Category Archives: Interfaces/Platforms

Widgets Increase Use of eReference Collections

From the Gale/Cengage RE:sources blog, May 2009

Widgets pack a wallop

Results from K-12 school, academic and public libraries confirm that usage soars when you add the ability to search all or part of your Gale Virtual Reference Library collection with a widget. Comparing the number of user sessions before and after the addition of a widget on the pages of a high school in Minnesota, a college in Texas and a public library in Ohio, Mark Springer, a data analyst from Gale, documented gains of 178%, 167% and 140% respectively. Read more results like these in the RE:sources blog next week.

Results of widgets in three libraries

Is it possible to donate an eBook to the library?

Roger Sperberg wrote an interesting piece, “How to give away an ebook after you’ve read it” in the Teleread blog.  He discusses the idea of patrons purchasing an ebook to read for themselves and donating it to the library when they are finished.  Roger states, “If I buy an ebook of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, then it’s glued to me. Love it or hate it, I can’t give it to the library for others to read. So why doesn’t the library set up a program for donors: “Buy it in our name and we’ll lend it to you first.” Continue reading

ebrary Integrates with RefWorks and EndNote

ebrary Integrates with RefWorks and EndNote, Adds Printing to QuickView, Offers Search by Collection

May 18, 2009 – Palo Alto, CA, USA – ebrary®, a leading provider of digital content products and technologies, today announced that it has enhanced its industry-renowned interface with a number of new capabilities that make content discovery, usage, and management quicker and more productive.

All ebrary products now integrate with RefWorks and EndNote for easy citation management. End-users may choose to enable RefWorks, EndNote, or both. Once enabled, these options appear under the new InfoTools™ menu in ebrary’s QuickView™ Reader, which does not require any software downloads or installations, as well as in search results and personal bookshelves. Continue reading

Interview with Kari Paulson, President of EBL

We’ve posted a new interview to our interviews page.  This time, it’s with Kari Paulson, President of EBL.  In this interview, Kari discusses various business models offered by EBL and unique features of their interface.  She references some case studies that were done by CERN and Swinburne University.  Kari’s interview adds to NSR’s collection of 12 previous interviews.  Check them all out on the interviews page.

Checklist for evaluating eBook aggregators

A colleague of mine, Deborah Lenares, from Wellesley College forwarded me her checklist for evaluating eBook aggregators.  We thought it would be a good idea to share this spreadsheet and allow other librarians the opportunity to add evaluation criteria.  So, if you are interested in viewing/adding to it, you’ll find it on google docs.   Caution, as soon as you make a change to the spreadsheet, it’s there for good, or at least until someone else changes it.  We’ll see how this goes.

Baker & Taylor partners with ebrary for digital distribution

Big news from Baker & Taylor.  They announced today a partnership with ebrary for an “integrated digital media platform.”  B&T will provide seamless purchase of either print or electronic content through this new platform.  The partnership also allows B&T to create it’s own digital content for distribution via the ebrary platform.What a convenience for libraries.  No longer will you spend hours tracking down ebook ISBN’s, prices, and ordering information from a multitude of websites.  Those libraries using YBP – part of the B&T family, have had the pleasure of purchasing print or electronic books through the GOBI platform since January, 2007.  The wider B&T partnership now takes this convenience across library markets. This will really become a one-stop shop once ebrary establishes their demand driven purchasing model. Perhaps patrons could use the system to choose e or p versions of titles!

New audio interview – Leslie Lees, ebrary

A new audio interview has been posted to NSR’s interviews page.  This one features Leslie Lees, VP-Content and Market Development, ebrary.  Leslie and I discussed methods of ebook purchasing that involve patrons and what ebrary is doing to plan for these new business models.  Check it out, it’s absolutely the best thing you’ll hear all week!

NSR interviews are generally 15 – 20 minutes in length.  I recommend you download the mp3 file, then listen.

Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform

On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content.  It was an interesting discussion.  I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.

Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting

Friday, January 23, 2009

Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.

The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.

Sue Polanka – Wright State University

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.

Todd Carpenter – NISO

One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of – more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces – has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]

Peter McCracken – Serials Solutions

Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]

Rolf Janke – Sage Reference

Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing.  The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc.  The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]

Ron Boehm – ABC-CLIO

Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]

Reference Universe has NEW Interface

Those of you who are Reference Universe users just got an early holiday gift – a new interface.  For details on the changes, check out the Paratext overview document.

Highlights include:

  • customized library logos
  • simplified email/download and export functions – direct to RefWorks and EndNote too
  • eBook only display
  • classification number options – LC, Dewey,  both, or none
  • quick format identification
  • stationary search and browse functions
  • option to display title NOT owned by your library – great for collection development
  • and more….

For more information on Reference Universe, listen to the NSR interview with Eric Calaluca, Founder and President, Paratext.