

  • Create a website that has a link to your electronic resources on the Home page.
    Use our JavaScript to integrate a Gale “PowerSearch” box on your Home page.
  • Keep links to databases, eBooks, journals, and magazines no more than 1 “click” away from the Home page.
  • Register for AccessMyLibrary at http://access.gale.com/mylibrary/others/index.html.
  • Create pathfinders for individual databases and have them accessible next to computers.
  • Organize databases by subject and offer remote access.
  • Place links to interesting content directly on your Home page. Gale InfoMarks (or durable URLs) navigate users directly to interesting content or current articles—bypassing the need to find a database or conduct a search.
  • Use journal cover graphics on your Home page to take the user into a periodical database.
  • Load MaRC records with URL’s to databases, eBooks, journals, and magazines
  • Distribute product information material (user guides, search tips, etc) directly to your users.
  • Use electronic databases to support curriculum through class assignments
  • Integrate appropriate content into lesson plans.
  • Market the library to teachers and work with them to create assignments using the product content.
  • Offer library instruction and distribute product information and URL’s for parents or PTA
  • Make library instruction mandatory for incoming students.
  • Do not allow open web resources in bibliographies or works cited pages for assignments.
  • Deploy a federated search engine
  • Implement a journal locator application and linking through OpenURL

Have another suggestion? Would you like to learn more about what the Customer Resource Center can do for you?
Please call 1-800-877-4253 and ask to speak with your Client Relations Specialist today!

eBooks usage revealed, a webinar from Springer

This morning I “attended” the Springer webinar on eBook usage.  It was very informative and obviously focused on Springer content, but it did confirm some of my suspicions about eBook usage.   Here are some highlights:

They use COUNTER, as do most other eBook publishers/aggregators.  COUNTER is incredibly detailed with usage stats….are you using yours to investigate usage and trends?  why not?

2007 – over 25 million eBook chapter downloads, the numbers for 2008 thus far are higher.  I’m seeing this in my eBook usage from various aggregators and publishers.

Handbooks had the highest number of downloads, textbooks were next in line, followed by reference works.  Most of my eBook collection is reference, so that gets the highest use, but I do have a ton of Springer titles, and stats show my users are finding the handbooks and textbooks.

The older eBooks were still used a lot, older defined as 2005 and 2006.

Springer confirmed a couple of things from the ebrary student and faculty eBook surveys:

  • students want more eBooks in their subject areas – yeah, who wouldn’t!
  • faculty prefer electronic material over print

How do you drive usage to your eBooks?  Discoverability is the key.

  • Are you cataloging ALL of your eBook titles with MARC records in the catalog?  The SuperBook Project from the University College of London confirmed that cataloged books get 2 times as much traffic as non-cataloged books.  Makes sense to me.
  • Do you have link resolvers in place to drive users from A & I services to the eBook titles?
  • Are the eBooks you own indexed in google?  According to Springer, 2/3 of their eBook visits came from google – that’s any part of google, not just scholar.  Check with your publishers and aggregators to see if they allow google to index the eBook metadata or fulltext.  And if they do….how are those users getting to the eBook via your library?

eBook usage internationally is big – I’m hearing this from most publishers.  Springer compared eBook usage to eJournal usage.  Internationally, Hong Kong and Munster had approximately 51% journal and 49% eBook usage but U.S. libraries had more of the 80/20 breakdown.

The webinar was hosted by Wouter vander Velde, eProduct Manager, eBooks, Springer

Wouter had a lovely powerpoint with the charts/stats available, but I haven’t heard from him if I can share that on the blog.  If you would like to see it, you could probably email him.

The Evolution of the Reference EBook

At ALA Annual in Anaheim ABC-CLIO hosted focus groups for academic reference librarians to discuss the changing face of electronic reference books and hear what they had to say about what they hoped to see for the future of these products.

Here are the items we discussed and the general feedback we received. We encourage all readers of the No Shelf Required blog to post comments or questions – we want to hear what you have to say too!

Is print reference still viable?
It was generally agreed that print reference is still viable. Whether or not the librarian would purchase the print version depended upon the subject of the title and if their budget prohibited purchasing the electronic version. However, nearly half of the 20 attendees said they are no longer buying print reference at all.

What comes first, the book or the eBook?
As stated above, most answered that they would purchase the eBook and not the print, so the question for them was moot. Others stated that they would be inclined to purchase an eBook version of a title prior to the release of a completed print version if subsquent updates were provided and the final print version would be available within 12 – 24 months.  The original release of the eBook version would have less content than the print, but both versions would be identical by the time of print publication.

Important Features

  • Unlimited simultaneous usage & remote access
  • Export to citation programs
  • NO plug-ins
  • Open to Google and federated searching – access to all eBook platforms through one search engine

Ordering

  • Make ordering easier by offering eBooks via the usual print distributors

Purchase vs. Subscribe
Continue reading

VERSO – Virtual Electronic Reference Source Organizer

A visual way to search for eBooks in the library collection – VERSO.  From the Quinnipiac University’s Arnold Bernhard Library in Hamden, CT.  Check it out.

For more information on VERSO, read the recent article in Library Journal – “A grassroots response to a surge in e-resources yields a new virtual reference shelf.” By Terry Ballard, 5/15/2008

eBooks – Wouldn’t One Platform Be Nice?

If you’ve ever heard me give a presentation about eBooks, then you’ve probably heard my soap box rant about the plethora of eBook platforms.  I can’t stand it.  I look forward to the day when all of my e-content – reference, monographs, textbooks, whatever – will be on one consistent platform, fully searchable by keyword and every other possible facet.  With ALA Annual coming up in June, I am asking all of you who feel the same to please remind the publishers that we want one platform for our electronic content.  I know I’m not alone here.  I’ve just heard some rumors from a publisher that librarians in Japan asked for the exact same thing – one central platform!

Here’s an excerpt from my Nov. 1, 2008 article in Reference Books Bulletin about eBook platforms:

Make access a priority. The best way to drive business to e-reference is through the online catalog. Make sure all MARC records are in the catalog with persistent links to the e-books. Strive to use as few interfaces as possible. Our comparison chart lists 6 vendors, each with a unique interface and special features; how can we make things simpler? Purchase titles to own, and get the licensing agreement to provide a copy of the e-book in either the HTML, XML, or PDF version.   With this data, libraries can mount all e-book content on 1 platform, like Ebrary, or an open-source product, like XTF. Or purchase from vendors that support multiple publishers in one platform—Gale Virtual Reference Library is a good example. Another good option for access is through Paratext’s Reference Universe, which indexes the table of contents, entries, and thousands of print and electronic titles. It’s a deeper search than the catalog, uses one interface, and has persistent links to the article level of e-books and to the catalog record of print titles. When shopping around, talk to publishers about access, and remind them that fewer interfaces make for simple searching by users and librarians.

Berkshire Publishing’s Bookshop launched

Here’s a new spin on eBook publishing and business models. Berkshire Publishing offers FREE searching/browsing of reference titles before purchase. Libraries and/or end users can subscribe to the content, directly from the site for an annual fee. Example: Pricing for their new title, Global Perspectives of the United States, is $49.00 annually. The print list price is $275.00. If you only wanted to own titles for a couple of years, this might be a more economical way to purchase.

http://www.exacteditions.com/berkshire

Reference Universe – Paratext

Reference Universe.
Nov. 2003.
Paratext
REVIEW. First published November 1, 2003 (Booklist).

Reference Universe
Here is a database that librarians will really appreciate. We have spent countless hours selecting, storing, and carefully weeding our reference collections. But patrons would rather search on the Internet, and get any old answer, than use our pride and joy, our reference collections. Reference Universe has taken article titles and indexes from more than 2,000 reference works “from both major and minor reference publishers.” These entries have been compiled into a user-friendly database that covers topics from a wide variety of disciplines. It is searchable by singular or plural forms, word variants, exact phrase, or exact words. It also includes searches by all of the words and any of the words. Searches can be limited by publication date and by number of hits (the default being 1,000). A Browse Mode allows users to browse for books by publisher, title of work, subject, or Library of Congress classification number or to browse the Reference Universe index of terms.
After searching, the system presents a list of reference titles in relevancy-ranked order. Besides the title, the brief display includes publisher and date and the total number of index entries or article titles containing the term. There are also links to the local catalog, a full-text e-book version if it is available, article titles and index terms, and a fuller bibliographic record. The full record in turn links to other reference books on the subject, other reference books by the author, the record in MARC format, and a review from ARBA Online, available to subscribing libraries. A notes field generally contains brief bibliographic information. As of this writing, Paratext plans to add reviews and publisher links and has installed a prototype that will automatically indicate whether a library owns a title that appears in a list of results.
Do you remember First Stop: The Master Index to Subject Encyclopedias, published by Oryx Press in 1989? Reference Universe has a similar idea but with a modern interface. Titles indexed seem to have good recency, and keeping the electronic version up-to-date will be easier than updating a printed version. General searches will produce many hits. It may take discernment to determine which subject encyclopedia is best for a particular query, but because this is a librarian’s tool, finding the best references for a patron shouldn’t be a problem.
This metaindex is an exciting product that will get a lot of use at reference desks in both public and academic libraries and also has uses as a collection development tool. Highly recommended.— Jack O’Gorman

XReferplus – Credo Reference

Xreferplus – (Credo Reference)
First published November 1, 2006 (Booklist).

Xreferplus is an online reference service with more than 2 million entries from more than 207 reference titles. With a focus on ready-reference content, Xreferplus includes subject-specific dictionaries, biographical data, statistics, quotations, and audio and image files from more than 50 publishers. There are two subscription options, Xreferplus 100 and Xreferplus Unlimited. The former allows libraries to select 100 titles from the collection and drop or add titles as needed. The latter is the entire collection, which, beginning in 2007, will grow by 300 titles per year. Available as optional add-ons to either collection are specialist reference titles such as Blackwell Psychology Handbooks. Xreferplus can also be accessed through the Gale Virtual Reference Library.
What makes Xreferplus unique is the cross-referencing—or Xreferences—across titles, disciplines, and publishers. Added to that are the data-visualization search capabilities of the Xrefer Concept Map (which is like brainstorming on steroids), 180,000 pronunciation audio files, thousands of images, dynamic table functionality, a chronology builder, and an interactive world atlas for an “Xtreme” ready-reference experience.
Xrefer’s newest feature, the Chronology Builder, is currently available in one title (The Marcquarie Encyclopedia of Australian Events), but other titles will be on board in three to six months. This feature uses the major subjects of the title to highlight noteworthy events in chronological order. Users may add or remove columns and compare the chronology of various subjects, for example, correlating population growth to recessions and booms. The dynamic table functionality is currently available in three titles (Census, World Factbook, and UN Stats). Again, users may use this tool to create, customize, and sort data within each title. The library administration system allows customization with library logos and links, provides usage statistics, and offers promotional and educational materials. Xreferplus is available as a subscription database with a cost of $2,425 for the 100 package and $3,638 for the unlimited package. Specialist Reference titles are priced separately and may be added to either package. – Sue Polanka

Oxford Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online
First published November 1, 2006 (Booklist).

Oxford Reference Online (ORO), a scholarly reference database, contains more than 100 quick-reference titles in nearly every field. Two collections are available, the core collection, containing the more than 113 quick-reference titles, and the premium collection, containing the former plus in-depth entries from the Oxford Companion series, the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, illustrations, maps, tables, time lines, bibliographies, and external Web links. Users can search or browse ORO on three levels: the entire collection, a subject area (e.g., economics, history), or a single reference title. Quick and advanced search are available along with several browsing options. Quick search searches for matches in entry headings first. If none are available, ORO’s intelligent search feature widens the search to full text and finally to pattern and stem searching (various spellings and word prefixes and suffixes). The Widen Search feature may be user initiated on the results pages. Advanced searches allow search limits to full text, entry headings, people, and dates. Limits to a specific subject area and type of search (standard, Boolean, or pattern) are also included. Individual entries include full text and illustrations if available, links to see also references within the title, browse next and previous entries, an e-mail option, and the entry citation in modified MLA format. Options for printing, exporting, or selecting the style format are not yet available. Once users begin to navigate away from the results page, it is difficult to get back. A cross-referencing tool allows users to highlight a word in the full text and locate this word in other ORO titles. Oxford is currently working to add more cross-book-linking features.
Several special features are found in the Premium Collection: a time line of twentieth-century events with links to individual entries; political, physical, or locator maps from around the world; external Web links at the subject or book level; and illustrations from visual dictionaries. A downloadable browser search box provides easy access to the collection. ORO is a subscription collection; titles are not owned by the library. Pricing is $2,900 for the Premium Collection and $2,275 for the Core Collection. Concurrent user pricing is also an option. Add-on collections for Western Civilization and Literature are available for additional fees. Libraries that wish to own content should investigate Oxford’s Digital Reference Shelf product. – Sue Polanka

Greenwood Digital Collection

Greenwood Digital Collection
Review. First published November 1, 2006 (Booklist).

The Greenwood Digital Collection includes more than 3,500 titles from Greenwood, Praeger, and Libraries Unlimited—encyclopedias, biographies, dictionaries, and primary documents. About 25 percent of the titles are reference and cover a variety of topics and fields in more than 24 subject areas. Users can browse the collection by title, subject, or author or perform a quick or advanced search of the entire collection, subject area, or an individual title. The quick search feature,available on nearly every page, performs a phrase search on the full text in the title or the entire collection. A user-initiated Boolean search is also acceptable. The advanced search offers two options. The standard search, with drop-down menus, will search by keyword, author, title, and LC or Dewey classification number using the AND, OR, and NOT operators. The Boolean search offers a free-form Boolean search by keyword, title, or author and access to eight operators. Both offer limits by subject and date, with options to sort results. Results, ranked by the number of hits, highlight search terms within the text and may be sorted by date, author, or title.
Individual full-text entries are in html format as they would appear on a page in the printed book.At this level, the table of contents of the book and options to move or jump to corresponding pages in the book appear. Tables and charts, also in html, retain proper tabs and columns. Users also have options for customizing the font family and size for easier reading, accessing the citation (in MLA format) for the page they are using, and printing clean copies of the text. Up to 20 pages may be printed at one time. Currently, e-mail and mark, store, and download options are not available. Greenwood offers two unique features, My Bookshelf and My Bookmarks and Notes, each of which requires a user-initiated account. The former saves titles to a personal bookshelf for use later. The latter option allows users to bookmark a particular page and add annotations up to 1,000 characters. Greenwood is quite flexible with pricing models and offers permanent or annual pricing. Libraries that wish to own content may purchase titles individually or as packages. Prices are generally 10 percent above the print list price regardless of institution size. There is also a $200 annual access fee per institution. – Sue Polanka